Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas

May each of us find time in the midst of the busyness of the day to ponder the reality of our Savior's birth!


Merry Christmas!!







Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why Fall is My Favorite Season...


~Rain!

~The scent of woodsmoke in the air
~Bundling up for a walk

~Rustling through the leaves

~Sitting by the fireplace drying off after a wonderfully wet walk

~Baking bread

~Looking out my window at the vibrant leaves

~Watching the seasons change
~Rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord that spreads such beauty throughout the world!


Happy Fall Everyone!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thunderstorm!!

I love thunderstorms! They’re probably my favorite part of fall. That’s why I was so excited this morning when my attention was turned away from doing dishes by the distant rumbling of thunder. Our house is great for storm watching, but with all the trees around, lightning is harder to spot than at my old house, where I could stand at my upstairs window and see above the trees. I watched as the storm grew closer and closer, the rumbling louder and louder, until it seemed it had passed.

Then the rain started. This wasn’t ordinary drizzly fall rain, this was RAIN. It poured from the sky like a waterfall, and from the sound of it, I thought it must have been hail. When I put my hand out to see, it was just very large raindrops falling very fast.

Usually rain seems to signal the end of such a storm, so imagine my surprise when, just as I stepped outside our sliding door to watch the rain, lightning flashed not fifteen feet away from me, followed immediately by the loudest peal of thunder I had ever heard right over our house! (I stepped back in very quickly after that!) : )

That was fifteen minutes ago, and now the rain has lessoned to a steady shower punctuated occasionally by the faint rumble of thunder in the distance.

I love fall!! : )

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Miss Gwendolyn: the Budding Businesswoman?

The past few weeks I have been working harder than I have ever worked before to build my business. Fall quarter is about to start, and I find myself with only two students signed up --a very small amount compared to the eight students I had last fall. Unfortunately, I am pretty hopeless at matters of business, so this has all been a new adventure for me.

So far I have learned:

~How to design and publish a web site (Check it out! www.mgpianostudio.com)
~How to design business cards and flyers
~How to write a craigslist ad
~How to bypass my “phonaphobia” when having to call someone.
~That being strategic and sneaky is critically necessary in business-building.
~That I am not very good at being strategic and sneaky. : (

But one of the most difficult things I have had to do thus far (besides the many, many phone calls) is distributing flyers. Going up to someone’s door on visitation or door-knocking is one thing, but going into a store to ask if I can put up a flyer is totally different! I am comfortable with the former, but the latter is still hard, even after a week of intensive flyer-distribution. I am sure the various clerks in the stores I went to felt sorry for me, probably thinking something like “Oh, look at the little girl trying to get piano students! Isn’t it cute the way she tries to be all professional and polite!” I really did try to look my age, but from the questions I have gotten at some of the music stores I have visited, I don’t think it worked very well. Often, when I am asked how long I have been teaching, my answer of 5 years is met with a stifled look of surprise or puzzlement. “If she’s as young as I think she is, that means she started teaching when she was…!” ; )

But, I suppose all that works to my advantage sometimes, since folks usually want to encourage young musicians and teachers. Unfortunately, that encouragement comes more often as advice, rather than new students or referrals. Oh, well! --Maybe I’ll post some of the advice sometime, once I have had a chance to try it out. : )

Friday, August 28, 2009

Adopted


How sweet to be a child of God
In times of peace and rest
When thankful praises smoothly flow
From heart and mouth, for well I know
How much my Heavenly Father has blessed.

How sweet to be a child of God
In times of want and woe
When in my Father’s arms I hide
There, through His grace I safe abide
Though harsh the winds of worry blow.

How sweet to be a child of God
Where e’er my pathway lies
In health or sickness, toil or rest
My Father gives that which is best
For He is infinitely wise!

Monday, August 17, 2009

An Ant in the Offering Envelope

It was one of those strange mornings when everything seems to go just a little different than usual. Of my seven Sunday school students, one came in sulking about something, one had separation anxiety and wouldn't leave my lap, one was sad about something and cried most of the class, and the rest were either extra sleepy or extra energetic. I was the only teacher that morning, because my helper was out of town, and our class routine was a bit different that morning anyway. And now, as I filled out the attendance sheet in the offering envelope, out fell an ant! I couldn't help but laugh as I looked at the little ant crawling on my hand and tried to imagine where he had come from.

