Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Today at school is the last full day before Christmas Break. Praise the Lord!
Anyway, I always get some nice gifts from my students for Christmas. Today I decided to bring a stack of thank-you cards to school. As I had a moment or two, I wrote a thank-you note for a gift. As of this moment I am proud to say that I have written 17 thank-yous so far, which is 17 thank-yous that I DON'T have to write over Christmas Break.
Don't you think that this will make my break much more relaxed???
I do. :)
Here's to having a break, and to being thankful.
Monday, December 6, 2010
I really am touched by this, not only to see what God can do through a group of High Schoolers, but how much He is asking me "how are you serving others?"
Not to say that I thought High Schoolers are incapable of serving; I never thought this. I just never realized the extent that they would jump on board. I have really enjoyed serving with them (see previous post), and learning in the process.
Our next project is making hygiene kits to give to the Rescue Mission. These will go to homeless people in our community, and hopefully be of help to them.
Our small group just finished a babysitting night, to help out families with kids. We babysat the kids, and gave money to the parents to go out to dinner, or to go Christmas shopping. Even though it was "just babysitting", I had a good time. I think we all did!
Just goes to show that you're never too old to jump in and serve others.
Here's to having a servant's heart.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Here in town, the Springs Rescue Mission does just what it sounds like it does. Member of the association of Gospel Rescue Missions, they help people who need help. This help comes in many forms: evening meals every day that come after a brief church service, donations made available to people who need them just for asking, a New Life men's program for men who commit to the recovery journey, job training for these men, and big free community meals for each holiday. Yesterday was the Great Thanksgiving Dinner. The mission rented out the city auditorium and put on a free Thanksgiving dinner for whoever wanted to eat. People were offered bibles, prayer, but also the most talked about, food. There was a child's area with games, and lots of people to serve.
Here are a couple of my awesome high schoolers that went with me and dished up food:
Here's to being grateful for the blessings in your life. As my pastor said on Sunday, "If there are any blessings in your life, it is because of The Blessor."
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I'm addicted to dairy.
I don't really love milk, and almost NEVER drink it straight, but it's great on cereal and cheese is my FAVORITE thing ever. I would eat cheese over sweets almost anytime. Butter = AMAZING!
You know that commercial from the '80's: "Cheese, glorious cheese!" Well, that's my theme song. I LOVE cheese and could eat it on almost anything.
This speaks greatly to the human condition - always wanting what we can't have, or desiring that which is harmful to us. Dairy is really not great for me, and I would be better off if I went without for the rest of my life. But, I CRAVE it. It is the thing I want most, and whenever I have a craving it most likely involves bacon or cheese. (Let's discuss my cholesterol another day, shall we?)
What is your cheese? What is the thing you want, but avoid because it isn't really good for you, either physically or spiritually?
And going to eat a grilled cheese sandwich.
Friday, October 29, 2010
That last one features Pike's Peak. I've decided to take pictures of Pike's Peak every so often, and here's one I took last Sunday on the way to church - the sun was rising behind me as I took the picture.
Sometimes I'm amazed at the beauty of God's creation. Who are we, that God would create all this beautifulness, just for us?
Here's to getting out and enjoying His creation today.
Friday, October 22, 2010
South Fork of the Arkansas river:
And here's the cabin - from the side:
And standing in the driveway:
What a break! Beautiful mountains, gorgeous color, relaxing...ahhhhhhhhhhh!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
He's the one on the left.
OK, he's not really famous, but he was on the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson this week. I just think this is pretty cool! Uncle Dennis is a drummer, and has been forever. When he was younger he travelled full-time and played for several different bands or singers. Now, he just plays on the weekends around LA where he lives. But, I still think this is cool that he got the chance to play on a nationally televised TV show.
Way to go, Uncle Den!
Friday, September 24, 2010
This is a family picture from a few weeks ago. It's my Mom and her family (dad, sister, brother-in-law, and 2 nephews) and Mom's brother and his family (aunt and 5 cousins).
One of the reasons this is such a cool picture is that Mom and Uncle's parents passed away several years ago. Grandpa Glen passed away in 2002, and Grandma Annie passed away in 2004. We were very close to Gram and Gramps when we were growing up - always had Christmas there, went to their house about one weekend a month, always was there for at least a week in the summer. Even when I was in college, I went to Gram and Gramps house over the summer and stayed with them.
We hung out.
Like we were friends. Which we were. I don't know many people that have as close a relationship with their grandparents, outside of those that were raised by them.
For the past 15 years, we haven't had much contact with Uncle and Aunt and their kids. They had, until recently, lived in a part of Northern CA that wasn't close to any of the family, so there were occasional calls and letters, but not much regular contact.
Recently, Uncle and Aunt and cousins moved near where we live - about an hour away. My mom was excited to get together with them, and have a restored relationship. So, a couple weeks ago, we did. It really was a fun time. I'm so grateful that we can see them on a more regular basis.
Here's to family.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
After that was dessert at my sister's house, and the opening of presents. My adopted sister sent a present from TX, where she is living now, along with presents for the nephews.
