When I first started this post, I didn't know what it was going to be about. I was going to begin by saying this: "Life is good. God is good, but I'm feeling a bit like Maria and Mariah...dry."
Well, I feel warmed, and touched, and loved, by someone very special. His name is Jesus. I have been feeling dry lately. Very much like the pilgrim Maria wrote about. I felt very alone and very cold, and felt like when I read God's Word I wasn't getting anything out. When I prayed, I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. When I played my music, I enjoyed it, but I didn't feel the heavenward connection I love. I just felt a bit like the world. Hugging my simple dreams and desires here on earth. I was falling into little traps and not really bothering to try to get out. That's probably why you haven't been reading too many profound and uplifting posts here lately. In fact, earlier today, I sat down to write an inspirational, Christian post, simply because I hadn't done one in a while, and I came up with that first line. I didn't know what to write!
What happened? I don't know. Like I said, life is good, and I am really enjoying seeing the possibilities that God has placed before me in this life. I love watching things unfold, or imagining what I hope to see unfold in the future. I have enjoyed great happiness, discovering gifts that I didn't even know were there, it's like Christmas, but better! I had the chance to sit in the sunshine in nature, surrounded by silence coupled with the occasional bit of birdsong, to feel the wind rustle my hair, to feel warmth from people I admire greatly, and to open myself up to finding out who I really am. Discovering who I am is certainly an adventure--there are many things about me I didn't know! When you find that you don't mind doing things out of the ordinary, or dressing a bit out of the ordinary, or smiling when everyone else is frowning, you feel happy. Very happy. So I guess, I was happy, but I felt a bit empty.
Last night, I was thinking on some hard decisions I have to make, and I was thinking about life recently. I was thinking about the things I hope will happen, and I was thinking about my little empty spot. I knew what it was, and so, I, as I have been doing every night, in an effort to fill in the hole, I prayed. Almost every time I crawl into bed, I say "God, please, I really want to feel you. I know that my faith in you is not all about feelings, but I think right now I need to feel you. Please help me to connect with you and not lose faith." Then I listened for Him a bit, and last night I read James 1.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
So that's what I did. I didn't know what would happen.
Today I woke up, and I still had no idea what would happen. So far did that fact go, that I entirely forgot, until about 45 minutes before we had to leave, that I had a French course this morning! When I got home, I got on the computer, and checked up on everyone's blogs, listened to a few flute videos, and got a phone call from Camille. We had a lovely chat, and as I hung up the phone and started serving my lunch, Nadine called. She told me about a great movie, called 'A Walk to Remember'. We had fun on the phone for over an hour, and then got off the phone and I instant messaged with Tiffany and Nadine, where they met. Then I got on a skype call with Lisa, and we had great fun trying to discern if there was a difference between a wheelie bin and a garbage can. Erica showed up, and we spent probably a whole hour laughing about silliness. It was a lovely last day of my spring week off. I still felt kind of empty though.
After Chinese food, we watched 'A Walk to Remember'. It starts out rough, but that movie really touched me by the end. I must have had little trenches dug into my cheeks, and I could have sobbed freely if I had been alone in the room. The example that girl set in being set-apart as a Christian, even if presented slightly unrealistically from a secular point of view, helped me realize that my set-apart-ness stems from my relationship with God. Through my tears, I got on the computer, and started reading random blog posts. I just felt like I needed encouragement. I popped over to Merrill's blog, and read this post and this post. You are a very clever girl, Merrill. Somehow those two trains of thought really hit me hard. I really need to trust in God, I really need to reflect Christ, and I really need to do hard things for Him.
This new me, that God has helped me discover is going to do her best to follow Jesus just a little more closely. I am not taking Him for granted anymore. He's going to come with me everywhere I go, I think I've been leaving Him home a bit too much.