Perhaps, I thought, one of the little boys in my class had picked him up on the way into class, stuck him in a pocket, and forgotten about him. Or maybe he was part of an invasion force, and inadvertantly crawled on to one of my students, falling into the envelope with the precious pennies and dimes of the offering. Or I suppose it could have crawled in with the attendance sheet. At any rate, there it was, crawling around bewilderedly, no doubt wondering where it was.

It had certainly been a very strange morning...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

You Know It’s Too Hot When…

  • You wash your hands just so that you can put them under cold water.
  • You find yourself saying something like “Hooray! It’s only going to be 100 tomorrow!”
  • Window-shopping in Fred Meyer’s freezer section sounds like a great way to spend an evening.
  • You don’t get mad at your brother when he “accidentally” gets you soaking wet.
  • Ice cream for breakfast, anyone?
  • You seriously consider camping out under the air conditioner
  • You fight over who “gets” to water the yard.
  • You’re willing to spend the whole day in a dark room rather than turn a light on and have the temperature go up one degree.

  • The short trip to the mailbox makes you tired.
  • Your fan-less backyard seems eerily quiet.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Piano #1!

Yesterday I got the first piano for my studio. (Which, by the way, isn't quite finished yet.) Daddy and Tristan moved the piano out of the house it was in, which was difficult because it was heavy and the doorways in the house were very narrow.
Tristan was able to rent a trailer to put the piano on...
Then we followed Tris and the piano home to make sure nothing went wrong.
Once we got to our house, Tris and Daddy moved the piano into what will someday be Mommy's studio, where it will stay until my studio is finished.
-But not until after I tried it out!
Once it was inside, I cleaned off all the dust and shined it up with some lemon oil. Now it's really pretty!
It does need to be tuned though! It's a Wurlitzer spinnet, and has a brighter sound to it than my parent's piano upstairs does. I am so glad to have a piano downstairs because now I can practice whenever I want without bothering anyone! And it was free! (Thank you Teacher Lindy!!)





Monday, July 20, 2009

Is That Really A Word?

It all started with the word “pertinacious.” Mommy and I were pulling ivy in the front yard the other day when somehow the subject of words came up. I mentioned that I had always wanted to use the word “pertinacious” in a sentence, and Mommy asked somewhat incredulously, “Is that really a word?” I got to thinking about that, and I realized that I actually didn’t know. We then started thinking about all the funny words and phrases our family had come up with over the years.

For example, there’s “spiky bombs,” the seed balls from a Sweetgum tree with which my brother and I used to pelt each other while we waited for my sister’s piano lesson to be over. They have barbed prickles all over them, making them extremely difficult to get out of tangled hair, but they do make excellent ammunition if you happen to be playing war with your big brother. : )

From my sister, we have “flufflebugs,” which was what she called dandelion seed heads, and I think it was my brother who first coined the name “exploding grass” for a prolific weed in our backyard that would “explode” at the slightest provocation, spreading a multitude of seeds everywhere, to ensure that we would always have weeds to pull up the next year.

My nephew and nieces have come up with many good words and phrases over the years as well. When my nephew was just learning how to talk, he couldn’t quite manage to say “Aunt Gwennie”, so I was dubbed “Aunt Gooey”. (Although thankfully not for long!) He also called horses “cowies”, and the first time he saw a real deer he exclaimed “Reindeer horses!” : ) My older niece has a charming way of reversing the words in certain phrases, such as string cheese. One day, we were trying to get her to say it right, and she responded by saying, “You can say it cheese-string, or cheese-string…either way!” : ) My personal favorite from them is my younger niece’s variation on “Uncle Tris”. I tried to teach her to say it last time we were visiting, but she couldn’t quite manage, and ended up with “Uncle Sis”. : )

So, when we had finished outside I pulled out my dictionary and looked up the word pertinacious. It really is a word after all! It means obstinate, holding firmly, or stubborn. So there!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 5...

Today was the final day of NBT. The teachers all looked tired this morning, especially the evangelists, but all were smiling and energetic by the time their classes began lining up. Somehow, the law of entropy did not apply to me this week. Instead of becoming more and more tired with each passing day, I ended up with more and more energy each day. (Probably due to the fact that so many people had been praying that all the NBT workers would have strength and energy.)

30 in attendance again this morning, and once again, some were absent, but we had enough visitors to balance it out.

