A Whole Year!


Dear fellow bloggers, 'sisters', best friend, and whoever else may be reading,

2007 is officially a whole year! Well, almost. :) We have completed 364 of its' days, and I'm amazed. In one way, it seems nothing much got completed, and in some ways I really didn't change or grow. On the other hand, I learned tons in the day-to-day work (mostly schoolwork and music), and grew in some certain areas. I also met my best friend, and I can say with all sincerity that it was the highlight of my year.

I grew up in some ways. I've enjoyed being childish in some ways. I've learned lots in some ways. I think I've actually done lots. :) It's been a very good year.

Now I see that Christmas is over and a new year now dawns. A quote from that post one year ago...

"Now, a New Year is about to dawn. It is - as Anne would say - "A new year with no mistakes in it yet." Oh, dear Lord, how I want to grow closer to you this year, and to have a greater impact for you, on those I come into contact with. It's a great responsibility, I believe, to be given such a fresh gift as a brand new year, to fill with worthwhile activities and meaningful relationships."

Now, I can't say I fully fulfilled that. To be honest, I think I've missed the boat a bit in growing closer to God. I know I have some, but I've spent more time learning about growing close to God, than on growing closer to Him myself. That's what I want to do for 2008. I've tried to have a greater influence on those I meet. From little things like saying 'God Bless', to actually talking about my faith and what I'm doing about with the non-Christian lady I worked for in the Summer. I've prayed about it a lot, but I want to do more this year. I missed a small opportunity two weeks ago, and through it, God really reminded me how I "can't miss the chances when God opens up the door. They may seem so insignificant, but I may be seeing so much more." (Lyrics from 'Fifteen' by Greg Long)

It will be my first and last December 31 as a 15-year-old, and next year...well, I'll be a year older. I'm happy to enjoy today. It will never come again. After all, there are only 365 days in a year, and this is one of them. I'd better make it count. :)

I have many dreams, many hopes, many desires, and my heart and soul wander daily, but this is where I am right now. This is where God has put me, for a purpose, for a reason (or many reasons!), and I am going to do my very best--and with God's help, more--to 'bloom where I am planted'. I have plenty to look forward to here and now, and I need to concentrate on that. Dreams only show themselves in time, and I will wait.

In the meantime, I am going to do a few Hard Things, and keep living for Jesus as 'An Instrument In Christ's Hands'.

Keep well this year, and live for Jesus!
God bless,
Sheila

Merry Christmas!!!

Just wishing you all a VERY Merry Christmas!!! Enjoy the presents, enjoy the big meals, enjoy the family time, but most of all, focus on the Christ child!

Hugs,
Sheila

What a year!



Can you believe that Christmas is just 4 days away? I certainly can't! This year flew by rather quickly, that's for sure. Well, I'm 15, and I've learned a lot: it's been a stretching year, it's been an exciting year, and it has really been a good year.

It's exciting to think about what's to come, but that's really not what I'm here to talk about. I'm not really here to talk about what I did all year either, so what am I here to talk about? Good question. Let's find out.

Last weekend I had a flute performance that was simply splendid. Our flute trio (Involving another local flute teacher, Marianne, my own flute teacher, Jen Cluff, and myself) played marvelously and (my personal opinion!) stole the show. It was loads of fun, and I really enjoyed it. I also played two movements of Ernest Bloch's amazing Suite Modale. It was beautiful. Lots of fun. I also had a gig playing for a children's choir I used to sing in before we moved. It was absolutely amazing, really.


Here I am (far left) playing with the choir)

It was such a blessing to be able to go back to those people and be accepted with the gifts God has given me. It turned out beautifully too. Here is an audio clip of a fantastic piece called 'There is no Rose'. The flute is me. You'll have to scroll down and turn off the Christmas music first. Just press the pause button, and you can turn it back on after if you want. :)






I went skiing again on Thursday, which is where the top picture and the next picture are from, as well. Quite a glorious day, albeit rather cold. :) (Sorry the pics are grainy, they were taken on a cell phone)



So, what have I become? I found a note I wrote to myself last Christmas, asking me if I'd changed, what I'd learned, who I'd developed into, and the one line that truly stood out to me was this: "Some things never change, simply mature." I think I'm going to hold onto that phrase. Through the many seasons of life, we mature, we learn new things, we are stretched, we develop, and the things around us change. However, if we are truly saturated in the will of God, we don't change, do we? Who we really are stays the same!

Now, that doesn't mean that, like I said, we can't mature! By no means am I saying that! Sure, we may change in the way that we might respond differently to something after a certain experience, we may be more comfortable in certain circumstances, or not wear the same kinds of clothes, but I think that is better described by the word 'maturing'. We change when we accept Jesus and become His children. We mature as we grow in Him. It's really a growing isn't it?

Yep, it's been quite a year. Remember how I said I grew up? I did: I matured.


Some things never change...simply mature.

I Grew Up

Dear blogging universe,



Wow, what a week this has been so far. As some of you know, I took a little trip on my own! I traveled by ferry to a small island between here (Vancouver Island), and the coast of mainland British Columbia to visit my piano teacher (who usually gives me lessons when she comes over to Vancouver Island once a week) and take some history and harmony with her. I had a gorgeous day for travel, as it was sunny and clear, and the water was completely still. The picture above was taken from the ferry. Isn't it amazing? What a wonderful Creator we have!!! Here is another photo taken off the back of the boat. The waves you see are from the wake; the water you see in the distance is what the beautiful quality of the ocean really was.


The island was so peaceful and quiet, and I learned so much! As I read that sentence, I realize that not only did I learn an amazing amount of musical knowledge, but I discovered that I am no longer afraid when I am 'out in the big world' alone. What an encouragement.

Yesterday I went to my flute lesson. So beautiful! First I had a practice with my piano accompanist, and when I finished playing, Jen, my teacher, was crying. Oh my goodness...that melted my heart. Thank you! I listened to the recording after, and you know, I think I achieved the sound I've been aiming for the last couple weeks. It just 'happened'. The one time I wasn't trying, the sound spontaneously erupted from somewhere within me. Wow, I love moments like those.

I then had a lovely flute lesson, and between lesson and trio practice (which was also wonderful and such a hoot), Jenni suggested we walk down to the coffee shop! Ah! Of course! So we walked down and went into this cute little wool shop and looked at all sorts of knitt-y and crochet-ish things, and popped into the coffee shop (where I didn't get a coffee: hazelnut steamed milk...mmmm) and promptly walked back with our drinks. She kept insisting I take a piece of her tart. You won, Jen. :P

That 10 minute excursion grew me up too. I know I'm 15, and I don't claim to be adult yet at all--I wouldn't want to be!--but I can walk down the street with an adult that's not my parent, and it's okay, it's...normal.

I'm not grown up yet--give me a few more years--but I'm growing up, and this week I took a little leap. Six months or a year ago I would have been scared out of my skin to go on my own to an odd little island where I could meet any sort of people, but I did it! I boarded that ferry with none but a tad of nervousness, and when I saw the beauty around me, it faded away. I was confident. Would I have been truly comfortable wandering down a little alley with an adult who wasn't my own parent a year ago? Would I have felt free to accept that piece of tart? I don't know. I really don't know, but I did it yesterday!!!

What amazing gifts God gives us! I thank Him for those moments, those excursions, those revelations from Him of what He has accomplished in me. They make the small things look so much more significant don't they? What better time to notice the small things than at Christmastime, when the most precious small thing--our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ--entered the world in a small stable in a small town in the middle of nowhere. That, my friend is love. That small babe who lay in the dirt and smell of an ox's stall lay there because He loved you.



Next time a small but amazing thing comes your way, one that simply knocks your socks off and maybe even grows you up a bit, think of that little child. The price He paid was paid for you.

May you have a blessed Christmastime!

Sheila

Is Christmas really coming?


Merry Christmas! It's that time of the year again, isn't it? This week is the first week of advent, and we've been enjoying reading Tabitha's Travels again this year. We light the candle(s) on Sunday evenings and enjoy that and some scripture reading together. It is so lovely! Above is a picture of our advent wreath this year, isn't it beautiful? The branches are real, as are the pine cones on it (the tree we got the branches from was laden with pine cones). Natural decoration!