It was such a cool night.
I have no desire to go out and "party" tonight, even though it is my actual birthday today. I realized that hanging out with family, enjoying each other, and getting to spend time together is all I need. I feel like I've had a fairly complete birthday.
But when that new dishwasher is installed, I will enjoy it very much!
Monday, September 6, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Last night, as I was driving home, I looked in my rear-view mirror and a hearse was following me. Not the one above, but I couldn't take a picture last night as I was driving and all.
I had the weirdest feeling, because this hearse stayed right with me, all the way until I turned into my driveway. At that point, he kept on going, and I was so relieved that he was going to get someone else.
I just got to thinking that life is kinda like that. Even if we don't think about it all the time, there is a (metaphorical) hearse in our rear-view window. I don't think that death is imminent, or coming to get us at any moment, but shouldn't we live with the end of our life in mind?
When that hearse comes to pick you up, will you have done everything you wanted to do? What will your friends and family say about you? Will you have any regrets? You never know when that hearse will actually show up, and I want to have been happy with my life up to that point.
I'm just sayin'...
Friday, August 27, 2010
Pleas excuse the morbid close-up. I took this with my camera phone, while balancing on one foot. Trying desperately, I might add, to not fall and hit my broken toe.
This week at school, the broken toe has been a huge asset. I usually am standing all day, or singing with my kids while dancing around, but never resting. But, enter the toe.
Because on Monday it was hugely swollen and totally black and blue, our school nurse made me sit and put ice on aforementioned toe. This has been great because I've spent most of the week sitting in front of my class, with my foot elevated on a bar stool.
Besides, my kids think it's cool. They ask every day if it's still purple, and if it still hurts me.
Still a little purple, but doesn't hurt unless I bump it.
Really, the broken toe got me thinking yesterday. I am a klutz, and have had several broken bones in my life. Several casts, splints, braces, and taped up toes. My friend Cathy said last weekend that she has never had a broken bone. I really was stunned at that, just because I have had so many.
But the main gist of my recent thinking is that we are all broken. Eventually my toe will heal, and I won't even feel it anymore. One of my students is in a boot; she will heal up, be out of the boot, and be all fine at some point. But regardless of your broken-bone history, everybody is broken. We all have baggage. We all have hurts in our lives that affect us every day.
Even Cathy of the "never-broken-a-bone" fame.
Our brokenness affects everyday life, jobs, relationships, the way you treat the person ringing up your groceries.
Even though we are all made up of basically the same stuff, our baggage and our brokenness has a great deal to do with how we live our lives.
I am SO grateful that Jesus was broken so I have a way out of brokenness.
I am SO grateful that because He loves me, I can be whole. Regardless of the toe.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Anyway, I was reading a book the other day, and part of the plot involved the main character talking about a scar they had.
This got me to thinking about scars.
Also got me thinking about my scars. And where they came from.
I have a scar on my left pointer-finger, where I was playing "Yan Can Cook" with a meat cleaver cutting carrots. Ended with a scar, but I kept my finger.
I have a strange scar on the inside of my right foot where I was pushed into a sprinkler head. It ripped open my foot and when it "healed", the nerves were still rearranged so I couldn't swim all that summer. The water flowing over that place gave me the willies and I had to get OUT OF THE POOL. NOW!
Those are the major ones, but there are minor ones too, like the last knuckle on the right pointer finger. It is shaped funny because once when I was catching in a softball game, Dana Baldwin was pitching and I had to do a throw-down to second. I was a little nervous about getting that throw-down in time to get the runner out so I ended up with my right hand in the glove a split-second before the ball. It totally crushed my right index finger. It took me a year to grow a "normal" fingernail on that finger, and you can still tell today that my 2 fingernails and last knuckles look different.
I also have a couple tattoos, which I consider scars too. They are part of my life, and I guess if you look at them in the medical sense, they are scars with ink in them.
Here's the deal with my scars:
I would not give up one of them, no matter how small or how major they are. Every scar on my body comes from my life, and I love my life. Every scar or experience has taught me something, and every scar has made me the person I am today.
I don't want to be flawless or without scars, because that would mean I didn't live MY life. Every scar is a memory. Every scar is a reminder of the life I've lived and the experiences I've had.
Here's to claiming all of your scars.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Nothing weird about that - there's an Asian restaurant near my house that makes Chinese and Vietnamese food, and I wanted to try it. It was good, even though I got the same thing I always get. Dialogue in my head, while standing at the counter, looking at the menu:
"I really should try something different."
"Ooooh, that looks good."
"THAT looks really good."
"Maybe I should try the Pho - I've heard that's tasty."
"Well, I can't decide, so I guess I'll get the same thing as always."
It's sad. Really sad.
Anyway, I'm a little off topic.
Last night, after finishing dinner, I opened the fortune cookie. My fortune said..."Practice an attitude of gratitude."
Now I think this is a really weird fortune, but I think it is fabulous advice.