Tonight we had the final program, and only about half our class showed up. It was great to see the kids that did show up recieve awards and cheer the other classes on. I sat at one end of the third grade row, by some of the boys. They were a bit wiggly toward the middle of the program, but for the most part, once I told them to be still, they were. (Though I think it was partly due to the fact that they were so tired that they didn't want to move anymore.) : )

In all, it was a great week, even though I did have to go outside of my comfort zone quite a few times. --I suppose that's partly what made it a great week, just seeing the things that God was doing in my heart and life as well as in the hearts and lives of many boosters and teens.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 4...

Two more boosters from our class got saved today!

During line-up time, all the little ones from the neigboring classes wanted to show off their ribbons and tell me their plans to get more. -The kids have really warmed up to all the teachers...I even had a random little girl from another class give me a hug today for absolutely no reason! : )

We had 30 kids in our class again! One was absent, but we had a visitor. One of the Junior classes is trying to double their first day's attendance because if they do, their teacher volunteered his helper to take a pie in the face. (If I remember right from last year, it's a pie tin with shaving cream in it.) Miss Kathie told me that she thought that was a good idea, but thankfully for me, she was only joking. : )

Sadly, tomorrow is our last day. In the evening we will have the final program, in which the boosters show off the things they have learned and get their awards.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 3...

Another amazing day today! We had 30 boosters in our class, and even the boosters who like to squeak by with the minimum of effort are getting excited about bringing visitors and earning ribbons.

The boosters earn ribbons by memorizing verses, bringing visitors, doing their study in the handbook, and attending. Nearly everyone in our class has passed us teachers by with their number of ribbons. (we each have six ribbons on our name tags, and, of course, can't earn more like the boosters.) I think the highest number of ribbons so far in our group is 12.

At least two more students from our class got saved today! It always amazes me how quickly the boosters understand the gospel and respond to it. There is no hesitating to count the cost, no delaying out of pride, just a simple childlike faith.

During one of the line up times today, I was standing by my class, when I heard my name...sort of. I realized that one of my boosters was trying to get my attention, but was calling me "Mrs. Gwennie". It's so hard for little ones to remember whether a lady is Miss or Mrs., so I didn't correct him just then --at least he was trying. : )

My class is very well trained by now --so well trained, in fact, that when I came to the end of the missionary story today, the boosters wouldn't let me build up suspense as I had planned to. Instead, as soon as I said, "and you know what happened then?" they all replied, "Come back tomorrow to find out!" : )

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 2...

Today was a great day at NBT! (see previous post if you're not sure what that is) We had 27 kids in our class, 17 of which did not attend our church. Our group averaged about 2 memory verses each, but almost every booster has great plans for tomorrow. : ) So far, six of the boosters in our class have prayed to accept Christ as Savior!

I must admit to not being as prepared as I could have been for the missionary story today, and there were several suspenseful pauses beginning with "and then..." while I found my place. (Suspenseful to the boosters and to me, since I had completely lost my place!)

The very best part of the day, however, was during the Primary rally, when I had the privelege of leading a former Sunday school student of mine to Christ! God truly is doing great and exciting things in our midst this week!

Come back tomorrow to find out what happens next!

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Bible Time!

This week I am helping with Neighborhood Bible Time at my church. For those of you who don't know what NBT is, it's kind of like a hyper vacation Bible school. : ) This year I get to help teach the 3d grade class, which had 23 boosters (kids) today! Thankfully, we had very few discipline issues to deal with, thanks to my "teacher 1" Miss Lowry and her exemplary classroom skills. : ) By the time she had finished the Bible story and memory verse, they sat so still and were so quiet while I told the missionary story, we had a very difficult time deciding who to give the two "quiet booster" prizes to.

Two of our boys accepted Christ as Savior today! (actually, it might be three, but I never heard the outcome of the third one's conversation with the counselor.) I had the privelege of counseling one of the boys, which was my very first time ever to lead someone to the Lord! It was a great blessing to me, and I'm looking forward to seeing how God will work in our class and others the rest of the week!

I plan to write more as the week goes on...so, in NBT language, "Come back tomorrow to find out what happens next!" : )

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Computers

My computer died last week. Daddy thought at first that he would be able to fix it, but upon finding that he couldn't, he had me take it to the computer store to get it fixed.

So, Mommy and I set out one afternoon for the computer store. When we got there, I went in alone, because, after all, it was my computer, and two clueless ladies were probably not better than one in this case.