I love considering the fact that last year, and for the next couple years now, I will be about the same age that Mary was when she bore Jesus. It is such an amazing fact to think about! I plan to memorize the Magnificat this year, and really play into the part of Mary. After reading God Called a Girl - How Mary Changed her World and You Can Too, I found that I could truly identify with her. What an amazing miracle she was chosen to take part in. She really was 'an instrument in Christ's hands', wasn't she? I want to play into that part more this season too.

I have a surprise or two coming! I am considering perhaps hosting a draw this Christmas! If any of you have a suggestion for a really special Christ/Christmas related prize, please comment and let me know. Your comment with the prize suggestion will NOT be published (to keep it a secret!), so if you have something to say other than a suggestion, (which I'd love!) please make a separate comment. Otherwise I have to cut and paste everything else you said into an 'anonymous' comment with your name at the bottom. I am thinking along the lines of either a craft, craft kit, book, something along those lines, but not necessarily that. You would all have a chance to enter your names! When the time comes, I will enter your name twice if you mention the contest on your blog, or I know you so well that I love you tons and just can't help but enter your name twice. :P

I'm also working on 'decorating' the blog a bit. If you see some weird, random words or bits of HTML strewn around here the next couple days, you know what's going on. I just can't get some things to work. If you're really spiffy with HTML, comment, and let me know. I may need you!

[UPDATE ON THE DECORATION: I've added my favourite snowflake making site up in the top right hand corner of my blog, above the 'about me' bit. :) Who knows what 'Popular Front' is, (looks weird to me), but the snowflake thing is really lovely. You can look at and comment on other people's snowflakes, and make your own very easily, so it's a lot of fun. Check it out!]

So, with that, a very hearty and completely politically incorrect MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all. May you have a fantastic rest of the first week of advent. :)

God bless,
Sheila

The Little Things



It's in the little things that we can find out greatest joys! It is in the small things that we can find the greatest wisdom. Let the tiny miracles delight you today!

Proverbs 30:24-28

Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:

Ants are creatures of little strength,
yet they store up their food in the summer;

coneys are creatures of little power,
yet they make their home in the crags;

locusts have no king,
yet they advance together in ranks;

a lizard can be caught with the hand,
yet it is found in kings' palaces.


~Sheila

A Musician's Musical Life (Part 1)


A very cute me at age 4 playing in an MYC recital

In a world filled with too many sounds, too much hustle and bustle, and the crazy noise of our secular peers, where did the music go? Sometimes I wonder, but then I realize that I am contributing to this beautiful world myself. No need to despair! It’s been an exciting road so far, so let me show you what I’ve done!

As a musician, who am I? What am I doing here? What, truly, is the point? Now, a while back, I had a hard time understanding what the point of music really was. I mean, I enjoyed it and all, but I still didn't see what the point of it was. You may be wondering that yourself! I'm think I'm starting to see the light, thank goodness! I have learned that my music is a tool--a joy-giving effervescent tool--that can be used in so many ways to touch so many lives, including my own.

First let me show you how it has changed me--where I came from in a sense. I started music as a wee little person, with Music for Young Children (www.myc.com). By the way, I highly recommend this program for little ones, and hope to teach it myself one day. It brought me to the point where I loved making sounds, just for fun! I know that experience was vital in keeping me 'alive' in this whole thing. You see, we moved, and at age 5 I started private piano lessons. My first teacher was sweet and loving, but I needed a firmer hand. (I have been known as a 'strong-willed child'.) We then switched to another teacher, who was just what I needed at that time. She was gently firm, and pushed me enough that I would actually keep moving. Somehow through all this though, I ended up not enjoying playing piano much anymore. Why? Who knows for sure but God! In any case, part of the reason was due to the fact that the quality of this particular teacher was seriously spiralling downward. Her personal life was getting into a bit of a mess, and she started taking it out on her students. The final moment when we got so fed up with it that we left was when, the first lesson back after Christmas, she asked what my favourite gift was, and I told her that it was my new Bible, a pink Bible too! She--a supposed Christian--looked at me oddly and asked: "Yeah, yeah, but other than that?" My quizzical expression as a 10 year old raised in a Christian family must have been something to behold. I think I began by saying "Um, it is the best..." I was going to end by saying "...thing I got for Christmas.", but she took it as a lecture about how the Bible was the best book etc. etc. Her flaming face interrupted me with: "I've been a Christian a lot longer than you have! I know about the Bible!" Ahem. We promptly ended the ‘relationship’. Understandably, however, that turned me even more off music, and I hated the stuff. We went back to my original 'very-nice-but-way-too-sweet' teacher for a little while, and then I gave up lessons for a year and played piano (rather badly) for the jazz band at the local Christian school, such as it was. The whole thing was a total catastrophe! I also tried another teacher in there who was the exact opposite of the 'very-nice-but-way-too-sweet' teacher. That wasn't much fun either.

Fortunately, we moved again. Yay! (Although I wasn’t too excited then!) I found a fantastic piano teacher, and was able to get going with her right away. We 'clicked', which was amazing, and I suddenly was interested in piano again! My saddest moment was when, after a couple months with her, she had to move. All my hopes suddenly slipped down the drain. Now what?

Well, I found another teacher who was okay, but I sensed the quality difference so greatly that I cried after the first few lessons. I didn't know what to do anymore, and I was seriously starting to wish I'd never started music, and that I'd done dance or something else. That was one of those "Why me?" years. I absolutely despised practicing, and only did as much as I absolutely had to. Unfortunately, those feelings have hung on and sometimes still make it difficult for me to enjoy practicing piano. That goes to show you how important a good teacher is!

After a year of this, the piano teacher called my Mom and told me that she couldn't teach me anymore. I guess she recognized the difficulties too, so in a way I was glad for that. We phoned my original teacher (The one I 'clicked' with) and discussed what on earth we should do. Well, miracle of miracles, I was able to get back in with her! She came into our town every week, so she now comes to my house for my lessons! It is thrilling to have her back again! I don't know how I would survive the theory, history, and harmony courses I am now taking without her either. That was truly the work of God.

I picked up the flute at age 9. It was one of those "What instrument would you like to play, dear?" moments, so since harp was too big and expensive, I chose flute. Rather a dramatic difference in size! I had some fun with it at first, and was even able to make some semi-decent sounds, but that didn’t last forever. I took lessons from a local high school band student, and as you can maybe imagine, I didn’t get very far with her. We found another lady nearby who was willing to teach me, but with two VERY noisy kids running around and distracting both of us all the time, not to mention the fact that she wasn’t exactly the brightest flute player in the world, it didn’t work either.

Now what? Well, right there was close to a year of not playing the flute! It sat in the corner, and believe me; you didn’t want to be around when someone mentioned the instrument. It was not a pretty picture! We then tried one more teacher who was not bad, I could have stuck with it fine, but my parents noticed my lack of motivation…hmmm.

They stuck me in a local Christian school’s Grade 7 concert band, because they knew that without some sort of motivation, I wasn’t going to go anywhere. Of course, these kids had only had a month or two of band, and I’d been playing the instrument off and on for a couple years, as well as having several years of piano under my belt. (I was 11 then.) Musically, I had a great advantage over these kids, even though they were a year older, so I excelled greatly, which is what I needed to press on. I probably wouldn’t be still playing the flute if it wasn’t for joining that little band. It certainly presented its own problems; however, as I soon discovered that I ‘liked’ the school scene and wanted to be part of it. How glad I am that my parents didn’t let me go. They chose to keep me home, and to keep my time with these ‘friends’ to a minimum. Paying off immensely over the years, I have now learned what that scene can really do to a person, and I am thrilled to know that I never really got into it.

We moved again. (This was the move where I found the piano teacher that ‘clicked’.) I didn’t just hook up with another school band though! I found a simply SMASHING teacher, that has been my flute teacher ever since. We moved in January of that year, and I began with her in June, so I guess I’ve been with her about 2 ½ years. Seems longer, because I’ve learned so much! It is extraordinarily exciting now! I wouldn’t give up that instrument for anything anyone could offer me.

I’ve come from despising the instrument lying in the dust to taking it as my own first love. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoy playing piano, and I know that it is absolutely vital in music, at least in my opinion, but I’ve come to the point where it is the flute that gives me the most joy. I could spend hours on end practicing it without even having to think a whole lot, whereas with piano, I have to actually figure out what I’m going to spend the next hour at the piano doing. Composing is a lot easier at the piano, and so is just sitting playing to relax, however. There is a lot more you can do in that regard on the piano. Another plus with piano, is that you can start at a much earlier age than flute (due to body and hand size, as well as coordination.), and you learn to do and read more things such as the bass clef, etc.