I'm going to take it to heart. I'm not sure how well I will practice an attitude of gratitude next week when I have to go back to school, but I am going to try. I'm going to put this little fortune on my desk as a reminder that I should be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life.
This is one fortune that will have an impact on my life.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I was floored. Anyway, I asked him about the party, and being married 60 years and such things. He told me that usually marriage is arranged much younger than in his case. He was 17 when he got married, and his wife was 16. So I did some quick mental math, and realized that he is 77.
I just got to thinking about his life, and the things he's seen and been through.
I know he was a political prisoner at some point, he speaks pretty good english, and he and his wife have several kids. Like, 6, I think.
I'm still floored by being married for 60 years.
But, we still have lessons. He still wants to learn. I have to teach him, and help him discover how to play the things he wants to play without seeming disrespectful. It's a good learning experience for me. Today he said that he learned a lot, and he wants me to keep going in the same way, so he can keep learning.
I still have so much to learn.
He is inspiring to me.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
This morning, was pretty cool as well: there was a missionary parade, with Alliance missionaries carrying flags from all the countries where the Alliance has workers or a missionary presence.
It just reminds us that in order to bring light to the world, Jesus had to be broken. Such as it is with a glow stick.
So, I haven't even touched on half of the things going on at LIFE, but I think you've got the idea. The most amazing part of this week was that God put a call on several of our kids' lives to go into the ministry. I am SO grateful that they were in a position where God could speak to them, and they listened.
Any time God can grab ahold of a teenager's life and change it for good, I'm all about that.
So, now LIFE is over, and until 2013 in St. Louis, I guess we will have to look back at the pictures and notes on the speakers, and continue to apply all that we've learned.
Thanks for reading, and here's to living out the collision in your life.
Friday, July 16, 2010
wow. wow. wow.
I'm not sure I have words for all that's happened in the past 2 weeks, but here goes. I feel the need to write about it, and get it off my chest. (Really off my brain, but that's for another time!)
To start, I went away for a week to Louisville, KY with the Youth Group for a huge youth conference. That, I will have to tackle in another post, because it's a whole thing unto itself.
Let's start with the good news/bad news, shall we?
First off, I came home from the trip sick. Not really a major deal, but the cold that about 8 of us got on the last day or two of the trip. I rested about 20 hours the day after returning, because I was so tired. All well and good so far. Until the next day...
I work up and KNEW that something was wrong. Called the Dr. and got in that morning. Turns out that the cold had worked its way down into my chest, and I had bronchitis. For me, this is the usual course of action, so I wasn't dismayed. When I went to the Dr., I had a temp of 101.5. No WONDER I was feeling so bad!
I'm on the usual drugs now, and feeling a little better every day.
In this situation, I am so grateful that I didn't get bronchitis while ON the trip because that would have been terrible! I'm grateful that my Dr. understands what's going on, and that there are cheap drugs that will fix me right up. I'm also grateful that I had time to rest and get better.
OK, next situation.
On Tuesday night, my downstairs toilet exploded. This is the 2nd time in 3 months, and it was hellacious to clean up. I shop-vac-ed almost a whole canister of "water" off the floor before it was all over, and then had to clean up after all of it. I called Roto-Rooter and they couldn't come until morning, so the next morning I had the Roto-Rooter guy at my house bright and early. He listened to me, and immediately called the HOA to tell them that the main sewer line needed to be cleaned out.
So, the sewer clean-up was not the greatest experience, and at one point during I was dripping sweat, and crying because I didn't feel good (bronchitis, remember?) and didn't want to be doing THIS! But I pulled up my big-girl panties and did it. Gave me a sense of accomplishment, actually.
For this I am SO grateful for a couple things:
First, that it didn't happen while I was out of town. Blllleeeeeeech. I cannot even imagine that sitting on my floor for days.
Second, that the Roto-Rooter guy didn't even fiddle with my toilet, because he KNEW that the problem was in the main line. This is a blessing because the HOA won't randomly fix things unless they KNOW that it is not anywhere inside one of the units. If I called and talked to them about this, it went nowhere. But when the Roto-Rooter guy called them directly...well, he's my new favorite person.
I'm also grateful that I didn't have to pay for any of this huge repair and be reimbursed - since he called first, the HOA just took care of it totally.
Yes, it was an inconvenience to not use water at all during the day while it was being fixed, but when I step back and look at the whole picture, everything really did turn out good in the end.
I'm taking a cue from my friend Beth over at Like a Day Off, and looking at all things with JOY.
Next, the skinny on LIFE, and all the LIVES it changed.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
But today I am thankful for other birds - the 10 or so outside my window this morning. I'm sitting here writing, and talking to people on facebook, and those birds are singing away! Happy, and letting everyone within a mile know it. They are singing back and forth - one will sing some, then another will sing something back, then a third one will chime in. Being a singer, I know how this feels! If I understood what they are saying, I'd go out and join in!
Alas, I don't speak bird. Nonetheless, I love sitting here listening to them. The joy. The (bird) stories. The happy flapping as they move from tree to tree.