I had to wait a few minutes for someone to come out and help me, (it must have been their lunch hour) and when I showed my computer to the man who finally came up to the counter, his response was quite interesting.

Mr. Computer Guy: "Wow... This is a T23."
Miss Clueless: "Yes it is."
Mr. Computer Guy: "How long have you had this?"
Miss Clueless: "About four years or so."
Mr. Computer Guy: "It's time for a new computer."
Miss Clueless: (smiles and nods while thinking rather sarcastically) "Of course...and I suppose you want to sell me one"
Mr. Computer Guy: "We have some nice [insert brand name here] computers for $299."
Miss Clueless: "Oh. Well, my computer needs to be fixed. The fan has stopped working."
Mr. Computer Guy: "You have a fan in your hand."
Miss Clueless: "Uh, yeah. My Dad sent this with me. It's the fan from his old laptop which doesn't work -or, at least, the laptop doesn't work, but the fan is fine. He wanted me to ask if you could use it to fix my computer."
Mr. Computer Guy: "Well, let's see... Was your Dad's laptop the same as yours?"
Miss Clueless: "Umm, I think so? At least, it was similar enough to mine that he had to put my name on the bottom of mine to keep them from getting mixed up."
Mr. Computer Guy: (Trying to figure out how to get to the fan) "Hmm... Do you see another screw that has this symbol by it?"
Miss Clueless: (looking) "Umm...no...no I don't. My Dad had the same trouble trying to get the fan out of his laptop last night. He did find a way to remove the keyboard eventually, though."

-Fifteen minutes later-

Mr. Computer Guy: "Aha! Got it! (Takes keyboard off) That's where that third screw was, right there, not marked at all.
Miss Clueless: "Oh."
Mr. Computer Guy: "And that's why there are two kinds of people: those who know what they're doing, and those who don't."
Miss Clueless: "And which are you?"
Mr. Computer Guy: "I'm inbetween."
Miss Clueless: "Oh...I see."
Mr Computer Guy: "Ok. So to fix your computer I will have to find a part, which may take
awhile. And that might buy you maybe a year, but at this point, it might be
better for you to buy a new computer. I mean, there is no such thing as new parts for this computer, and it will probably take a while to find a fan for it. We do have some great [insert brand name here] right now for only $299."
Miss Clueless: "So, are you saying it would be cheaper for me to buy a new computer than to get
this one fixed?"
Mr. Computer Guy: "No, not cheaper, but fixing this computer will only buy you about a year, maybe less."
Miss Clueless: "Uh-huh."
Mr. Computer Guy: (Typing) "So, I'll get you signed in here...and it may be a while before I can find a part for you. What's your last name?"
Miss Clueless: (Spells last name)
Mr. Computer Guy: "And first name?"
Miss Clueless: (Spells first name)
Mr. Computer Guy: "Are you sure?"
Miss Clueless: (Suprised) "Uh, I think so."
Mr. Computer Guy: "Let's check. (Turns over computer) Ah... it was 'yn'."
Miss Clueless: (Somewhat incredulously) "Did I say 'in'?"
Mr. Computer Guy: "I think so."
Miss Clueless: "I must be tired."

So he signed my computer in and printed out the estimate, and I left, very happy to have that task finished. : )

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

An Afternoon of Adventure

My brother just bought a convertible.


It needs some work, (well, actually, a lot of work) but the very fact that it is a convertible turns it in our eyes from a piece of junk to a very fun toy. : )

The other day, my brother, (Tristan) Mommy, and I set out to drive around a bit.

Our trip took us along winding country roads and past picturesque mansion-like farmhouses…












And ended at a park on the river.





When we got out, Tris checked to make sure nothing was leaking.



Then we walked out onto a dock, where I almost fell in the river when a boat came in and the dock rocked unexpectedly.

When we started back, Tristan was just talking about how well the car started and ran, when the car suddenly died, and wouldn’t start again.

He took a look at the engine, but couldn’t figure out what was wrong…

So he pushed it into a nearby parking space and called a tow truck.


While we waited for the tow truck, Mommy and I went exploring …


After a while a very nice sheriff came up and asked us if we were all right. We explained what had happened and that we had a tow truck coming, and then he left.

When the tow truck came, the driver took one look at the car and knew exactly what was wrong, and fixed it in a manner of seconds! (a connection was loose somewhere.) Tris was not looking forward to paying $40 for something so simple, but when he asked the driver how much we owed him, he told us that he wouldn’t charge us! It was such a blessing!