You know, I have a very special teddy bear, and I've had him since I was little. When I was about 7, I remember my Mom saying she took her teddy everywhere. What she meant is that when she moved out etc., teddy came with her. I took it to mean that every time I went out, my teddy bear, Habakkuk, should come with me. He did. I took him right to the edge of the Grand Canyon and everything, as you can see! Over the years, I gave up on that, but I still took him with me every time I went on a big trip, even if he did stay in bed while I went out. Of course, I'm almost 16, and he doesn't always fit in my bags anymore, sometimes he stays home. I have to say though, it sometimes is a bit painful. I love that bear! But you see, that's what I did to God a bit these past few weeks. My sinful nature said "Hey, you can just leave Him at home while you go out." I did, and contrary to how it is with a teddy bear, with God, that's terribly wrong. I see that now, and I am very excited about bringing Him with me everywhere again.
I'm going...no we--God and me--are going on a journey, and it's called LIFE! Eternal life.
Hugs to all my huggable friends and a hearty handshake to the rest of you,
Due to some disturbing sharing of information online that has recently taken place, I decided to install Sitemeter on my blog. It's been really neat to see what countries different people come from! I really don't know who most of you are, so don't worry. :)
I'm just really curious. I have two distinct hits from Switzerland, one I believe is Nadine, and the other one is from near Valais, I think, but I'm not sure. I also have a recurring hit from Iceland of all places, and am finding this really really interesting. So, here's the deal. If you are comfortable saying "Yes, that is me, I am from Iceland!" or "Yes, I am one of the Swiss hits!" in the comments, please do so. However, I understand that you might not necessarily feel like advertising your whereabouts to the entire world.
If you feel comfortable just sharing with me who you are from those exotic places, (maybe exotic is the wrong word...Hahahahaha!!!) I have created an email address that you can email me at:
Blog.Christsinstrument [at] gmail [dot] com. (Replace [at] with @ and [dot] with . )
Of course, if you don't want anyone to know you are from Iceland or wherever, feel free to ignore this post. I'm just genuinely happy and curious! :D
Nadine, if you're reading this, I miss you, and I would LOVE comments! Can't wait to see you in the summer. By the way...I WILL get a letter in the mail to you this week. :D
Hugs to all the huggable people, and a cheerful 'God Bless' to everyone else,
I would have loved to share this before, but in this case, a video is worth a thousand words. Enjoy!
Most of you know about the Rebelution, and 'Do Hard Things'.
Check this out, and please do consider doing as they are saying. :)
OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!
I had a happy day. :D
This morning I got up at 7:30, which is not early, but it felt early, and I did not want to get up. Then I forced myself up, feeling ucky and sleepy, and deliberated for half and hour over what to wear. Oh I want to wear that skirt, oh I don't like that blouse, that means I can't wear that skirt, my Mom doesn't like that skirt, I want to wear that blouse, this skirt doesn't match that blouse...ackgh. Skirts strewn everywhere. ;) I did finally make up my mind, and ate breakfast and did my hair, and put make-up on. Can you tell there's something different about this morning? Yeah. I almost never 'do' my hair or put make-up on.
Yep, we were heading off to festival. Music festival! Packed up my flute, took my B-vitamins, made a sandwich, bottled some water, collected up my music, grabbed a sweater, and hopped in the car. WooHoo!
Got there just as Jen was hurrying across the street in the pouring rain, and went inside to meet Marianne and her student, welcomed by the sounds of a performing trombone. A random church with less than 10 people in the sanctuary. Yep, this is festival! Yay!
I went and set up my flute and then we went in and listened to some brass performances and adjudications. Marianne was right, the adjudicator is a sweet Santa Claus guy. A very talented, musical Santa Claus without a beard mind you, but the St. Nick type anyway. He was very encouraging to the students, and had a great way about him. I was excited. My parents and Jen were encouraging as usual, and after a short intermission, it was time for the flute classes to begin. All two of us. :)
Alison got up and played very nicely, and Santa adjudicated very sweetly, with fabulous pointers, too! "Congratulations, Alison. Good job!" That means it's my turn. Okay, here goes...wooooooooooo!!! Alison and I alternated playing, so we each got a little break in between, but this is what I played:
- Sonata No. 6, BWV 1035, by J.S. Bach
- Suite Modale, mvmnts 1, 3, & 4, by Ernest Bloch
- Out of the Cool, by David Heath
I got some recordings at rehearsals, so hopefully I can get those up sometime. :)
So, I had a BLAST playing, and enjoyed every moment, every note, every awesome save after a mistake, every articulation, every moment of music. And then, with a curtsy, it was all over. I got (respectively) 88%, 91%, and 92%. I am astounded. That is incredible. Just amazing. I am thrilled!