Makes me joyful just listening to them.
Here's to the birds!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
But until that point, I am going to be happy. I am going to see the best. I am going to look for the positive in each situation. Negative Nelly no more!
Seriously, I'm not really a negative person. I just think it's been a hard couple of weeks. But that's a moot point, because from now on I'm the happiest person of all. So happy that it hurts to be around me. So happy that you can tell outside my house how happy I am. :) See?
I just have to take a moment and say that "moot point" reminds me of the episode of Friends where Joey says "it's a moo point. Like a cows opinion - it's moo." Makes me laugh every time I think about that. "It's all moo."
OK, I'm not being happy to be annoying, though I DO think it could deteriorate into that. I'm am CHOOSING to be happy, because I really do believe that your outlook on life colors the way you live. I believe that if you choose to see the best in things that you will be a much happier person. And, conversely, if you always see the negative in things, you are destined to live out your life being miserable.
I do not want to be miserable, so I choose happiness. I choose a positive outlook. I choose to :)
Sunday, June 13, 2010
In contrast, there are people who will be there when you need them, like to clean out a gutter perhaps. Today my Dad came over with a ladder and helped me clean out the gutter over my garage. It was fully clogged with pine needles and gunky leaves, and I'm sure there was some mold and other nastiness up there. Anyway, we got it all out, and then ran some water through to make sure that it drained - all good!
Yesterday, my Dad went over to a different person's house and helped with house stuff, like installing a screen door and grouting a tub.
I know that I can always count on my Dad, and not just 'cause he's my Dad. I believe that I could count on him even if we weren't related - he's just that kind of person.
It's hurtful to me when I am kind to someone, and they are not kind to me - It's just human nature, I know, but it's the kind that is personally painful to me.
Now please don't misunderstand: I am not always kind to people. I'm human too, of course. I know that people are broken, not perfect, and prone to take that out on each other. Not only do I know that but I sometimes do it to others as well. I'm not perfect, but that doesn't make it any less painful when someone is hurtful to me.
This has just underscored to me that only God is truly faithful to me. He wants the best for me, He provides for me (even if it is through Dad cleaning out the gutter!), He always is there for me and loves me no matter what, even when I am not so lovable. And often I am not so lovable. But even (especially) in those times, God is faithful. Even when I am unfaithful.
So now I cling to the fact that I am loved by God, and regardless of the hurts I experience in this life, both now and those to come, He loves me. He wants the best for me.
I am very grateful for the family that God has given me, but I am infinitely more grateful that He loves me.
Friday, June 4, 2010
And I must admit that it is pretty sweet - no real schedule to speak of, lots of freedom, sleeping in, reading ALL DAY, and other summer-type stuff. Good times.
But, for the past 7 days, I must have asked 3 or 4 times a day, "What day is it?"
3 OR 4 TIMES A DAY!
How is it that once I don't have my insane school schedule, my brain can't keep track of what day it is? I feel like such a dolt to ask (again) "what day is it?"
One of these days my goal is to be able to keep track of stuff like that. But for now, I'm going to read some more.
Friday, May 28, 2010
But seriously, the chair is hurting me. It's cutting into the back of my thighs, roughly around where my hamstrings are located. I've been sitting here too long.
But it got me to thinking -- sometimes I sit there too long. I think there are times in life where what we really need is to get up and go somewhere. To head off in a direction. Any direction. And yet we sit.
I know I'm guilty of sitting when I should be doing something else, or working toward a goal somewhere that's NOT right here next to my chair.
Is there somewhere you should be headed??
Monday, May 17, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This week I was disgusted with my house, and how unorganized and unclean it has gotten. Now, if you came over, I don't know if it would leap out at you, but I see it. And I hate it. To be fair, I had a huge trip a week ago, and a 3 hour rehearsal this past Monday night, and a concert Tuesday night, blah, blah, blah. So I don't think I've been shirking my house-ly duties, but in any case, I still hate it.
So, this week I was walking around the house and literally thought, "What would Rachel do?"
And I applied some minimum maintenance to my house. I worked for 15 minutes, and it totally made me feel better. I got some cleaning and straightening done, and was able to have a nice evening without feeling guilty. Plus, there's some kitchen table I couldn't see before and now I can. And my upstairs bathroom got some love too - a clean toilet makes a huge difference!
Anyway, I appreciate her. I appreciate that she give me a place to start when I feel overwhelmed. And that gives me the motivation to dive in this Saturday and really get down to business.
Thanks Rachel Anne!
Friday, May 7, 2010
This past weekend I took my 5-year-old nephew on a trip. I used to live in GA, and his Mimi and Grandpa still live there, so we went to visit. It was a good trip in all - he's been on a plane several times so the "trip" part was fairly easy. I just made sure that we had plenty of time for everything we had to do, and that meant there was never any "c'mon, we've got to go! we're gonna miss the plane!" I think that would have been a disaster.