So then we had a lovely ride home, and returned just in time to keep from getting rained on, which is important at the moment because the convertible has no fabric on the frame for the top!

In all, it was a very fun adventure. : )

Monday, May 25, 2009

What is God Like?

It is the age-old question that has claimed the attention of countless men and women much smarter than myself. God by definition defies just description, being so much greater and magnificent than we could ever imagine. Perhaps that is what is meant in I Corinthians 13:12, which speaks to the fact that presently we know in part, having only what we can comprehend, but that when we join God in heaven, we shall fully know Him.

Yet, we do know in part –God has given us much information about Himself in the Bible. One passage that gives a very clear insight into the character of God is I Corinthians 13.

I John 4:8 states that God is love. The Greek word used in this verse for love is the same as that translated “charity” in I Corinthians 13 (According to my Strong’s Concordance). So, we may conclude that since the Bible tells us that God is love, the description of love given in I Corinthians 13 is, in fact, a description of God Himself. Not to say that it is an exhaustive description, but it does give a very clear picture of some aspects of the nature of God.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind…
God is often described in the Bible as longsuffering, for example in Exodus 34:6 when the Lord was meeting with Moses on Mount Sinai, His name was proclaimed, “And The Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth…” (emphasis mine) As to kindness, there is Psalm 117: “O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.”

Charity envieth not...
There is a difference between envy and jealousy. Envy is, according to my dictionary, “To repine at another’s prosperity or happiness”, while jealousy deals with the suspicion of faithlessness in the area of love. (Although God never “wonders” if there is something more precious to His child than Himself --He always knows.) In other words, God does not covet what is ours, nor does He covet or despise our happiness. God is elsewhere described as a jealous God, but He does not envy. He simply wants our love for Him to eclipse whatever else is in our lives.

Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up...
God is not --as most humans are—“puffed up” with undue pride. The word vaunt means to boast or brag ostentatiously. It is true that God speaks of His own greatness, but unlike the prideful boasting of man, every word God speaks is true and deserved.

Doth not behave itself unseemly...
The word unseemly means unbecoming, improper, or indecent. God is never any of those things! His complete holiness prevents it.

Seeketh not her own...
If Christ had sought “His own”, He would never have yielded Himself to be tortured and die that we might be saved. God is the perfect example of selfless sacrifice.

is not easily provoked...
As we have already seen, God is longsuffering. He never acts prematurely or harshly. The prophets often were frustrated with how wicked God allowed His people and other nations to become. They would ask God why He would not just punish them right away. God’s timing is perfect, however, and His punishments just, so He let them go, keeping His wrath from falling on them until their cup of wickedness was full. We may not understand God’s timing or purposes, but we may understand that He is just, not acting out on a short temper or a rash decision.

thinketh no evil...
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” God does not sit up in heaven, plotting how to “get even” with sinful humans. Rather, He mercifully works all things together for the good of His children, (Romans 8:28) even when we disobey.

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth...
God, in His complete holiness, cannot take pleasure in sin. He is not, as we too often are, blinded by the lies of Satan which enshroud sin in a web of deceitful pleasure. He sees through our attempts to lie to ourselves, (and Him) seeking to justify our wickedness. Rather, God delights in the truth. He delights in seeing us read His word, learning and understanding the freeing truth He has so graciously given to us.

Beareth all things...
According to my Strong’s Concordance, the word for “beareth” has the connotation of bearing patiently. God does not complain. He bears the pain and sorrow of man’s constant wickedness, yet does so patiently and silently, only speaking for the benefit of others.

believeth all things...
–I must admit that this one stumped me for a while. How could the God who made everything have beliefs? Yet, if we ascribe to Plato’s definition of knowledge, belief is necessary to knowledge, and God is all-knowing, so He must have beliefs. We tend to think of beliefs as pertaining to things that are unknown, but if one were to look at life like a philosopher, one would see that beliefs can concern things that we are quite certain are true. Thus, it is possible for God to have beliefs. His differ from ours, however, in that all of God’s beliefs are true and certain.

hopeth all things...
This is one of those attributes of God that I shall probably not fully understand until I get to heaven. How can God hope, being omniscient? Yet, I have always thought of hope as the joyful expectation of belief fulfilled. In that sense, it would be possible for God to hope; since His beliefs are always true, and thus always come to pass, he might joyfully expect them to do so.

endureth all things...
Patient endurance is built on belief and fueled by hope. God patiently endures man’s terrible wickedness, with the hope of the coming eternity we will spend with Him after the judgment day, when there will be no more sin to so sorrow and pain Him.