It has certainly been an exiting journey so far! I’ve learned so incredibly much, from what it takes to be a bad teacher, to what it takes to be a fantastic musician, to what it means to have peer pressure, to how degrading it can be to have a bad teacher.

So, that is my past life in music. There is so much more I could tell you, but I’m not sure how to fit it all in without boring you. If you have questions about it, feel free to ask! I’m excited about this whole thing, and I can’t wait to see what will happen in the future!

Part 2 will cover my present and my future in music! ‘Stay tuned!’

May the peace of God be with you,

Sheila

Clarification and suspense building...

• Oct. 31, 2007

Hello out there!

Clarification about 'Random Day', specifically for 'Poetess', who is apparently otherwise nameless. :D

'Random Day' is a silly tradition I started on my blog last October 30th, just for fun, to post some random item (Last year it was smileys) on my blog, just for fun. (Just for fun. :) I used to post random posts all the time, but I try to be slightly more profound now. (Hmmm...) The 'Random Day' gives me one day a year where I can post a totally nonsensical post, just for fun. (Just for fun. :) So, I decided, as I've been working on scales, to post scales. It certainly is random, is it not? :) Just for kicks, you see. :) I'm really not that ridiculous on here all the time. {Grin}

And...I meant to post this yesterday. I will soon be posting a series of two or three posts on music! I will be posting audio clips of me playing, my thoughts on music, recent musical experiences etc. I know I have elaborated on this before, but it was more in the realm of 'what I've done this year'. This time it will be more general, directed at anyone with the vaguest interest in all things musical! I hope you'll return soon to check it out! :)

God bless you all,
Until next time,
Sheila

Happy Random Day!

• Oct. 30, 2007

Just noticed that a year ago today, I pronounced it 'Random Day'. Well, then my random thing was smileys. This year it is a random collection of scales. :D Yes, I recorded some 30 seconds of scales on the piano, just for randomnesses sake. If you check back a few pages, you'll find I start this tradition last year. :)

Scales for Random Day: Click Here!

In Christ Alone,
Sheila

My Poetic Side

This page will be updated soon. :)

Me Fluting!!!

• Oct. 12, 2007

Well, I've finally figured out how to post audio clips! I recorded myself playing a piece this morning on the flute, and I'll (hopefully) have a piano one up soon. :) I don't have piano accompaniment for it, since I just recorded it in my house. I'm also a bit sore from rock climbing on Wednesday night, so by the end of the piece, I am a little tired and it isn's so great. Sorry! Hope you enjoy it anyway. :)

Without further ado, let me play for you: 'Out of the Cool', a very different 20th century piece.

'Out of the Cool' <--Click there to play

In Christ Alone,

Sheila

Just so you know...

I'm beginning to post some of the more major or important posts from my HSB blog over to here. Yeah, it's coming. I'm not transferring everything, as it's a ton of work, but like I said, just some of the more interesting and important posts. That's why there is STUFF here! :)

God bless,
Sheila
• Oct. 6, 2007


Here we are in October, a month (or two for some of you in the US) into the 'school year', so to speak, and I must ask how we--the 'students'--are feeling about our learning endeavours. I'm telling you, when I first thought of writing this post, it was because I was THRILLED every day about the things I was studying and learning. Everything seemed perfect., and at the end of 2 hours of flute practice, I wanted more and didn't want to stop and get on to other things. My excitement about my 'bookwork' was way up there, beyond what I ever thought it could be, and soaring in happiness and glee everyday. I was getting up at 6:00, keeping on schedule, and hey, what could be better?

Well, you all know how it is. By mid-September, my 'going to bed early, getting up early, and staying on track everyday' plan had started to falter. I was falling a behind, and slacking off, and it kind of felt like every day was 'one of those days'. "Yuck, I just don't feel right today, I'm squishy." "Well, you know, I did do such and such and so and so today, and those are good things! (Just not what needed to be done)", and the like. I'm sure you've made excuses like that too! Well, I just didn't know how to pull myself out of this silly hole I'd dug for myself. Although the things I was learning were amazing and great, I just couldn't bring myself to truly enjoy the learning of it.

Let us now look at what I've learned over the last week. I've tried a few things that have helped me to figure out what I should be getting out of this, and I've talked to God about it. First of all, I've realized I have to get over the elementary grades notion that I have to be 'done' for the day. I'll never be done, there will always be something else I could do, so when I need recreational time, I have to just take it. Of course, that doesn't mean an easy excuse for getting out of work, but I've found it's true. If I want to crochet at all during the day, I have to just say to myself "Okay, now I'm going to crochet'. Otherwise it will never happen and I will stress over not having a chance to do some of the 'extra-curricular' things that I like doing.

I've also learned that some days I need to get ALL 4 hours of practicing done before I even touch my books. Other days, I MUST complete all my bookwork for the day before I dare to look at an instrument. Other days are crazy, and I just have to fit things in bit by bit. Of course, I have two days each week in which I don't expect to get nearly as much done, as I am out for most of them. So you see, I learned that organization can be slightly disorganized, and therein lies the beauty,

I am enjoying what I am doing, and trying to feel at peace and relaxed no matter what I'm doing or how much I have 'accomplished for the day', for though it might be 4:00 and I may have only done one hour of practicing and half a math lesson, did I take into account the housecleaning I did, or the things I learned going out with my Mom? Nope, I usually forget that.

Last week I prayed, I prayed with more fervency than I have in a long time, and you know what? I'm slightly ashamed to say that I was praying for me, not for the lost in poverty stricken countries, or the persecuted in Arabia, but for selfish little me. No matter how much I need to pray for these people, however, I really needed to pray about this. Shedding a few tears, I asked God for the excitement I had at the beginning of the year for my instruments. I asked Him for this thing which it seems all other musicians have except me, and that is the desire to be constantly playing my instrument, at least to some extent, I asked for the instrument to be a distraction, and that He would help me to find pure joy in them all the time and not just sometimes. Wouldn't you know it, the next day was easier, I didn't feel that old dread seeping in of having to practice as I had a few days prior. No longer did I feel burdened to finish every minute of practicing that day. I did though, and I enjoyed it. The next day was even better, and suddenly, a burst of joy bloomed from my soul.

Please don't get me wrong, it's not that I hate my music, I don't feel that way in any way, shape or form, but sometimes you can get really bogged down with even the things you love the most. I guess that's what happened a little, and other times in the past I never thought of asking God for wisdom. This time I did, and it payed off!

All that to say that I have learned lots about learning. I realize everyday that life is one big schoolroom filled with shelves and shelves of marvelous books. Books to dig deep into, and to live from. At the very centre of that room is a very special book: The Bible. It governs all. I never want to get to the point where I say "That's it, I've learned enough." If my life is to be an adventure, I must keep learning about how to make that adventure the best one I can have, and Christ is my most valuable life-source: literally.

May you find peace in this as we learn together to find joy in life's journey. i'm struggling with you all, but I just found one tiny, fragment of the final answer that lies in Christ. I would love to say I could keep it up pretty well on my own, but I know I can't, and that if I rely on God and His wisdom, He will guide me through it and I can succeed.

Phillipians 4:13

I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

Gowing together,

Sheila

PS. I have pictures for this post, but the computer with the pictures got fried. Fortunately the pictures were able to be saved, but I've already deleted them off my camera, and the computer is at the repair shop. I have to wait until I get the other computer back to get them up. Hope you'll come back to see them! Sheila

Nice Matters Award

• Sep. 28, 2007

A big thank you to Ebell1993 and to Christianmusician1 for awarding me the 'Nice Matters award'!


“This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award.”

Greatly appreciated. :) I'll pass it on to a few people, but not 7. ;)

Maidens of Worth - I know you don't do awards, but suffice it to say that you deserve it. :) Thank you for a beautiful blog.

Ednella - A lovely blog friend, with fabulous posts...and three blogs, I think, so be sure to find them all and check them out!

Layne - This girl has taken an amazing leap, and I commend you for it. Thank-you for a great blog, Layne!

There you are. :) If I gave you an award, you don't have to have it if you don't want it, that's my rule with any blog award. ;) If I didn't give it to you, don't take offense, I'm tired, and I may not have thought of you. ;)

Enjoy being nice today!