Anyway, we made it out there and I thought that he was going to burst before we actually arrived. He was wiggly, and excited, and couldn't sit still on the plane at all. But in his defense, it was pretty exciting! I got to take off school for 2 days in order to go, so I was excited too (but for different reasons! It totally felt like playing hooky...)
After getting him settled at Mimi and Grandpa's, I drove an hour to where I used to live. I lived there for 10 years, and I've only lived here for 6, so I still felt a little like I was going "home".
I was totally mistaken.
I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was not at all what I got.
I think the problem was that I didn't think about what I was expecting, or what I wanted to get out of the whole deal.
I'm still the same person, right?
I'm still friends with all my friends, right?
Everything's still the same, right?
On the whole, it was a nice visit. I got to see some good friends that I made at work. I went to my old church, and got to talk to my pastor. He's going through some things that my family went through in the past few years, so I was able to just let him know that there is an end in sight.
I got to visit with who I would consider my "best" friend from the whole time I lived there - we worked together for 7 years, and even went on a cross-country vacation together. Over iced coffee (it was HOT there! OK, not so hot, but wicked humid) we just sat and talked for a couple hours, while quietly sweating. Saw pictures of each other's family, and how the nephews are getting bigger. And we met for dinner the next evening over amazing Cuban food and sweet tea.
But there was nothing there. Not that I was expecting a relationship, but we've both moved on, and I suddenly realized that, standing in the parking lot of a restaurant in 5 points.
I've moved on.
I'm not sure I was ready to move on.
But this is life. And life goes on.
Ultimately that is a good thing, but when it slaps you across the face it has a tendency to wake a person up. I feel like my life there is over, and I wasn't quite ready for that.
So, here's to finding my new life here from now on.
No looking back.
No wistful glances over my shoulder.
No teary trips through the photo albums. (Yes, I have photo albums!)
Here's to keeping your eyes on the road ahead.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Mom and Dad are building a house up in the mountains, and it's pretty cool. They have a nice view of some pretty peaks, and it is in a beautiful wooded area, but still close to civilization. I went up a couple weeks ago, and it's getting close to being done. The inside was painted, but there still needs to be bath fixtures, cabinets, floors, and lots of other things installed. But, their builder says the outside is done and it looks great.
Here's a view from one of the upstairs windows:
So, installing the wood floors is a pretty big job, but if we all gather up and do it ourselves it will save them tons of money, so that's what we are going to do. On Mother's Day weekend.
I know, it seems like a weird day to do wood floors, but that's the only weekend that would work for everyone. So our Mother's Day will be gathered around in an unfinished house, on un-installed floors, with a faint odor of floor sealant.
But we will be together.
That's the cool thing to me in all this - that we will be working in an unfinished house, in a not-really-ideal Mother's Day setting, but we will all be together. OK we are going out to lunch, so it won't be a picnic in the unfinished living room, but we will still be together.
That's why I up and moved across the country, so I could be near family. I'm so grateful that I get to be a part of my family again, and that I get to do things like a Mother's Day in an unfinished house.
Love you Mom.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Now, I'm starting to think that the weather is affecting me. Today it is snowing to beat the band, crazy wet and slushy outside, and I feel totally ...blaeech. I can't think what it would be except the slush outside.
But I definitely think that your life is what you make it, so I think I will get up and do some cleaning, light some candles, and change things around some. I'm hoping that change breeds change and that will change my mood.
Besides, I need to apply some "a place for everything and everything in it's place" here in my house. I've just laid stuff down too much lately and it's driving me crazy. Maybe that little exercise will help too.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
105: number of ugly black dresses on stage, all worn by the chorale, incidentally
64: number of orchestra members
6: number of locomotive bells that were rung from THE LOADING DOCK for the Coronation Scene. Not on the stage, not backstage, but from the loading dock. Those suckers are SO loud!
1: number of batons Don waved around
8: number of solos sung, all by Chorale members, and they knocked it out of the park!
2: number of parents that came. OK, just the parents related to me!
Thanks for coming, Mom and Dad!
un-numbered: the goosebumps I got during the last song, the closing song from Carmina Burana
900: people that stood for the first song, the Hallelujah chorus
between 10 and 20: number of mistakes I think I made. I know I made several. Fortunately, I am COOL and covered it up well.
I think that's a good recap - it was SO much fun. I really enjoyed MOST of the music, and felt really good about the performance. Wish you were there!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
It's performance week.
No, I'm not on Dancing With the Stars. My choir has a performance this week, and that means that my whole week from now on is taken up with rehearsals and performances. Performance is on Saturday, so this gives me:
Wednesday - 3 hour rehearsal
Thursday - 3 hour rehearsal
Friday - 3 hour rehearsal
And last but not least, the big show on Saturday. 100 member chorale, 65 member orchestra, 2 hours of music, 6 soloists, one VERY ugly black dress (x100), and my special little book light that I clip onto my music folder so I can see my music while standing on the front-lit stage.
I know, I'm a music geek.
You'd think that after all this rigmarole all week that I'd be sick of this music, these people, and especially the VERY ugly black dress. But...