Charity never faileth...
God will never fail! No matter what must come to pass in our lives, no matter how others wrong us, no matter how faithless we are, God will never fail. It is we who so often fail God, and then seek to blame Him for our failures.

-I apologize for the lengthiness of this post, but I was so excited about this passage, I wanted to try to do it justice. : )

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Relapse

Once again, I have a cold. I knew it was coming when I found myself giving my piano students alliterated assignments. (“Accurate articulation, please!”) For some reason, this particular cold makes me break out in random fits of alliteration, resulting in much hilarity at my house, since I usually don’t realize that I’m doing it. The odd thing is, my whole family has this same cold, and none of them are alliterating anything! –It’s quite a puzzle.

It’s very interesting to have everyone sick all at once. Each person in my household is in different stages of the same cold, and we seem to be taking turns as to which of us feels better at any given moment. Yesterday, I felt better than Mommy did, so I did most of the day’s housework. Today, I attempted to do the dishes, but after the hour it took me to unload the dishwasher, due to sneezing fits, I gave up. (Pathetic, I know, but quite true.) Mommy, who is feeling slightly better today, ended up finishing my task for me.

Dinner tonight caused a bit of a problem, though, because I am in no state to be cooking for anyone, but then again, neither is anyone else. After discussing the dilemma, we agreed that the best option was to have leftovers. –As Mommy pointed out, no one wants to cook, so we’re all going to. Sick people are rarely the most logical. : )

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

“What Time I am Afraid…”

The other day, Mommy and I were walking in the park when we saw three little girls skipping down a path on the other side of the park. I said to Mommy, “Doesn’t that remind you of when I used to do that?” She smiled and nodded, and as we walked on I remarked on the fact that my days of skipping down the path weren’t actually too long ago, though perhaps they should have been. I thought that maybe it was because I didn’t learn how to skip until rather late in my childhood, compared to other children. Mommy then said, “That’s right. You were kind of a late skipper, weren’t you?” We both broke out laughing, but that did make me think.

I was a late skipper.

I had acute “Little Sister Syndrome”, which meant that however I might try, I could not aim, throw, catch, kick, hop, sprint, or do anything that required any amount of coordination. I was the recipient of the classic phrase “you throw (catch, kick, etc.) like a girl!” countless times, as my frustrated brother bemoaned the fact that I was not, after all, a boy.

Perhaps that is why under my fouffy feminine “princess” layer, there lurks a mischievous tomboy who delights in such undignified things as jumping in puddles, playing with friendly bugs and digging in the dirt, and who finds the phrase “I’ll bet you can’t…” nearly irresistible.

This “inner tomboy”, however, did not keep me from being the family “fraidy cat.” I loved to follow my brother wherever he went, and attempt to copy whatever he did, but I would usually get halfway and stop, because I was too scared to go on. I tried to climb trees, but I was afraid of heights. I loved animals, but I was terrified of them. I would always enjoy playing outside –until I saw a bee, or fly, or spider, or anything else that was “scary”. My brother and I would play catch with his baseball and gloves, but I would always squeal and run when the ball came near me. It seemed as if I was afraid of everything. I was even afraid of the large coat rack we had in our hallway! -But that’s a story for another day.

Strangely enough, my propensity to fearfulness was how I first learned to really trust the Lord. As I grew older, my fears grew as well. I had (and still have) an overactive imagination, which caused me to be fearful, not only of things that were real like bees or mice or whatever, but also to be afraid of things that I imagined might happen. For years, I would pray before I went to sleep that God would protect me and my household from any and every evil I could think of, just in case. By the time I was about 10, it seemed I was almost constantly afraid of something.

It was then that I came across Psalm 91. I began to memorize it, repeating it to myself whenever I was afraid. This changed my focus from my fear, to God’s ability to protect me from the things I feared. Soon I began to notice His hand of protection on my life: we would be nearly sideswiped by another car on the freeway, or my brother and I would be thoughtlessly doing something very dangerous and come away unharmed, or, when I was a bit older, I would be walking someplace alone and get safely to my destination, despite having to walk past homeless people or drunks or other “scary” people on my way. It seemed that every day there was an instance where God protected me from harm.