God bless you all,
Sheila

PS. I know I'm late with the interesting posts. I'll try to do one tomorrow. :)

Many exciting things happening in the Blogosphere!

• Sep. 24, 2007

Dear inhabitants of the Blogosphere,

First off, my Mom started a blog. Yay!!! You may wonder "What happened to the 'LorrainOfManyHats' blog?" Well, she decided to start fresh, and is closing the old blog, that she hadn't blogged on for well over a year. So her new blog address is at: www.TheNarrowRoadAndGate.blogspot.com Please visit her, and leave a comment!

Also, just so you know, I will probably (not for sure) be switching over to my blogger blog (www.ChristsInstrument.blogspot.com) sometime in the next month or two. So keep checking for updates on that.

I do have interesting posts coming, my life is just really full right now, so keep on the lookout for them. I'm also working on updating my blogger blog to make it really presentable, so that takes up some of my blog-ish time. :) Unfortunately, since it's the new blogger, I can't use this exact template. :( Oh well. Hopefully I can put the music picture in the background again, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, God bless you all, and I look forward to seeing you around the blogosphere...so does my Mom! :D

Sincerely,
Sheil

Spread Your Wings

• Sep. 11, 2007


"The future", with is vastness, its infinitude,--so distant, so beyond our power,--grows out of the use you make of the present, so small, so near, so completely at your disposal. Reality borrows from futurity, from eternity...What is seed? It is the future harvest. What is the present hour? It is the future age,--a destiny of happiness or misery. What is this field before you? It is all that you can make of it by industry, by effort, by vigilance, by enterprise."

Quote from 'The Love of Truth', Anonymous.

We, the youth of our generation, are beginning to set foot in that vast place called the future, but what we do now so greatly affects this! However, as we wonder about our future, we must remember that the whole point of these ideas are not to fixate every thought on what is to come, but to apply ourselves with heart, soul and mind to the importance of today! God has given us today, and he has not gifted us with tomorrow quite yet. Consider carefully the things you do today, because their effects will drastically impact your life tomorrow.

Matthew 6:34 (NASB)

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."


God bless each and every one of you as you strive to make today count for tomorrow in God's eyes.


In Christ,
Sheila

Who am I?

• Sep. 4, 2007

Yes, that's me. :)


Dear blog readers,

I'd like to share with you all a bit more of who I am. Please read on!

Who am I? I am no celebrity, no star. I am no great oracle of wisdom, and no mother of many. I am not a popular girlie-girl, and I am not a hidden away nun. So really, who am I? I am Sheila, truly, and I am a 15 year old young lady striving after God's will. That could be so much, so who is that girl? Here I am, in as much detail as possible.

My interests:
My one and only life-source is Jesus Christ, and I am striving with all my heart to let 'this little light of mine' shine with as bright a light as I possibly can. I know I fail, and my heart is not as centred on Him and His will for my life as it probably should be, but I am now trying my hardest, and praying that I will truly want to want Him at any given moment. I want to display Christ's incredibly love simply by being me, and I know I cannot do that on my own. With God's help, though, I know for a fact, that I can lean on Him completely and totally give my everything to HIm!

As most of you will already know quite well, I am desperately musical! (Hence the blog name and current template.) I play the flute and piano with much enthusiasm, though during the summer one might not see that quite so clearly, as even the musical part of myself needs a little break now and again. However, my excitement for the sounds I create is huge, especially on the flute, and I can't wait to get back into lessons and such in a week! Hopefully I will have students again this year! :)

I also ride horses and enjoy that very much. I ride Western, for those of you who might wonder, and think it's the greatest! It is all very layed back and I have never competed in my life. It is something I do for pleasure, and those horses get right into my heart each time I see them! I have a little collection of horsey things, grooming brushes and such, that I buy now and then for cheap, just for fun...just in case. ;)

Other than that, I am enjoying working on Geometry this semester, and am interested in topics such as midwifery and the like, and have considered taking a few doula courses in a couple years. I also am working towards becoming a lifeguard and swim teacher, which I enjoy very, very much! I also do lots of research on various topics that pop into my head, checking encyclopedias, and using the internet as an invaluable resource.


My flute...or is that a flower?


My hopes and dreams: My biggest hope is to become a wife to whoever God has in store for me, and a mother to the children I desire Him to bless me with. That truly inspires me to learn as much as I can now to prepare for the life I hope to have ahead! Although I know it is possible that I may stay single, I pray that is not so. I dream of big fields, open spaces, huge gardens, giant family, and beautiful femininity throughout. I know that our Father in heaven has made me that outdoor dreamer, which consequently is why I spent most of my childhood at 'my tree' living out a 'Little House on the Prairie' of my own imagination, with my dear imaginary friends who attended the same 'boarding school' (my house!) as myself. I, who in my imaginary world was known as Christine, used to call the space between two birch trees my home, and I would sweep it out, and sit on on of the big branches of the big maple tree, driving my 'carriage' to 'town' through beautiful prairie outdoor settings of my imagination, holding the 'reins' of my rope swing in front of me. Who needs real people?! This proves to me the kind of dreamer I am, and the life I've lived out in my imagination as a little girl is what I hope for in the years to come. I know it all seems so perfect now, but I pray that I can at least get a taste of that little house on the prairie one day, filled with the laughs and joys of brothers and sisters that I always dreamed of having...only I'll be the Mommy. :) Of course, this is all hypothetical. Haha!

I also pray that I can continue to teach music to those little ones in my life, be it simply students from the community I may live in, or my very own children. Hopefully, I can even continue with my lifeguarding and swim teaching!

Mommy practice! He our friend's little boy. Isn't he cute?


My personality: Well, most of you have a bit of an idea about that! :) First off I'm totally goofy and sometimes a tad on the weird side. At least, that's what they say. I love to sing silly songs when I wash the dishes, as evidenced by some of the really weird posts I used to put up. I guess I'm past that kind of weirdness! On the other hand, I love all things feminine and am so glad that God chose me to be one of his little girls. I hope that I can demonstrate--through my chatty personality--Christ's unending love. If you just look at all the good parts of my personality, I'd describe myself as fun, bright, chatty, silly, feminine, God-fearing, dreamy, etc., but as we all know, that isn't all there is to a person. I'm often impatient, grudging, lacking in deference, not humble, and a very bad procrastinator, however, with God's help, I think I can get over those things. I am really working specifically on humility and patience at the moment, and although it isn't easy, I do make small baby steps towards the true, God-fearing woman I want to be.


So, who am I? I am Sheila, the girl of breezy dreaming, of prairies and oceans, and wide open spaces, of laughter, and Christ-adoring, of struggles and uncertainties. I'm a human being just like you, and yet unique, because God made me like that. Yep, I'm no cookie-cutter girl, but I'm nothing extraordinary either, just different...and I have a secret for you: You are too. :)

That's me too! :D

God bless you all as you discover who God has made you to be.
In Christ,
Sheila

Volunteering and such...

• Aug. 16, 2007

Hello blogging world!

I'm sorry I haven't posted much! Very busy! I am working on a serious, 'thinky' post or two, but I just haven't been able to get around to working on them. Sorry everybody!

Anyway, here I am, so I'll let you know how life is. I'm volunteering at the local pool this week, which is really fun. I have my AWSI (Assistant Water Safety Instructor) as you know, so I am allowed to assist with lessons. It is quite interesting, and I personally think quite fun, to help with teaching these kids! Showing them how to fix something, and helping them along, and then discovering that they have fixed the problem is so very rewarding, just like teaching music. It has been an intense confidence builder for myself as well, seeing as I wasn't sure if I could spot the problems easily. Working with an experienced instructor is so awesome, and I get to learn how to judge whether they kids pass the level, and they often give me tips on how to help them and so on. It will be so great having done this so much when I finally finish all my courses and can get hired on as a lifeguard/swim teacher! Yay!