Actually, deep down, I like it. The 3 days of rehearsals is a little annoying, but all in all it is fun. I really do enjoy it! I think that the rewards of singing are so much meaningful for the performer than for the audience. I appreciate the audience, but I sing for me. The discipline, the being part of a group that is doing something so much bigger than just me, the camaraderie, and the amazing feeling I get when it's all over.
Totally worth it.
See you on Saturday!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The literal translation of the word requiem is "rest". I know this because I sing. The Chorale is doing the Sanctus from Verdi's Requiem, and it is beautiful. I really enjoy singing this piece, and it is a little respite from some of the other pieces that I don't enjoy so much. Each week when we get to practice this beautiful piece of music, it is like a little oasis of calm and tranquility in a sea of otherwise agitated musical pieces.
Today is a snow day. I was thinking about this as I dragged myself out of bed at 7:30am this morning. What a wonderful opportunity for rest. For tranquility. For recharging. This phenomenon of the snow day is such an amazing thing. When I get that call in the morning, it always strikes me a a present. Now I know that the district leadership does not consider me, personally, when they decide to call off school for the day, but it still is a gift. The sleeping in, the lazy getting ready, the lazing around the house in PJs.
I'm so grateful.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
One of the songs that 2nd grade is singing is "You Raise Me Up". Josh Groban didn't write this song, but he sang it and really made it "famous", if you could call it that. He made it well-known. Maybe that's a better way to say it.
Anyway, I pulled up a you tube clip of Josh Groban singing this song, so my 2nd graders could watch him sing it, in his amazing voice. We all crowded around my computer and watched this performance.
About halfway through the 4 minute clip, I heard a very slight snicker. Not really laughter, per se, but just someone who saw something and made a very small snorting sound...
So I turned around.
There, in the back of the room, totally engrossed in what they were doing, were about five 2nd grade boys. The only description I can apply to what they were doing is "interpretive dance". They were whirling around, arms overhead, making very large swooshing gestures in time to the music. Then one of them leaped over toward another one and grabbed him in a hug. Then more arm waving and swooshing gestures in time to the music.
I just watched them for a half a minute, then snickered myself. It was pretty cute to see them dancing and making up these "ballet-type" moves to this song. Once they were discovered, it all went downhill from there because they totally hammed-it-up for the attention.
But that first sight of their interpretive dancing to "You Raise Me Up" was priceless.
Just a little insight into how much fun I get to have in my "job". :)
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
This Sunday is Easter, and our High Schoolers are going to get up early and be there to watch the sunrise. I think this is so cool, and it always makes me reflect on how the sun is the same now as it was 2000 years ago when Jesus was crucified. More importantly, it's the same sun that comes up each day as the one that rose on the day HE rose from the dead.
I'm so grateful for the Son who rose, and the sun that reminds me of this every Easter.
Friday, March 26, 2010
In December I got pneumonia. 2nd time in 2 years. Now I have bronchitis, and had to go to the Dr. today and get on meds again. Not even 3 months later, and I can't get my lungs to work right.
What is it going to take? Can I get a lung transplant?
OK, rant over. My friend Bill just got out of the hospital yesterday, and had a really tough go of it. He had surgery to take out a "carcinoid", then when they took out the epidural he threw up for several days and coudn't keep any food down.
He's home now, and doing better, so I guess I don't have that much to complain about. I choose to be thanful that my lungs are working at all, thankful that I don't have to be on oxygen all the time, thankful that there are cheap, easy-to-take meds that will fix my issues.
Glad you're home Bill.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
A couple weeks ago I found out that a friend of mine has been lying to me about a bunch of things. Not just 1 thing - a bunch. Several.
This has given me heartburn for over a week, because even though I'm a pretty upfront person, I really don't like confrontation. Who does? But I'd rather just walk away and not deal with them or the situation ever again as a perfectly viable alternative to confronting someone.
I finally decided that I had to say something. So last week we went to dinner. I decided to wait about 10 minutes into dinner before bringing it up, 'cause I was hungry and didn't want to have to sit there and eat after calling him a liar.
Anyway, I asked if he planned on ever telling me that he lied, and after he denied the first lie (of the 6 I mentioned), he just got really quiet and didn't say much at all. The crazy thing about these lies is that NOT ONE of them would have made any difference if he'd just have told the truth. AND, he really hurt me because he made me look like a FOOL in front of several people, because I repeated something he had said and they just got a real funny look on their face and said that it wasn't true.
Well, shame on me, I should have figured it out sooner.
The answer to this accusation was, basically, "I don't know why I do that. I've always had a problem making myself seem better than I am. It's a flaw in my personality and I don't know why."
I guess kudos to him for actually admitting it, and not trying to make me look like a liar on top of the whole mess. The moral of the story (listen up kiddies) is that lying is bad. Don't do it. It hurts people, and makes you look like a fool when people find out.
Also, pride is not worth ruining a good friendship. Good friends are hard to find, and now a little bit harder for him.
