Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A "Rest" in Life

Not without design does God write the music of our lives. Be it ours to learn the tune, and not be dismayed at the "rests." They are not to be slurred over, not to be omitted, not to destroy the melody, not to change the keynote. If we look up, God Himself will beat the time for us. With the eye on Him, we shall strike the next note full and clear.
If we sadly say to ourselves, "There is no music in a 'rest,'" let us not forget "there is a making of music in it." The making of music is often a slow and painful process in this life. How patiently God works to teach us!
How long He waits for us to learn the lesson!

I came across this last night while reading "When God Writes Your Love Story," by Eric and Leslie Ludy. It greatly touched my heart. For those of you, who like me, are in a season of waiting may this touch your hearts too. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A More Real Christmas

Christmas is a beautiful time of year. When I was younger I looked at Christmas in a different light than I do now. Back then it was all about fun, good cheer, getting know the stuff every kid loves about Christmas. But, now I don't see things the same.

My parents have always made Christmas a joyous time in our house, but the last couple years God has brought us through some... let's say...testing at Christmas time. Last year at this time, my Mom miscarried, I had a sister move out and other nameless trials. This year we again have had some different trials. In my fleshly heart, it is terribly easy to become angry or even bitter. I read newsletters about all the wonderful things people are doing and wonder why my life is so very different from theirs.

This Christmas I learned something very important. I learned more about Christ.
Let me explain:
There was a point this last week when I was exasperated, at tail end and just frustrated with the fact that I did not get what God was doing. It was during this time of exasperation that God revealed to me a more real and true version of the Nativity.
What if Mary was like me? What if she was scared, frustrated, confused? Maybe she wanted to serve Jehovah, but doubted His reasoning in choosing her. Maybe she felt like she had reached the bottom. Being pregnant out of wedlock was not accepted back then as it is now. I'm sure she felt the sting of many a friends rejection. She probably felt alone.
And Joseph, I can't imagine the amount of pressure he must have felt. To have countless people turn their backs on you because you embraced God's will. Knowing that people would never look at you the same is hard. He was probably a good, honorable man that became defined by a deed he never did.

There was no trip to Disney World or countless dinners at a resort included on the trip to Bethlehem. They were two people brought very closely together I'm sure, by embracing a terribly difficult calling from God. I know that just because you are willing to follow God's calling doesn't ensure a happy, glorious, yellow brick road. I'm not trying to place Joseph and Mary into the twenty-first century, but I know they were sinful human beings, and while they might not have had the exact same feelings and emotions that I do, I know it wasn't easy for them.
But, how it must have payed off as Mary held the precious Savior in her arms. Looking into his eyes must have been the most beautiful moment in all of eternity.
The rejection and shame placed on Joseph and Mary were only a small piece of the the rejection and shame that would be placed on their son.

And so, as I struggled trying to understand the whys and whens of life, I realized that I had been given a very special gift. I got to partake of that first Christmas in my own way. God gave me a clearer view of what my Savior went through for me and of why He came to this earth. Suddenly, all of those things that other people got to do and the places they went seemed far less desirable. Someone reminded me the other day that life wasn't meant to be easy. Following God's will isn't easy and yet it reaps a thousand times more rewards than a life spent in pleasures. I think of all that Mary and Joseph went through, and even more, all that Jesus went through and suddenly my life seems easy. The pain, fear, frustration and confusion seem all the more worth it because I know God has something greater awaiting me. Something that I may not see at this moment, but that He sees very clearly.

Luke 1:46-55
"And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever."

Merry Christmas
If you'd like to read an update on my family, you can visit my mom's blog at:

Friday, December 9, 2011

400th Anniversary!

After I got ready for church this past Sunday, I was reading my Bible before everyone else got up. I've been doing this devotional "plan" where you read a chapter from ten different spots in the Bible. It's a really good study, and it helps you read through the Bible fast, although I usually split it - 5 chapters at a time rather than 10. Anyways, I was reading in Genesis chapter 11. The verses went something like this.

"And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. And Salah lived thirty years and begat Eber: And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters...." and so forth - Genesis 11:12-15

I read it and then I stopped and read some of it again. It had suddenly dawned on me that if these guys were getting married somewhere around age thirty and they were living for four hundred some years afterwards, that they were probably married for about 400 years. WOW! Nowadays, it's really neat for people to celebrate their 25th anniversary and it is very rare for people to make it to their 50th. Back then they were celebrating their 300th and 400th anniversaries. (Now there's a line of decorations that Party City discontinued!) :-)
The incredible thing is, it wasn't just Shem or Arphaxah (what a name) that were married that long. It was generations upon generations. What a legacy. I pray that in my family, 50th wedding anniversaries won't be surprising. What a legacy of generational faithfulness. Wouldn't it be something if people took the line, "til death do us part," seriously. Noah's descendants did and I don't even think they said that line. Marriage is a beautiful and glorious thing. I know it's hard and there are times that storms rage, but it is spectacular to see people sticking with each other through all the difficulties.

By the way, those guys getting married around age 30, would be the equivilant to getting married somewhere around age 7 ratio wise. No, you should NOT get married that young, but the younger you get married, the more years you have together - if with God's help you stick with it. (Last Sunday, we listened to a message from the NCFIC Marriage Conference on getting married young. It was so good! I would highly reccomened the mp3s or C.D.s from that conference.)
Yeah, I really like this picture. (That's why I keep posting it. :-)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Recital 2011

The Christmas Recital went very well! (Beyond what I expected.) I thank God for helping each student through. I was extremely nervous, but as I told one of my students, nervouseness can be a gift from God, in that it makes us rely on Him more.
The first half of the recital was all of the students' solos. I jumbled them up so we didn't go in grade order or level order. The second half was duets with voice and instrument accompanying. I love playing for people to sing or play their instruments with and I wanted to help my students learn how to do it. They got lots of practice on listening to each other and working as a team.