I also got my biteplate and headgear this week. (Orthodontic junk I have to have in my mouth most of the time.) The biteplate really isn't too bad, I can get used to it pretty easily, but the headgear is really annoying. It hurt a bit, and now it doesn't too much, but it's extraordinarily aggravating! I can't turn my head properly, and it's in the way of everything! Oh well, it's just for a few months, and I just have to wear it to sleep and around the house while I do school and whatnot. :)

Although everyone at the Public School (which I often just type as 'PS') won't start school for another few weeks, I'm getting back into it a bit. Not full blast, but some. I'm trying to get my Geometry cone by Christmas, which requires me to do one lesson 5 days a week until then, so I'm working through that. Then I can get going on the Algebra 2. I'm also working on Bible reading and music theory, and trying to do some piano and flute technique. *Sigh* I'm just feeling a bit tired though. My Mom and Dad have had a bit of a cold, and I think I might be getting it. Plus, my headgear is hurting my neck a bit right now (It goes behind my neck, not over my head.), so I'm feeling a bit pained. Maybe I'll be able to get more done next week. Hopefully, anyway!

So I guess there isn't a whole lot more for me to write about my life right now. I think I smell some yummy supper (Yeah, we eat late lots. :P), and I think I see some reading and candy and maybe a movie in my evening. I guess I'd better go!

Sincerely,
Sheila

Did it really happen?

• Aug. 6, 2007
Dear Blog readers,

I didn't know a heart could hurt so much over such a dear friend. Mariah just flew back to Missouri this morning. We had the most lovely time together that any two friends could wish for, and got to know each other beyond anything we thought possible. It truly is a God-orchestrated friendship.

In any case, our parting was an extraordinarily hard one. We both hugged lots, and cried more, and left thinking how marvelous it was that there was someone who loved you enough that they would cry over you in parting. I've been crying off and on all day, it just hurts so much! Sometimes, as I look back on this incredible three and a half weeks, I find it hard to believe it actually happened.

It did, though, and we have some absolutely fabulous memories. We worked on a scrapbook lots, so we have lots to show! We both still have some pages left to work on though. I'm not sure I can do it right away, or with all those pictures I might get a bunch of tears on the paper.

I guess I don't have much else to say.
God bless,
Sheila

Blogger Reflections Award

• Jul. 29, 2007

A HUGE thank you to Ebell1993 for awarding me the 'Blogger Reflections Award'!


I am to award five different bloggers with this award now, in this manner:

“This award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy... of knowing them and being blessed by them.”

My only problem is that I can't think of five blogs, as most of the ones I would give it to either don't do awards, or have already received the award, etc. So, I am awarding it to the following two blogs:

Ellie Skees - Ellie's family is so very encouraging! Through this really tough season of their life, they are blessing others with their amazing faith and trust in God. They have been through so very much, and yet even when faced with very hard decisions, have been able to be an incredible encouragement to the readers of their blog. Please join me in praying for their family and especially for Ellie.

Layne - I know Layne personally, and reading her blog is truly wonderful. It's lovely to read her thoughts on God and life, and to be encouraged by her Godly example of young womanhood. She puts everything together with much thought, and has a really neat blog all around. Thank you Layne!

Rules of participating for the 'Blogger Reflection Award':
1. Copy these rules into your own post.
2. Replace my bloggers with yours & Reflect on five bloggers and write a least a paragraph about each one.
3. Go leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they've been given the award.
4. Put the award icon on your site.
5. If you do not want to 'pass it on', claim the award below for yourself instead of the 'Blogger Reflection Award'. :)

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And now that I have awarded those two blogs with the 'Blogger Reflections Award', I shall continue to award a few of the other blogs I love reading with the all new 'You Don't Have To Pass It On If You Don't Want To Blog Award'!.



"This award is designated for any blog which the giver decides is worthy of praise. The awarded blogs are consistently awesome, encouraging, and enlightening. Perhaps those blogs have touched the giver's heart, or have given them the one thought needed to go on in some particular area of life. Remember, those who give this award, how much this really means! It is a gesture of extreme importance, saying that this blog is highly valuable in some way. Maybe it's just the simple things that are posted: the fun that it is, the joy that it brings, or the little snippets of life shared that push you forward. That is what this oddly-named award truly means."

TeamBettendorf - A diary of life! The Bettendorfs have also been through an interesting time this year, and are continuing down the road of God's grace. Their large family and the stories Katie shares are a blessing to everyone who reads it, and she always reminds us of all the fantastic things we probably should be taking/using, but aren't. :) Thank you for sharing your lives with us!

MaidensOfWorth - Anna and Miriam have such a lovely blog, sharing everything from little snippets of life, to stories of faith and kinship. Their friendship shines through, and an everlasting love for God encourages other young women to step forward and spread a beam of heavenly light around. Thanks so much girls!

JenCluff - You make me laugh! Jen's lighthearted flutey wisdom imparted through her blog is so much fun to read, and I always learn something new. Her words inspire me to aim high in my musical studies, and to try these new things on the flute. Be it a new flute player, whose notes ring clear in the air, or another flutish warm-up, it's always worth reading. Thank you for the encouragement and inspiration, Jen!

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The only rule for this award is that you enjoy it, and take either the animated icon or the still image icon for your blog if you want it. If you don't want it, don't take it. :) Pass it on to other fabulous blogs if you want, don't if you don't. We're all flexible! :)

I hope this means something to all of you. :) It was a lot of fun to do, and I hope I'll see some more great blogs coming up in the future! :D

God bless you all,
Sheila

Well, here I am!

• Jul. 10, 2007

Dear Blog Universe,

Just a quick post to let you know I still exist! Mariah will arrive this Thursday, so please be praying that she will have a smooth and easy trip and that there wouldn't be any hitches. :D

I've been away for a few days, and I've been working on a post about Canada. I tried to have it up for July 1 (Canada Day), but I didn't do it. Sorry everyone! This post has been a long time in coming! I'll try to have it up in a few weeks, but I'm not promising anything as Mariah will be here for 3 weeks and I might not have tons of time to post! :)

In any case, I've been having lots of fun, going to the lake and kicking a floaty mattress all around some little islands in the middle, bike riding, and all sorts of other fun stuff! Now the pool is nice and toasty as is the air: finally! I've been swimming a lot, and being very soggy, but it's so fun! Aren't we blessed to have the opportunity to learn to swim? I love wetness!

Well, thank you all for checking in, I really appreciate it. It means a lot to me when I get a comment as I don't have the feature that allows me to tell how many people have visited the page, and I don't like free page counters. So there you go, new rule: you read the post, you must comment! :D Thanks!!!

God bless you all this Summer!
In Christ,
Sheila

Our True Friendship

Jun. 18, 2007

Dear blog readers,

My best friend that I have mentioned so often, along with myself, have decided to reveal our special friendship and make it known. I hope you enjoy reading about how we met, how we became friends, and where we see our friendship going in the future. We've really put our thoughts and emotions into writing this. Her name? Mariah! God bless you all.
Sheila's View:

How we met

Mariah and I met on a tiny little forum online, specifically designed for Christian youths (and hence called ‘Christian Student Chat Forum). She came to it because, I, as the administrator of the forum, had my Mom post a little about it on one of her home school groups online. Mariah’s Mom responded to it, and Mariah signed up. Some of you may have been members, and probably never noticed that Mariah and I were slowly becoming closer and closer friends. This is due to the genius of the ‘Private Messaging’ system on forums nowadays. Early on, we mostly conversed about forum matters, as Mariah was one of the Moderators on the board, but even then, I think I felt that she was special; always willing to review what she had done, and make sure that things were all in order as they should be. I sent a private message to all the members, and received back from a search for prayer requests, this, by Mariah: “You could be praying that I will know what needs to be my first priorities. I know that God is first but what I need to do next. Such as school, piano, cleaning, crafts, etc.” It is rare to find someone so willing to examine her life, and these earliest encounters set a precedent for what we would discover in each other.

How we became friends


It is really sweet now, to look at all those messages, and mull over how much we shared with each other without knowing each other’s face, or where we lived, or what our families were like. We just connected. This is what I said to her, and is exactly how I felt: “I may only know you from online, but other than my parents and God, you really are my closest friend.” Neither Mariah, nor I, had any close friendships, and were longing for someone to fill the empty hole in our hearts into which only a friend of like mind could fit. Gently moving us closer and closer together in mind and soul, God showed us that he had an answer to our prayers for friendship, and it was staring us each in the face. What a blessing! In September of 2006, we chose to become accountable to each other. “Why don't the two of us keep each other accountable in the things we're working on?” I asked. Mariah’s quick response, 38 minutes later was so lovely; I now had an accountability partner! We even did a 5 day fast from a few things, and learned so much about Christ and each other, as we focused on reading His word and praying. God had a plan!