Here's to truth in friendship.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Anyway, I am now a dog person. Or rather, I am a dog's person for the next week. The old dog, Clifford, is totally used to me, and it's no big deal that I'm his person for awhile. The new dog, Dolly, is young and a little confused why I am her person and not the other people.
We are getting along fine, though. There's only been one "pooping incident" so far, and everyone seems pretty happy. (Except the cats, who I think wish the dogs would leave.)
It's nice to belong to someone. It's especially nice when they get all excited when you come home.
Here's to being someone's person.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
The singing, of course, was amazing. The sets were good, but the costumes were great. I think the people that put this show together did a wonderful job. the most amazing costume was Papageno's - he looked like a big peacock. Can't get much more "birdy" than that...
The high school girls that played the 3 spirits were great, and I LOVED when they first came out...on ROLLER SKATES! It was fantastic.
I know some people think that opera is old fashioned, or not "new", but I would highly recommend going to see an opera. It's something everyone should experience, and the stories have lasted so long because they are timeless.
Besides, the work that goes into singing these roles is unbelievable. You will never hear singing like this anywhere else.
Seriously - get yourself to an opera!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Not space in my house - I love my house. Well, it's a condo, but it is perfect for me.
No, I mean brain space. I think I need some more space to think, to plan, to be prepared. I had a nice talk with my boss today. Last year we changed the schedule at my school, and now I have 4 pretty hellacious days, and not much on Friday. This is great when it actually happens, but for the past 2 weeks we have had either to teach on Friday, or meetings that were required. I understand that this will happen sometimes, but it's really taking a toll.
I didn't realize how much until one of my parents asked me how I was today, and my answer was that I was tired. I wasn't sure where this came from, especially considering that I got 9 hours of sleep last night. But I am thinking that I'm metaphysically tired. I don't have enough "rest" in my life.
One consequence of this is that my desk at work looks like a Kinko's exploded on it. Another is that I don't have time to plan creative lessons, and just rely on the same thing I've always done.
I hate this.
Don't hear me wrong - I love my job. The past few days have been the funnest I've had in a long time. I enjoy great relationships with my students, and as a result we have fun in class, even when we are not "doing" fun.
This morning I got the song 6th grade is doing stuck in my head for most of the morning. They caught me singing it as I was walking down the hall, and started singing it to me, really loud! It was funny.
But I don't enjoy fighting the organization, the planning, the work of doing work.
I'm ready for Spring Break.
I'm off to play some electronic Yahtzee. Maybe that will let my brain turn off for awhile.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I miss the kitty loving, like when they'd come and sit in my lap.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
So. Great day, great food, great company, and a good time was had by all.
After eating, we headed out toward the car, and the girls all stopped by the Ladies. We were talking and laughing about one time when I wasn't paying attention and tried to wash my hands but dispensed a big glob of lotion instead of soap. All of a sudden we heard a big crash. It sounded like someone's head hitting porcelain. Really hard.
Mom was the only one left in the restroom, and it sounded bad. All three of us gasped.
Kerri: "Oh my gosh! (pause) Mom, are you OK?"
Kerri, moving closer to the restroom: "Do I need to come in there?"
Silence. Then, very faint sound that might be laughter.
Then gradually getting louder, Mom laughing.
When she came out of the restroom, laughing, I might add, she pointed at the commode to show us the chip that was taken out of the tank lid. Presumably this happened in the crash, but she was laughing, and couldn't say anything. At this point the other three of us realized that mom was OK, and started laughing as well. When she could breathe again, mom said that she had put her purse on the back of the commode, and when she picked it up the strap caught on the lid and picked it up , only to drop it on the tile floor.
We composed ourselves, and went out into the lobby, where Dad and brother-in-law immediately asked what had happened. Evidently they heard the crash, and then my subsequent "Oh my gosh!" and couldn't figure out what could have caused this in the restroom of The Broadmoor.
Maybe this is why we don't go to fancy places very often...
Anyway, here is a picture of me and mom holding tissues. We were holding tissues because we were laughing so hard that we had tears. Even several minutes later.
So I guess that I want to say that I am very grateful for Mom and Dad. I'm especially grateful that Mom didn't get hurt on this auspicious occasion.
And I'm glad we don't go to The Broadmoor very often, because the plumbing bills would begin to add up after awhile.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Really, this is a good thing.
Usually, on a day to day basis, I am a loner. No, not in the social sense (I can HEAR my dad laughing). But in my school, every day, there is no one who truly understands what I do. I am the only one of me. This is opposed to the High School music department, where there is a High School Choir director, 2 Junior High Choir directors, as well as 3 people in the band department.
The same is true for other teachers at my school, like the art teacher. She is the only one of her, and there's no one else there who knows what she is doing on a day-to-day basis.
Usually this is not a big deal, and I don't think about it much. But today, in a room full of hundereds of people who do the exact same thing I do, and understand exactly what I'm talking about when I say I'm going to the Kodaly session, it was nice.
The Kodaly session today was on a new kind of curriculum, based on Kodaly, but much of the presentation was on why this Kodaly method is better than the traditional Hungarian version of Kodaly's teachings. It was a LOT to take in in an hour. Kind of like trying to drink out of a firehose.