Yet, while this helped me to keep from being frightened, I still had not learned how to yield my fears to the Lord in the midst of them. One night, I had a terrible dream, in which Daddy was driving us across a certain bridge, and somehow our car went over the edge, hurtling towards the water below. I awoke very frightened, but reassured myself that it was only a dream. The next afternoon, my family decided to take a trip to the living history farm we volunteer at. Daddy, driving the same car that had been in my dream, decided to take the route that crossed the bridge I had dreamt about. I was terrified, but I knew that there was no reason to fear. I had to simply ask God to take away my fear, and help me to trust Him to do that which was best. I did not have victory over my fear all at once, but as I turned my focus off my imaginings and looked to God for help, it lessened considerably.

This morning I came across Hebrews 3:14-15. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Emphasis mine.)

The only way I could escape the bondage of my fears was to give them up, and throw myself wholly on God’s protection and care.


“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” Psalm 56:3

Friday, May 15, 2009

Technology

I am convinced that our copier hates me.

There I sat, minding my own business while I waited for it to finish the simple task of printing out pages for my Sunday school class, and all of a sudden it started acting up.

First, it ran out of paper. (OK, maybe I should have checked to make sure there was enough paper to begin with, but still, it was only one page into the job, and there was still paper in it!) Then, despite all my efforts to feed the paper to it correctly, it printed only one more page before smugly blinking its red exclamation point to tell me that, yes, I most definitely was not smarter than the paper tray. In the process of my third attempt, the printer grabbed a large chunk of paper and fed it in piggybacked on the one that was already printing, causing me to worry that it would jam. It managed not to, however, and is now noisily clunking away, sounding a bit like it's chuckling at my lack of technological talent.

Oh, well. -I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually! : )

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Attention Ladies...

I just finished putting up a new blog specifically aimed at ladies. I am hoping to get some dialogue started between the "aged women" of Titus 2 and those of us who are younger for the purpose of furthering the spiritual growth of all involved. (Strangely enough, I happen to at least partially fit into both these categories at the moment.)

Anyway, please come and visit!

www.learningladyhood.blogspot.com

I shall endeavor not to neglect this blog in posting on the other, and since I am now done with school, I should have more time to write. (I hope.) : )

Monday, May 11, 2009

Immediate Obedience

I recently started teaching a Sunday school class at my church. Each week I get to teach ten to thirteen precious 4&5 year olds who are very well behaved. (At least, they are well behaved so far.) I have only been teaching for a few weeks, and I know that the novelty of having a new teacher will wear off any week now, and soon my little students will tire of trying to please me, making my task much harder.

My novelty is beginning to wear off already, but fear not! I have a plan. : ) I have endeavored to run a very tight ship while I have willing spirits to work with, and have tried not to let even small discipline issues go unaddressed. Once children (and adults, for that matter) know what is expected of them, it is much easier to discern whether a matter is an issue is one of rebellion or ignorance.

The hardest principle for these little ones, however, is a relatively simple one: immediate obedience. This is a very hard, but crucial principle for anyone to learn. As one preacher put it, “Temporary disobedience is total disobedience.” In other words, to delay is to disobey. If my students won’t respond the first time they are told to do something, my classroom will be a scene of chaos. Thankfully, of all the students, only a few have had to be told anything twice, but it is with increasing frequency.

In re-analyzing the students and my teaching methods, it occurred to me that this is an area that is difficult for me, as well. It’s not so much that I don’t do what I am told, but it is a struggle sometimes to obey immediately when I am asked or when it is implied that I should do something. I am asked to do things at my house more than I am than told to do things, so this is a bigger struggle than you might think. Technically, I could use the excuse that, having been asked, rather than told, I have a choice whether or not to obey and when, but since I know that when my parents say “would you”, they really mean “do it”, I have no excuse. -I know better.

Perhaps the Lord put me in charge of this particular class so that I would be reminded of my need to keep striving in this area!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

School’s Out!

I finally finished my last test this morning, and am now officially done with school for the summer! It is rather an odd feeling, to be able to spend a day doing exactly what one wants, after having been so busy for so long. I actually found myself wandering aimlessly around the house a little while ago –I think I’m still in shock. : )

I have only a very brief time of freedom, however, because the summer is only three short months long, and before I know it, I will be back in school again. I have determined that I shall endeavor to spend my time so well that I will be so tired of “freedom” by the end of the summer, I shall be glad of schoolwork again. : )

My first order of business has been to reacquaint myself with our kitchen. I have been sadly very remiss in my helpfulness to Mommy since I started school, and since it’s Mother’s Day weekend, I decided to bake a cake.