What our friendship looks like now

Come late November 2006, our Moms found each other again on the home school group of before, and discussed our friendship, and decided to let us share pictures, addresses, phone numbers, and all manner of anything we wished. We’d already become so close at this time, that it was hard to imagine that we didn’t even know exactly where each other lived! It was so much fun to share pictures of our area, our house, each other, and everything! Blessing me continually, we began our new journey of contacting each other through email rather than private messaging, because I, along with Mariah and our other fantastic moderator; Maria, decided that the forum needed to close for a while. Still in existence, the boards lie dormant until such a time as someone has the time and space to resurrect it. What the few other members of the forum didn’t realize, was that it had served its largest purpose. First of all, it had encouraged several young people to closer walks with Jesus, and was great fellowship while it lasted. Always the most important reason, however, was that Mariah and I had found best friends in each other. The time had come for the rest of us to part ways for now, and for Mariah and me to grow closer and closer together. Now we email usually more than once per day, and phone each other frequently. I can name all the members of her family, she can name mine, and we know each other’s faces by heart and each other’s personalities instinctively. For Christmas, I received a perfectly lovely hand-crocheted scarf, (which inspired me to learn how to crochet!) and for my Birthday a beautiful hand-sewn skirt, all from my best friend forever: Mariah

Where I see it going in the future

What does the future hold? This summer, Mariah is traveling to Canada so I may ‘meet’ the one I know the best. We’ll see each other face to face for the first time ever, and the biggest HUG will be given! Can you imagine? It really is a fantastic miracle. Maybe next summer I’ll see her down there, maybe not, but wherever, or however life leads us, our hearts hold fast to one another. Really and truly, I am blessed to have a friend like Mariah. We may have differences, even vast ones, but our love for God, and our quest for friendship was the key for this amazing story. God bless you all, and my prayer is that you may find a friend as close to you as Mariah is to me.

Mariah's View:

How We Met

Sheila and I met on her forum, Christian Student Chat Forum. I found Sheila’s forum because my mom signed me up for Sheila’s e-letter that she wrote bi-monthly on interesting subjects such as hurricanes, motion, and the North Pole. That led me to find out about her chat forum that I decided to join. I had always wanted to join a chat forum and I was excited to find one that looked safe and fun. For about the first six months that I was a member on the forum I just chatted with Sheila and the one other consistent member on the forum, Maria. We talked about our school, posted prayer requests, recipes, and played forum games. We chatted about almost anything and everything! In September of 2006, Sheila sent a personal message to all of the members, asking if there was anything going on in our lives that she could be praying for. I was struggling with some things so I replied and asked Sheila to be praying for me to get my priorities straightened out. My life had become really busy and I felt like everything was in a jumble. I feel like that was our first of many conversations that was more than just ‘chatting’.

How We Became Friends

A chat forum...that would have been one of the last places that I would have ever thought I’d find a best friend, but I did! After I had sent Sheila my prayer request we began sharing our struggles with each other through private messaging. That is when we began to realize how alike we were. We were both struggling in many of the same areas of our life such as humility, committing on the inside, and spending quiet time with God every day. When we began to see how alike we were Sheila suggested that we keep each other accountable, which I thought was a great idea. It may seem impossible for people to keep each other accountable when we had never actually ‘met’, but we did it! We were both hungry for a Christian relationship, for someone with whom we could share our feelings with and that’s just what God gave us! So, through private messages we constantly asked each other how the other was doing. I loved being able to share with Sheila my joys and obstacles that I had overcome. And even though it may sound strange, I also loved being able to share my shortcomings and sorrows. I never felt like Sheila was judging me which was one of the things I loved about her! Friend..........What a beautiful word!

What Our Friendship Looks Like Now

In November of 2006, Sheila’s mom contacted my mom and they discussed our friendship, after which they decided to let us share with each other anything we wanted! I had a great time sharing pictures of myself with Sheila. Neither of us looked like what the other had imagined. It was wonderful to finally be able to put a face with the one I knew so well! That is when we started contacting each other through emails instead of private messages. It came at the perfect time because not long after that Sheila, Maria, and I, decided to close the forum. I was sad to see it go, it had provided me with fellowship, encouragement on my walk with Christ, and the wonderful friends that I had in Sheila and Maria. But I also knew that Sheila and I were starting a beautiful new chapter in our friendship. We now email each other frequently and we also talk on the phone. We gave each other a gift for Christmas, which is when I received a beautiful hat. I love the cards and letters that Sheila has to written to me. It is special being able to hold something that I know Sheila has touched. They shall always be in my ‘special box’.

Where I See It Going In The Future

I will be traveling by myself on my first plane ride ever to visit Sheila this summer. When we will ‘meet’ for the first time ever! I can hardly wait and I still find it hard to believe sometimes that this is actually happening! I am constantly thanking God for giving me such a wonderful friend. It has helped me tremendously. We still hold each other accountable and encourage each other on our daily walk with Jesus. Can you believe it? I am counting down the days until we finally ‘meet’. We already know each very closely but I can’t wait to visit Sheila. To see the little things, such as a smile beginning to spread across her face, I’ve seen pictures of Sheila but a lot of them are posed so I want to see her from all different angles. I want to see more than what can be shown in picture, like the sound of here laugh! It is such a beautiful story that only God could plan. May you all be blessed as much as I have!
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This is only by God's sweet grace. Have a blessed Summer!
In Christ,
Sheila

Recital Day!

Jun. 16, 2007


Hello all!


As I mentioned in my little PS. to the flute section of my last entry, I had a flute recital today! It was so fun! If you didn't read my previous post, and so don't know what I played, I performed the Syrinx, by Claude Debussy, and The theme and 5 variations from Les Folies D'Espagne, by Marais. Wow! Such beautiful pieces! They are both unaccompanied, so I was free to stretch and pull wherever it felt good. I love that! I watched the videos after, and I sure move a lot, but I suppose that's just because I'm really into the music. I think that's a good thing. ;) There were a lot of other students, and a flute ensemble, and it was lovely to hear them! It's so fun to realize that there are lots and lots of other flutes in the same room as you, and you're a part of it! I'd love to post a video for you, but I'm not posting pictures of myself online for now. I'm sorry! Anyway, I just wanted to share how much fun I had!

Thank you to everyone who was there and clapped and told me what a great job I did. It really means a lot to hear that from people you respect. I sometimes feel a little insecure after the performance unless somebody says it was good. I mean, after all, you clap for a student even if it was yucky! I don't usually get nervous, unless it's a really big thing, like an exam (I'm trying to convince myself that it's no different, but there's this thing in my head that says it is!), but I think I might get a little bit nervous sometimes wondering if I did a good job, because it's so easy to notice all of your own mistakes and think that it was a lot worse than it was. That's why I love video taping and audio recording. Then you can watch/listen to it, and see that it wasn't as bad as you thought! All that to say thank you everyone for your kind words. They go a very long way in making me a better musician.

This is a list of who is currently helping me in my flutey endeavors! I'd also just like to make mention of the the people at church who compliment me on my flutistic-ness on the rare occasion that I play there. Thank you!

1.) I couldn't do it without my fabulous flute teacher who means the world to me. Tuesday is my favourite day of the week! Thanks so much!

2.) None of this would be possible without my Parents leading every step of the way. Their continued financial support, emotional support, and undying love creates an environment in which I truly can learn about the subject I find most fascinating. Thank you!!!

3.) My best friend and accountability partner, who keeps me in check whether I've practiced enough, and reminds me that she has accomplished a lot more that day than I did, and I should perhaps have spent less time blogging and more time making music. The fact that I have a musical friend is so perfect, too. I really appreciate you in everything.

4.) Last on the list, but first in my heart: Jesus. If it wasn't for his incredible gift of music to me, and the other fantastic musicians around the world, our world would be a sorry, silent world. How dull! Thank you for this precious task you have put in my heart, Jesus! You are so amazing!

Now I'm off to finish making my Father's Day card and wrapping the gift! A new breadboard! He really needs it! :) Shhhhh...don't give it away! :P

I hope whoever reads this finds it interesting! :)
Sheila

PS. Why is it easier to be goofy and fun-like when you type than when you speak? I want to be silly all the time! Sometimes it's hard! :D

Another lovely year in music!

Jun. 6, 2007

Hello faithful readers! Yes, I exist!