So now lunch awaits, and Marianne and Alison and Alison's Mom could not make it, so they went for cake, but Jen, (I really don't need to explain anymore that she's my flute teacher, do I?) my parents, and I, all went to the little pink Tex-Mex restaurant and ate lunch-ish yummies. Yummy! We heard stories of orchestras past and present, stories about lonely (???) waitresses arriving on buses 20 years ago, and parrots sitting on margaritas, We also enjoyed strawberry banana 'squooshy things'. (Um, crushed ice and whizzed up fruit-y tasties) Guess who finished last?
Now Erica, did I tell you that you are a mini-Jen yet? Because if I didn't, you need to know that an identical personality of yours is hiding out up here playing the flute and drinking strawberry banana squooshy things. Seriously, curly hair and everything. You know how you talk so much and everybody loves it? Oh yeah. ;D
After lunch and some gum that tastes like Jolly Ranchers, we headed for home and I did some Systematic Theology with Sadie. That was fun. I also got in a bit of music History, and some singing. 6:45 rolled around and it was time for choir, yesss!!!
Rosemary was incredible again, and I had a lot of fun. Just on a whim I'm trying to memorize all our choir pieces for the concert in April. A couple times I had to peek over people's shoulders for the words, but not having to hold and look at music all the time gives you so much freedom! In one song I don't know rhythms on too well yet, and I had to look at the music, and you know, I was one of them that kept singing after Rosemary stopped us. I had NO idea what she was doing or directing us to do. So, 5 points for having choir music memorized. :D In any case, it was lots of fun, I am REALLY enjoying learning to sing better and having a blast finding out that I can hit some high notes, even if not always so well!
My Mom picked me up and nonchalantly said: "So, how would you feel about attending a masterclass with Sir James Galway?" WHAT???!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS???!!!
Turns out the Weggis masterclass he does in Switzerland is right when we are going to be there in the summer. So, it's a quite distinct possibility that my tiny fluting self will be with incredible-est flute guy ever at his masterclass this summer. We'll see for sure yet in a few weeks, but oh my goodness I can't believe it.
So yes, I am feeling musical today!
I am really sorry if this post sounds like bragging, because really, I'm just super excited about my music and what God is doing with it for me. It is SUCH a blessing. The opportunities He is giving me are beyond anything I could hope for. I am so grateful.
God bless you all!
PS. Unfortunately, Jen did not let me get a picture of me with her. All we got were impromptu shots of her running past the camera, so if any of you wish to 'sign your name' in the comments and we'll let her know that I need a Sheila and Jen picture, I'd be much obliged. :P :D
I am here to give you a short update on life. Sorry I haven't posted a lot this week. I've been very busy with festival for piano, and concerto competition, and preparing for festival on flute which takes place on Monday. I actually won the concerto competition! Yay! More on that in my next post, which will be after Monday, so hopefully I'll be able to play you a clip or two of my festival performances. Very exciting!
On a life-with-God, note, I re-read James 1 this past week, and got a LOT out it it! It was amazing how much God spoke to me using just that one chapter! Maybe I'll elaborate on that more soon too, but I just felt like he was telling me to take His hand a little tighter and to not let go. I just know I need His wisdom.
Ah yes, and I've started vlogging! So here is my first attempt: Wait...this is the second. Lydia found the first one though! I'm dying to know how you did it. Did you go through my other YouTube video?
Anway, first here are the comments I'm putting along with the video on Youtube. Disclaimers, you could say:
Here I am...again.