We also went to a reading session. This means we sang through about 20 pieces of music in an hour. Fun singing, not as much fun to evaluate each piece as we went through them. I did enjoy singing different parts, though. I'd switch parts in the middle of the song, just to get a wierd look from Becky. She was singing the other part next to me. Tee hee... :)
OK, that's music geek humor right there. Musical jokes. Intentionally not resolving the suspension at the end of a song. She hit me for that one.
Music geek statement of the day: "You know you're a music geek when you categorize people by their voice part."
Anyway, it was fun. To be among my own kind. To be able to burst out in song and not have anyone bat an eye.
I'm back tomorrow, for more singing, more learning, more musical jokes.
I'm going to go to the "Harmonicas in the Classroom" session. That seems like a musical joke in itself...
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Ah, I love him. :)
Friday, January 22, 2010
When I used to live across the country, I had a roommate at one point. His name is Micah. We lived together for about 2 years, and aside from his inability to get his dirty dishes into the dishwasher, he really was a good roommate. Good person, nice to be around, and we got along well. Micah is a cyclist, and since I've known him has worked for either a professional cycling team, or a cycling events promoter. Several times I worked bicycle races with him and had a really good time even though I am the farthest from a cyclist than anybody.
A couple months ago, I was at a college football game watching party, and everyone was introducing each other. Sam said he worked at USA Cycling. Since Micah is into cycling, I asked if he knew Micah through his cycling connections. And Sam said..."Yeah. He's moving here next month." I was floored.
Long story short, we tried to meet up for awhile, but tonight he and his family came over. I got to meet his wife, and his 4 year-old daughter. We had a great time talking, catching up, and playing CandyLand (for the 4 year-old).
It was such fun to catch up with someone I knew 12 years ago, and to just spend time talking. I never thought that it would be so nice to gain a friend that I hadn't talked to in 12 years, but it was great. I guess we were really friends, and not just roommates.
And I won a game of CandyLand. :)
Monday, January 18, 2010
The High School group at church went on a winter retreat this weekend: High Altitude. It was GREAT!
We played: in the pool, dodge ball in the gym, card games, relay races, tubing run, and we duct taped several people to the wall. It was fun!
We ate: food was good at the camp, and one of our moms sent a TON of great snacks. We ate all weekend. The group that eats together, stays together...?
We worshiped: Jeff came up and led us in several great times of worship. It was perfect, to be able to sing and worship all together as a group.
We fellowshiped: several of us just sat around and made bracelets and talked.
We talked: our topic was Grow; Connect; Serve. Our new pastor come up and did our talks on Saturday. He talked about how important it is in you spiritual life to Grow - to be continually in the scriptures. To have a plan to do this, and to be faithful in it, otherwise your faith will founder. He talked about how important it is to connect with other believers - to have people you know and that know you. People that will support you, as well as call you on stuff. People to live life with and alongside. To have a plan to do this, otherwise your spiritual life will wither. He talked about how important it is to serve - to find people outside your usual circle of influence, find out what their needs are and meet them. Because in serving others, you have relationship. It was really good. Then, on Sunday, we all talked in a big group about how we can do this in real life after retreat is over.
We celebrated: my friend got a personal relationship with God this weekend. That was the MOST exciting part of the weekend. I'm super glad she came and that she opened her heart up to Jesus.
We loved: my friend Beth was there, and we got to spend time together and grow our friendship. I REALLY enjoy spending time with her.
We didn't sleep so much, but that's what tonight is for!
On the way to a nap,
Thursday, January 7, 2010
But if you are drawn to a well made bag with beautiful fabric and great organization, the go check out my friend Karen. She makes custom bags, and they are fantastic. I personally own 5, and gave my sister one for her last birthday. Karen does beautiful work, and has an eye for what will just "work" in a bag. She makes purse-bags, messenger-bags (both for boys and girls), knitting-in-public-bags, coin-purse-bags, wallet-on-a-string-bags, and many more.
She's having a giveaway right now to celebrate 15 years of being in business, so head on over to
and see what she's got going on.
I may have to see about ordering another bag...
Monday, January 4, 2010
Even though it technically is a new number I write on my checks, I don't FEEL like anything is new.
This week I was thinking about newness, and longing for the real beginning: Fall. Even though I'm not Jewish, I am totally down with the idea of Jewish new year. In Fall, there is a delicious change of seasons. In Fall, the school year is new and laid out in front of me like a blanket full of possibilities. In Fall, it's my birthday. Fall is the best part of the baseball season.
I've been on the Fall=new year schedule for my entire life: first in elementary and high school, then college and grad school, then teaching school. I think at this point that the new year is wired into my being as starting in the Fall.
As much as I love the tantalizing possibilities of the NEW YEAR, I think I will still celebrate in the fall. Maybe from now on I will do New Year's resolutions on my birthday. A new year, a new age, a new resolution to start fresh.
Happy New (middle of the) Year!