I apologize for my lack of posting. I've been terribly busy! I've been working, and taking my AWSI course (I'm totally overjoyed, because yesterday I passed with flying colours!), and doing school and music, and enjoying the sunshine, and setting up the pool (finally) and so many other things. Needless to say, I really haven't had much chance to post. :)

I'm really here to post about Music things and such. First off, I want to thank my flute teacher for reading my blog! I appreciate the compliments! After finding out that you'd read it, I noticed that I really haven't posted much about music lately! I have, however, beeing thinking and doing a lot about music! Where do I start?

I guess I'll begin with flute. First off, I have the best flute teacher in the world, and I feel sorry for all you other flute students who don't live near enough to me to have such an awesome flutey person as a mentor. Add the awesome, flute-ish,goofiness that comes out at every lesson, and it's just so fun. (A.K.A. making a Marais variation into a story about a rabbit hunter and his little wife and kids over the hill....haha!) Thanks a billion!

I've learned tons this year. I think I've taken a rather large leap with tone, thanks to some long tones every day as I wander the house reading whatever happens to be lying on the kitchen counter. That has helped me immensely in creating the sounds I want in every piece. It's not yet perfect, but it's getting there! The flexibility in tone is marvelous when you start to really discover it! I've played several 'big' pieces this year, including two three movement Concertos, one by Pergolesi, and one by Tartini. I also played the first movement of the Andante Pastoral and Scherzettino by Taffanel (Of the Taff. and Gaubert book.) Those, along with numerous studies and duets, plus the Syrinx, and much more, made up my repertoire this year. I performed in Festival a few months ago, too, playing two movements of the Tartini Concerto, and the Andante Pastorale. There were four flute classes, and two flutists. One of them was me. Ha! I also won a little bursary with it! It really was fun to do, and was an awesome day I'll never forget. My flute teacher and piano accompanist were there, and so were my Mom and Dad and some homeschool people we knew, and we just had so many laughs. I went to bed with overwhelming joy in my heart that night. That's what music does to you, folks! Thanks to everyone who made it an awesome day!

Oh yes, and I participated in the a Chamber Orchestra's Concerto competition as well. I didn't win, but I did my all out best, and I'm so glad I've now had the chance to experience an audition, even if on a small scale. As I said, I didn't win (Hey, only one person could, and they were quite a bit older, I'm still thrilled with how I did!!!), but at their concert, recently, I was given 'honourable mention' and a round of applause, along with another flute student. It was such a good feeling to know you worked hard at something and succeeded. So that is a short little condensation of what I did with my shiny silver tube (A.K.A. Flute) this year. Maybe sometime in the next few years, I shall join the 'Shrieking Twig Set'. (In regular language: Maybe I'll get a piccolo.)

PS. June 15: Oh yes, and guess what? Tomorrow I get to play at a little recital! I'm really excited, as I love performing flute! I'll be playing the Theme and 5 short variations, by Marais, and the Syrinx! :)

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NOTE: For all of you who don't live in Canada, we have 10 music Grades here. There are two options: The Royal Conservatory of Music (www.rcmusic.ca) has a program that is hugely widespread and well-known, and the newer, less-known, in my opinion better option; Conservatory Canada (www.conservatorycanada.ca). I am in the process of completing grade 9 in both instruments at the moment. As you probably guessed, I use Conservatory Canada, and always have. I love it, and think it's worth traveling an extra hour to get to exams!

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Now I shall get on to the black and white keyed end of things! Piano is wonderful, finally. It is such a blessing to have a teacher like I have. After rather many trials with previous teachers, it's a huge relief. As with flute, we have alot of fun at lessons, and have been working on catching me up with the theory I missed with the yucky teachers. It was hard to get her as my teacher, in fact, I lost her once, but then was able to get her back a year later! Boy was it worth it!!! Thanks so much, you're fabulous!

I've done lots as well with Piano! I was going to be in festival, but the festival people messed up a bit! So I didn't, but I did take a piano exam in February! I took my Grade 8, and passed with a nice, clean, 81.3 % I was very excited about that, because I thought I'd done a lot worse on my technique etc.! For my exam, I played some really lovely pieces. I played 'Les Carillons', by Kirnberger, and the 'Moonlight Sonata' by Beethoven, and a rather famous Waltz by Brahms, and a rather interesting but quite different, more modern 'New Year Waltz for Ferdinand Eckhardt'! I also played a Scarlatti Sonata, and a Lullaby by Grieg (studies) and my all time favourite: 'Milonga del Angel' by Astor Piazzolla. Gorgeouss piece!

Now I'm into the Grade 9 stuff! It's challenging, but really neat! One of my pieces is called the 'Hymn to Freedom' by Oscar Peterson, and it's so fascinating, because it's obviously about black freedom, but it really applies to all of our hearts! I'm now learning the 'Girl with the Flaxen Hair', and a Chopin Nocturne and a Fantasia by Mozart, along with a couple other things. What a neat selection I have this year!

As you might already know by reading my posts, I've been teaching two little children piano. They won't be returning next year, as they've decided it would be easier for all their kids to go to one teacher. Oh well! I really hope I can find some new students, though, and possibly for flute too, because it is such a joy. I truly believe I've chosen the right profession. I love teaching! Whether it's flute, piano, or swimming, I just love helping children to learn new things, and making things that seemed awful, hard and un-interesting to be fun, exciting and fascinating! It's pure delight to see their eyes sparkle as they perform a tast previously laborious to them! They've been with me a year and a half now, and I really think they've learned a lot. It's sad that I have to let them go, but I hope they do well. They are brother and sister, and vastly different, yet both fantastic musicians. It has been an almost magical task to teach these kids. They are far from perfect (who of us isn't?), but it was still a real pleasure. Teaching: Satisfaction Guaranteed!

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So all that to say that I am thriled to be a musician, and while I sometimes wish I could dance better, skate better, swim better, or even sing better; I am glad I have put my full effort into this thing which will last a lifetime and not just untill my leg muscles give way or my voice dips down and crackles. Boy is it worth it. If you have not yet picked up an instrument, or sat down at the piano, do so soon. It's never to late if you can dedicate an hour or two a week. Before you know it, however, you won't be able to stop at two hours a week, soon it will be five, and more! What I say is pursue it to the best of your abilityt! You never have to become a concert pianist, or professional teacher, but get to the point where you can make glorious sounds for Jesus, and fill your soul with joy on those sad, low-key evenings. Take it far enough that you can play for your children, and sing with them, or just comfort yourself in your old age. Whatever you do with the sounds you make, you will be glad you did it. I hope somehow, my sharing what I've done with all of you will inspire someone, somewhere, someday, to pick up that instrument that has been lying in the closet for years, dust it off, and produce golden music.

Thanks for listening to my passions!

In Christ,

Sheila

Our Little Miracle! Meet Peep!

• May. 22, 2007

So, this morning my Mom was driving back from some errands, and found a little baby birdie sitting in the middle of the road! She took him home, and we made him happy in a little cage for a while, and then we tried to let him free in the bush, but he kept trying to fly and then falling of a branch! So later we took him and put him in a safer, flatter spot. He was still 'cheep cheep-ing' then, so hopefully his Mommy found him! Here are some pictures and two videos! :)


The moment we released him...poor little guy!


In his little hamster cage!


With a twig...


The seeds he didn't eat. :)


It's like us in God's hands, isn't it?


The first time we (tried to) set him free!




(Keep in mind that I think he's cute, so my voice is, naturally, cutsie! I don't sound like that normally! :P )

I hope you enjoy him almost as much as we did! Pray that his Mommy found him and that he'll be okay. He's such a little guy! :-)

In Christ,
Sheila

How can I be really dedicated to God?

May. 21, 2007

I've been feeling a bit like I'm not very strong in my Christian walk, lately. I don't know, I guess it's just a feeling as if I just am not doing enough for God. I mean, I read my Bible, pray, go to Church, 'be good', etc., but I felt a bit like I was missing a bit of the spark of life that we as Christians are meant to have. I want that!


One of the things I really fight with is not have a place to commune with God. I mean, a freshly cut lawn and a picture-perfect house accross the street, along with asphalt and street lights just don't create a very reverent environment. Last summer when we were away and rented a little cottage in the middle of nowhere, I had a really amazing 'chat' with God. I was actually crying! Somehow being out in nature, especially if it's twilight, seeing the silouets of trees, and maybe the moon glistening on a lake, and the stars twinkling silently, each with their own little song, just helps me to listen to God. It's different when you are sitting on your bed. What did God tell me that evening? He told me I needed to be a foot-washer. He told me I needed to be humble, and through little acts of servanthood, that I was a leader. Boy, I struggle with that!


