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Friday, November 23, 2012

My thankfulness list

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I've decided to give you guys a list of some of the things I'm thankful for!  Some may seem cliche, some may seem silly or hokey, and some may see obvious, but I am truly thankful for everything on this list!!  They probably won't have any fluidity or sense to them in the order I write them...but I don't particularly care how random they get!

1. I am thankful that I am breathing
2. I am thankful for running water
3. I am thankful for the freedom of speech, assembly, religion, etc. that we still have in this country!
4. I am thankful that I made it to 18 years of age!!!
5. I am thankful for my parents!
6. I am thankful for my siblings and their spouses and kids
7. I am thankful for the rest of my family, all my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.
8. I am thankful for Christmas music!  (my happy songs!)
9. I am thankful for being able to sing
10. I am thankful for fingers to be able to play the violin and type and write!
11. I am thankful for colors
12. I am thankful for laughter
13. I am thankful for my eyes so I can see the beauty around me, my family, music, and the books I love so much
14. I am thankful for my ears so I can hear the sounds of the earth, the voices of those I love, and the music that I play
15. I am thankful for my violin (my baby!!!)
16. I am thankful for my nose so I can smell the amazing food that we get at Thanksgiving!
17. I am thankful for foooood!
18. I am thankful for my pillow
19. I am thankful for my dorm room at school and bedroom at home
20. I am thankful for my school
21. I am thankful for my violin professor who has challenged me so much in one semester!
22. I am thankful for my previous violin teachers who have invested their lives into me
23. I am thankful for technology so I can communicate with friends and family
24. I am thankful for feelings, so I can feel love and anger and happiness and even sadness
25. I am thankful for socks and shoes to keep my feet warm on chilly days
26. I am thankful for fruit which refreshes me
27. I am thankful for animals, but mostly for our pets, Chobo, Goldie, Daisy, Apache, and KC
28. I am thankful for Skype!!!!!!!  oh man am I thankful for Skype!
29. I am thankful for my roommate who has been a friend to me throughout this first semester of college
30. I am thankful for Jesus's sacrifice of His own Life to give me a purpose to living

What are some things you are thankful for??

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Get rid of them shakes!

This is it, the moment I've been dreading...or one of the moments I've been dreading: playing violin in studio class.  The only moments that beat it are playing violin in a department recital and playing my "final", in front of a jury.

This is the moment that I doubt my major.

I absolutely hate performing in front of people.  Practicing in front of people, I'm okay with.  The expectations are different.  Lesson time, I'm okay with.  The expectations are different.  Practicing with an accompanist, I'm okay with.  The expectations are different.

But not performing.

The expectations are high...so high that they go over the rainbow and out of our orbit.  They know I'm performing.  They know that I have been working hard on this.

And they are impatiently waiting for me to blow them away with my results.

Maybe I'm blowing this out of proportion...but I know that this is how I am when I'm getting ready to hear someone perform.  I expect them to be amazing!  You don't get up and perform something you don't know, you get up and perform something you've been working hard on for weeks, or even months!

If I can trick myself into thinking that studio class is a lesson, hopefully I can get through it without shaking.  (My bow shakes very, very obviously when I'm nervous.)

I know I need to get over this...I'm a violin performance major for heaven's sake............but I can't just "get over it".  I can't...it doesn't work like that.

I don't work like that.

Go ahead, laugh at me.  I know you want to, if you're not already.  The violin performance major is scared out of her pants to play in front of people.  So?  What's the problem with that?  I'm not in this major to perform, I'm in the major to be the best that I can be so that when I go to Africa, where they will see me as the best (and the only) violinist they (most likely) know, I want to give them a proper taste of violin.  I want their view of violinists to be accurate.

I'm in this major to learn about techniques with every instrument I can, how to be a better musician, so that I can teach the Ugandans.

I'm not here to be the next Joshua Bell.

But I still have to stop shaking, because performing isn't going to leave until I leave the school and can say no without thinking about my grade.  But who knows!  Maybe by then I'll be okay with it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The truth about practicing


This quote is so freeing to me!  Every musician, artist, dancer, horseback rider, etc has been told that they must "practice practice practice!"  There are several jokes made about that:  "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice practice!"

But sometimes this gets old and annoying, even if it's true.  There are some days when being told to "just practice some more and you'll get it" is not what you want to hear.  But one thing that I've been told for years is this: "Practice it until you get it right.  Once you've got it right it will be near impossible to get wrong again."  Okay, so maybe this is true.  But you can get stuck in the mindset of practicing until it's right just for that purpose, to get it right.  It's like a friend of mine said tonight, "It's like doing an assignment just for the purpose of doing the assignment."  Nothing else.  Nothing else...

Then what's the point?  That seems rather lame if you ask me...kinda meaningless and BLAH!  -_- I don't want to get it right just for the purpose of getting it right...I want to get it right to never get it wrong again!  To learn, to know what not to do anymore.

That's why saying "Practice until you can't get it wrong" is so much more meaningful to me.  It's actually a challenge!  There actually feels like there's a goal at the end with obstacles to overcome.

There actually feels like there's a point.

That's what we humans need; a point.  We always need to know what's the point in pretty much everything we do in life.  The point.  The point is to practice so that we can't get it wrong.