Rachel played, "Carol of the Bells." She wasn't too happy about having to go first, but she did a beautiful job!

Anna played, "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy." It was a complicated song and she nailed it splendidly.

Jared played, "Deck the Halls." Before the recital he kept saying, "I know I'm gonna mess it up," but  he did a really good job. :-)

Kelly played, "Ding Dong, Merrily on High." She had this song memorized several weeks in advance which was impressive since we changed some of it.

Parker played, "Do You Hear What I Hear?" He played like a pro and remembered all of his half notes. :-)

Robert played, "The First Noel." He started piano not too long ago, so playing for the recital was a stretch, but he made it through.

Daniel played, "Good King Wenceslas." He has only been playing for about three months and he did awesome.

Michael played, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." He is great at making up his own songs and playing by ear, so it was hard for him to do a song written as music, but he worked hard and did a good job. By the way, if anybody needs a soundtrack, he's GREAT at writing movie music. This guy reads a picture book and composes a symphony for it.

Drew played, "Jingle Bells." The song had a pretty hard left hand so he had to work really hard on it. His labors sure payed off though, because he did a great job.

Kayla played a very soul-felt "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." Playing in the recital is not her favorite thing, but she truly knows how to play from her heart and she amazes me to no end.

Emma played, "O Christmas Tree." She was very pleased to show me her own rendition for how the song should end and she played it beautifully.

Kendra played a very lively personal favorite of mine, "Pat a Pan." It is such a fun song especially for anyone who plays a fife or drum. She did a wonderful job.

Emilee played, "Silent Night," which was rather difficult with a position change right in the middle of the song. If I hadn't known the song, I never would have noticed the change because she played it so smoothly.

Christopher played, "The First Noel." If I am remembering correctly, I think he was the first person to have his song memorized. He did a really good job.

Julia played, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," well, almost twelve. She played the first six days, and then jumped to the twelfth day, getting faster and faster, louder and louder. She did so well, and I cannot figure out how she kept track of what day she was on.

Joey played, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." He has also only been playing for about three months and this song had a lot of new things in it that he had not officially learned yet. He worked hard and did a great job.

Sarah played, "We Three Kings." She practiced so much that there were times that we had to tell her to please stop. She wanted to make sure that she played her song well, and she did.

Justin played, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." He does not like having to talk in front of people, but he got up there, introduced himself and played his song very well. (Yes, I'm one of those mean teachers that makes her students introduce themselves and their songs. Haha....)

Kelly and Kendra did a piano duet to "Away in a Manger." Kelly had a very difficult part and she had to work really hard on it, but she got it and the girls did very well.

Christopher and I played, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear." We had fun as we worked on getting it together. :-)

Julia and Drew did a beautiful duet for "Good King Wenceslas." Drew played the melody part, and Julia's part was a rendition of Pachelbel's Cannon in D. They played the best they ever had together at the recital.

Emilee and I played, "Go Tell it on the Mountain." I think we finally got that eight-note rythmn put together. -That was not an easy feat. This was another one that we had a lot of fun on and many good laughs in the process.

Parker and I played, "Over the River and Through the Woods." He remembered to count and we did it! He worked really hard on this song, and it showed.

Rachel and I sang, "Breath of Heaven," while Anna (not pictured - sorry) played the piano. I wasn't sure how it would go because the song is not easy to play, but Anna did a fabulous job. As for the singing, I have no idea.... I think it went well....ask somebody who was there how it sounded. :-)

Sisters, Emma and Julia played and sang, "Jingle Bells." Emma had it memorized and owned it! Julia sang beautifully even when she had to jump ahead a measure. They sounded great and I know there was a lot of teamwork behind that song.

Rahcel and Kendra did, "Joy to the World." The song was a rendition mixed with the "Hallelujah Chorus." Poor Kendra was beside herself when she got a cold earlier in the week, but she pulled through and sang her little heart out. Rachel played just the right speed, which is difficult, and they sounded wonderful.

Kayla and Anna played, "Bring the Tourch, Jeanette Isabella." They are best friends and did so well together. I originally got the music off of a free sheet music website, and you never know how those are going to turn out being that they were free, but the girls made it sound so beautiful. Click here to access the website. They have lots of great music for multiple instruments. (Though some of the songs you have to pay for.)

A few of my siblings and I played, "I Saw Three Ships." We love playing songs with an Irish flair and this one was perfect. Rachel just stared playing violin not too long ago. This was her first performance.
I am so thankful to God for all of the students He has given me. I have learned so much from each and every one of them.

God Bless!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Piano Recital

Ah, today is here....December 1st. I am having a recital for my piano students tonight and based on what I'm hearing in the'll get you in the Christmas spirit, let's put it that way. :-)

Please pray for all eighteen of the kids playing. I know how the nerves can get to you! And please, if you think of it, pray for me as I think I get nervous for the whole bunch. (plus myself)
I wanted to get away from our "traditional" recital and mix things up a bit, so it could deem to be a rather interesting night.

But, I am excited and I know God will see us through. He always does.
I'll post pictures later.
God Bless,