Note that there are multiple times I say 'um' and don't notice. Whoops!
Also, the random moments where I'm looking down to my left...scripted. Told ya so! No, really, half of it is completely off the top of my head, I just had to know where to start. :D
I'll talk slower next time. :D
By the way, the little black thing and the little white thing on the bottom of my flute are (respectively) a squishy sliced-open pencil grip stuck on with two-sided tape for my left index finger to rest on, and a Thumbport for my right thumb. :D
I also realized that by the end of the video I'd made it sound like I was really shy and insecure. Not really. Ask people that know me, I'm just not always as great as I'd like at showing all the freedom that is inside me. :)
I hope you enjoy it!
1.) If I were a doll, the accessories packaged with me would be:
A pretty long gown, a cowgirl outfit, my flute, a piano, a little button to make me sing...
2.) I have an irrational fear of:
Being bad at things. But not really. Just sort of.
3.) What type of food do you eat at your grandparents house?
Food...and fantastic desserts!
4.) What weight were you when you were born?
10 pounds, 4 ounces. Big baby. :D
5.) What would you do if you were stranded on an island with the person you hate most?
Ignore the person and go exploring!
8.) I find the thought of childbirth:
Absolutely spellbinding. Very exciting!
9.) Next door to my house is:
More houses. Yuck.
10.) My feet are:
Size 8 1/2. :D
11.) My preferred style of jeans is:
Slightly flared at the ankles, and not too tight all around.
12.) Do you play a musical instrument?
Flute, Piano, and Singing!
13.) Know how to cook?
Yep! And I like it too!
14.) I am annoyed with:
People who have no respect for other people.
16.) What child-related smell do you not like?
Poop, but who cares?
17.) What sea creature scares you?
Something that could eat me when I go swimming in the ocean. :(
18.) What color hair do most of the people you are around have?
19.) What object have you broken most recently?
Bread! I ate a bun this morning, and I just broke it instead of cutting it. Haha. :)
20.) Name one of the Spice Girls.
Hmm, I think I'll call them: Bob, Fred, Joe, and Frank. How's that for a naming job! j/k
21.) What was the last thing to make you cry?
Um, well, when I discovered the bad mark I got on that exam. But my teacher and I think it must be a mis-marking. Who knows? We'll find out when we get the exam back.
22.) What are the stems on wine glasses for?
23.) My favorite shoes are:
24.) Can you use chopsticks?
Sort of, but really badly!
25.) Do you prefer beaches or forests?
Oh goodness, I don't know. I've grown up around both, so I don't know if I could choose. Maybe the beach?
26.) What serial killer do you find most disturbing?
Whoever asked this question didn't know that I have no clue about serial killers. ;)
27.) Who knows a secret or two about you?
Mariah and SOA girls? My parents?
28.) Have you ever burned yourself?
Yes, the last time was when I tried to take something out of the stove without oven mitts. Real smart.
30.) Who is your hero[s]?
My teachers!!! WooHoo!
40.) Do you believe that things last forever?
Yes. Some of them.
41.) What are you listening to?
The computer and my clickety-clacking
42.) What do you smell like?
Freshly washed hair?
43.) Are you married?
Three guesses and the first three don't count!
44.) Does anyone regularly tell you they love you?
My Mommy and my Daddy! *little kid grin*
45.) What's the most confusing to you?
Life. Life. Life.
46.) Do you have any bad habits?
Uh, yeah. Sometimes I go on the computer too much. Sometimes I eat too much sugar. But I'm working on both. :)
47.) Have you ever wanted to be a teacher?
Yes!! Music and swimming!
48.) What is one thing you've learned about life?
Don't judge a person by their cover.
49.) What's your favorite color?
Pink and Green!
50.) Have you ever been stuck in an elevator?
No, I haven't. :)
53.) What are you looking forward to?
54.) How are you today?
Happy and excited and whatever you are when you aren't nervous but are about to perform. I don't know. :)
That was random! Feel free to steal away!