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

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