This applies to the Christian life as well, not just practicing an instrument or a dance.  We are sinful creatures, matted and hideous with our sin.  But by Christ's blood and love He redeemed us, and put us back on our feet on the Solid Rock that He is.  But we still have sinful desires, and sometimes, try as we might, we can't control them and keep messing up.  But we shouldn't decide that we're going to keep on trying until we do it right.  We'll keep messing up and when we can't succeed, we're more apt to become depressed.  But if we go at it with the mindset of, "I'm going to keep trying until I can't get it wrong," then each "failure" won't seem so much like a failure.

So this is my challenge to you: find something in your life that you keep practicing and practicing and attempting to improve and apply this mindset to it:  Don't practice until you get it right.  Practice until you can't get it wrong.  See how you life will be changed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Christ's image

"You have been created in Christ's image."  Kinda cliche, isn't it?  Something we hear alllllll the time in Sunday School.  It's a way of confirming our identity.  Genesis 1:26,27 is where this first comes up.  "Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'  So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."  From the beginning of the human existence, we have been the image of God.

But what does this really mean?

This doesn't just have a literal meaning, but a spiritual meaning.  We are commanded to “be holy as [Jesus] is holy.”  (1 Peter 1:16)  Jesus is a holy and perfect God.  We are sinful humans.  However, we are not to match Christ's holiness by becoming gods, as we are merely the image of Christ, but rather we are to reflect him in every aspect of our lives.  Let me say that again, we are to reflect Christ in every aspect of our lives.

When you look at a photo of say, a dog, it's wrong to say that it is a dog, as it is not a real, physical dog.  It is only a picture of a dog, because cannot be the dog.  It's just an inanimate object.  In reality, it is the same with us and Christ.  Christ is the creator, the original, the real deal, and we are simply images of Him, inanimate without Him, the creation, so we cannot be Him.  But with being an image Christ, we have all the same characteristics of Christ in us--love, joy, peace, and all that--however not to the same degree as He did.  Saying that we’re created in the image of Christ is daunting and a heavy burden on our shoulders; something hard to live up to.  But it is our purpose, and we cannot deny our Creator what he destined us for.

Being created in the image of God, commanded to be holy as Christ is holy...this is some pretty hefty stuff!  I mean, seriously, this is scary hard to do!  I know I've already explained this a few times, but we shouldn't forget how this command is not an easy one to follow.  It's not meant to be easy.  We were not promised an easy life, but an amazing reward of eternal life.

So let me ask you this, how are you going to react to being made in the image of Christ, the GOD who CREATED you?  What does "being holy as Christ is holy" mean in your life?  What are aspects of your life that you need to improve so that they reflect Jesus?  Don't be afraid of how people will react to seeing your character change, because they will react.  Don't be afraid of failing, because we can't be perfect, but we can be obedient.  We are Christ's creation, children of the Most High God.

We are called to reflect Christ.  We are made in Christ's image.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election

It's official...we are still an Obamination.  At first I was in a state of denial, making plans with my friends to leave the country and go to Ireland or Uganda...somewhere were he isn't.   But then I sat and thought about it.  Running away from the problem won't change a thing.  And then a friend of mine made a wise comment (but don't tell him I said this, it'll boost his ego to the rooftops of the Empire State Building!): he said that it doesn't matter who's in office because true change isn't going to come from them, but from the winning of each soul for Christ Jesus our Lord and His Kingdom.

I know a lot of you are disturbed and angry and upset, or other strong words that I won't mention, but that's not going to change anything.  Anger isn't really helpful, unless it's holy anger like Jesus had when the temple was turned into a "robber's den".  But neither is simply accepting the election results as they are.  We need to be prayerful about this; we need to seek FIRST the kingdom of God BEFORE we attempt any change for our country.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be the one to unconsciously attack God's plan.

Some of you may ask, "how is this God's plan?"  Well, we're told in the Bible that we are to respect our authority because they have been placed in that position by God.  So, that means Obama is placed as our president by the Lord God Almighty.  Doesn't make sense, I know, but God's got some pretty epic tricks up His sleeve I'm sure.  :P

Just keep your focus on the Word of the Lord and your eye on the sky, because I believe the end days are nigh.  Follow the Lord and respect your authority, even and especially when you don't want to.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

LEGAL!!

So, I'm a legal adult!  WOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!  *cheers* *blows party noise maker thingy* *dances around*  I can finally sign for myself!  (I've been waiting on this for sooooooo looooong!!)  And I got to vote...that was pretty big and confusing, as I don't usually pay attention to politics.  But I did it!  After all, I have the freedom to vote!  One of my biggest pet peeves is when people don't use the freedom that they have but the general world population doesn't have, or at least to the same extent as we do.

Yes, I know this blog post is about four days late, but I've been super busy!!  Been working/procrastinating on a big research paper for English, practicing my violin, and making my four year plan for college!  Lots of good stuff happening though!  :)

I was hoping I could update more after this research paper, but no...I have at least two other big papers that will be due in mid-November, so you may not see anything for a while...but that doesn't mean we can't have fun now!

I've started listening to Christmas music already.  :)  I'm a sucker for Christmas music...it makes me happy!!!  I've discovered Dave Barnes' Christmas album and it's amazing!  Some classic Christmas songs, such as "The Christmas Song" and some original/more obscure ones.  Christmas music makes me happy and dance around (if not literally, then in my head!)

Well, I suppose I should get back to work on this essay! ;)

LOVE TO YOU ALLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!