For a while, I was fairly diligent in my foot-washing (not literally!!!), but after a while I kind of forgot. It's easy to forget to be humble. To be honest, sometimes I'm a little arrogant pig. I want it my way now, I want everybody else to like it or if not to deal with it, and let me do my thing. I want to be in control, I want to know what's going on, I want to be in charge! God, however, says: "Be a servant, and I will make you a leader in my own way." That thought--though I hadn't put it into words--has, I think, been scraping away at the little wall of self-satisfaction that I had built around my heart since I 'forgot'. Sadly, it's not all gone yet, but with prayer and hard work, and hopefully a bit of self-sacrifice, I will make it come down!


I mentioned this to a friend when I told her, that all this sound so spiritual, and how could I make a blog post to the entire world, about my wanting to be humble? It sounds a little ironic, but I just want all you to know what I struggle with, so you know that I feel like this too, even for all my articles on Godly relationships and all that. To be honest, I have felt rather 'spiritually dead' lately. So, when I read my Bible, I'm trying to think it through a bit more than I was, and I am trying to live out Greg Long's son: 'Fifteen'. Here are the words:


I was sitting at the table
As the waitress took our order
In her eyes I knew that something wasn't right
And before I saw it coming
I was caught up in her story
Of the storms that she had weathered in her life
My friend said can we pray for you
She said I think I'd like you to
She walked away, we bowed our heads
But then he turned to me and said

If it takes fifteen times
To hear about Jesus
For someone to believe
Wherever I stand in line
I've got to make a difference
In case it comes down to me
'Cause, I may be the third, may be the seventh
There may be years in between
But what if I'm fifteen
What if I'm fifteen

Just a chapter in a story
With the ending still unwritten
Do they find the truth of Jesus after all
As I listen for the whispers
And I follow where they lead me
I pray that I'll be faithful to the call
I know that God can work through me
I may not understand it now
But I believe somehow

If it takes fifteen times
To hear about Jesus
For someone to believe
Wherever I stand in line
I've got to make a difference
In case it comes down to me
'Cause I may be the third, may be the seventh
There may be years in between
But what if I'm fifteen
What if I'm fifteen

God I don't want to miss the chances
When you open the door
What may seem so insignificant
You see so much more

If it takes fifteen times
To hear about Jesus
For someone to believe
Wherever I stand in line
I've got to make a difference
In case it comes down to me
'Cause I may be the third, may be the seventh
There may be years in between
But what if I'm fifteen
What if I'm fifteen

Can I make a difference? I think so! If I can just live my every day walk with Christ, just being a Christian, maybe I can change people's lives. Maybe just being a servant for someone else will help me become the leader of their lives: Leading them to Christ's eternal kingdom.


Now, I think there are some feet to be washed! Let me be off! Pray for me, and I will pray for you as your names become known!

Love in Christ,
Sheila

Dating, Crushes, and Love (Teens; Part 2)

May 17, 2007

Pr.S. I'm a girl, and most of you are girls, therefore, I am going to write this mostly from a girl's perspective. If you are a guy (or you know a guys who might be good at this), and you wish to elaborate on this topic from your perspecitive, let me know, and if I like what you write, I'll post it. :)


Three words, used practically interchangeably, but so vastly different: Dates, Crushes, Loves. Let me set before you a scenario from our public high school world: One young woman meets a handsome young man, and decides she 'likes', or has a 'crush' on him. He's 'hot' she says, and 'cute', and she feels that she is in the most glorious place when she is around him. The young man in focus decides he 'likes' the young woman in focus as well, and 'asks her out'. 'Almost dying' when he asks her, the girl accepts, and immediately tells all her 'friends' that she has a 'date', and shows them pictures of his 'adorable' face. The following Friday, the 'couple' go to a movie at the local theatre, hold hands, and eat from the same bag of popcorn, while shallow, little, warm fuzzies creep through the two of them. A few weeks later, as the rumor goes around that the 'couple' is 'in love', the guy and girl kiss, making them believe they are utterly in heaven. I need not elaborate, but it is obvious that a few weeks or months later, they 'break up', possibly because he just wants to go for another girl, she cries for a few days, and begins the process once again with another young man. Does this make sense to you? Would you want to be that girl?
I hope you would not! As you see, there are many things in quotations in the above paragraph, because those are the words that are used, but they are not what the things they are reffering to really are. It all goes to show you how fake it all is. The problem is, that the dating scene continues into married life. Date, kiss, break up: Marry, kiss, divorce. God clearly states that divorce is not right, therefore, how could breaking up be right? If divorce was alright, then what what would be the point of marriage in the first place? Therefore, the same thing goes for dating: If breaking up is wrong--which it is--then what is the point of dating? I think it is high time that we penetrate our earthly desires, to see what the bigger picture really is.
Personally, I have a goal in mind that I know many girls scoff at. Laughter, whether suppressed or not, is the first thing from their lips when I tell them that I don't have crushes. "Everyone has crushes; you can't stop that!", they say. I don't believe that, because I know someone that can help me! I see many hansome young gentlemen, and at first glance even think that very thing, but that doesn't mean that I am in love with him, or that there is some sort of secret force between us that makes me 'like' him. Sure, if I let my thoughts dwell on that young man, I could become infatuated with him, but that isn't necessary! When I feel those thoughts and feelings seeping slowly into my heart, I pray. "Heavenly Father," I pray, "take these feelings away from me, and help me not to think about that young man in that way. Help me to see him only as another one of your children, not a candidate for my love." Having had one or two 'crushes' in the past, before I had jumped over the not-so-scary hurdle of submitting my feelings to God, not just my heart, I know that once you have 'liked' someone, and then decided you don't 'like' them anymore, you can never be quite as close to them as real friends as before. It is as if there is a film left on your soul that says: "I had feelings for that person, and I can never have feelings, whether love-ish or not for him again." It's difficult, but possible to overcome.
Through prayer and contemplation, God can help you to feel friendly towards previously-liked guys, but is it necessary to go through that again? I think not! Affection for young men is not a planned part of life, however, it happens suddenly and without warning, and we must be sure to nip it in the bud as soon as it becomes noticable, just like weeds!
If you think about it, dating and crushes are not aa part of God's plan. Courtship, in which the two parties in question take time to think through all the little parts of the relationship, and consider marriage from square one, instead of it being an afterthought, is Biblical. Here is an example of someone not caught up by lust for many girls: Jacob loved Rachel, and was willing to wait. Why date when you're 15 if you are not planning on marriage anyway? Perhaps waiting as Jacob did for the right time in life, is the better choice.
Genesis 29:18¹
And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
Love--contrary to popular belief--is not a feeling. Love is a passion for God, and a willingness to share that with someone. Love means being ready to do anything at any time for a particular person.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
According to God's word, is love a feeling? No! So what on earth are we talking about when we say that someone is 'in love'? I'm not going to get into symantics and say that we shouldn't use the word 'love' for being 'in love', etc., but perhaps just realizing that our English language is severely limited might help us to see that the word 'love' is used for a lot more things than it was originally designed for.
Girls! If you haven't already, promise with me,² give your single years to God rather than silly young men who just want a kiss! (and leave the prayer in the comments of that post to show the world that you did!) Let us show the world that we are true lovers, according to what our Master in heaven has set forth as a guideline.
One day, most likely, you will be 'in love'. At that time, think back to the promise you made, and remember that the object of your affection is not your Creator, and think on the fact that He alone is worthy of your life and complete surrender. The man you will marry will become a beautiful part of you, but he cannot live within you as your Father does. In light of this, let us consider how worthless and what a waste of time and energy it is to have breezy relationships with young men before such a time as you are ready to commit to a lifelong bond, no matter how mature and upright the man may be.
1 John 4:1616
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
Now, go in peace and serve the Lord with every ounce of your being. Being His child and walking His road can be hard, and the devil likes to confuse us with other lofty ideas and ideals, and perhaps even a taste of the world's version of love, but stay straight and lean on Jesus and through all remember: God is Love!
Sheila
¹ All Bible passages taken from the New American Standard Bible
² URL: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/ChristsInstrument/235758/
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