Of course, after I finished putting the cake together, I had to clean the kitchen, since I had made such a mess, and by the time I had finished that, I was exhausted. –I really need to do more housework, so that I can build up my strength again!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Next week is my last week of school. It’s strange that time can go so fast, and yet feel so slow. I am greatly looking forward to the summer and have but to survive next week with its two seven-page research papers and three finals, and then I shall be free to do whatever…well, whatever my family wants me to! (I guess I won’t have that much more freedom, but it’s worth it anyway.) : )

One of the first things I will need to start working on right away is setting up the organizational/business end of my piano studio, while my brother finishes putting the final touches on the sheetrock in my studio. (Yes, we finally have everything ready to rock!) Then, once I have actual, tangible walls in my studio, I will don my grubbies and become a painter for a while. (Not my favorite job, but hey, it is my studio, after all.) : ) Once the paint dries, my next task will be to find two pianos to put in the studio, (hooray for Craigslist!) have my two strong men move my organ out of the garage and into the house, (no more practicing with stiff, cold fingers!) and set up for business. Teaching from home will be more complicated, but it will definitely be worth it!

And then there’s the garden. One of the things I look forward to the most this summer is working on our still non-existent garden. We have to get rid of the grass in order to put in the raised beds, which means lots of difficult digging, but I actually kind of enjoyed myself last year when Daddy and I re-did the garden beds at our old house. I love being outside, and this will be the perfect excuse! : )

Well, I suppose I should stop dreaming and come back to the prosaic reality of looming homework…

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sneezes and Sniffles

Here I sit, bundled in blankets and tethered to my box of tissues. I have a cold. But I can’t complain too much, because this is the first time in over a year that I’ve actually been sick. I’m done with my homework for the week, and hopefully I’ll be able to spend some time doing things I actually want to do for a change. : )

I was just thinking as I sat here sniffling that being sick can actually be a good thing for me. It will force me to get the rest I need, and give me a chance to unbend my mind a bit before the next week of schoolwork. It will also help me to appreciate all the things I can do when I’m well. (It seems I need to have my ability to function taken away to make me appreciate it.) Once I am over this cold, my immune system will be stronger and I will be better able to sympathize with others who are ill. I will also be eager to get to work again, after watching everyone else working and being unable to help. I can also use this time to be a blessing to my family, by being as patient as possible and trying to cheer everyone up, even though I am making extra work for them. (Hopefully that won’t be as counter-productive as it sounds.) : )

I am reminded of Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:20, where we are commanded to give thanks to God “always for all things.” –Even sickness.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pride and Puddles


It was a typical spring day with its mixture of rainstorms and sunbursts, and Mommy and I were out for a walk. We had gone our usual route and were bound for home when we came to a very large puddle. This puddle had somehow grown larger since we passed it just twenty minutes before, and though we were able to walk around it then, it now covered the whole path. Mommy began to try to find the best way to get across without getting wet or muddy, but I stopped to ponder a more perplexing problem. Unlike Mommy, I was not trying to figure out how to get across the puddle without getting wet and muddy. I was wondering whether or not I was too old to splash through the puddle, instead of going around as Mommy was doing.

The ladylike thing would have been to gather up my skirts and tiptoe gingerly through the spongy grass at the puddle’s edge. That would have gotten me past the difficulty in the most dignified manner, but such a lovely large puddle was too good to miss. : ) Either way I risked slipping in the mud and falling face first, like Anne in the cabbage field, getting both wet and muddy.

So there I was, standing at the edge of the puddle trying to discern how deep it was and how waterproof my boots really were. I apparently have not yet gained that kind of pride that supposedly comes with age to keep one from doing childish things like splashing through puddles, but I do have a glimmering of it that at least made me question the propriety of doing such a silly thing. Finally, I made my decision. I walked right through the middle of the puddle –being very careful not to splash.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Driving Test

Yesterday I went in for my driving test to try to get my license. I did pass, (barely) for which I am very thankful, but strangely enough, that wasn't the biggest blessing of the day. --But to explain that I need to give some background.

My driving instructor had taken me to the parking lot at the DMV to practice driving the harder of the two routes they take people on. (It was closed that day) He told me that, of the numbered parking spaces they assign people, the first three were the easiest to pull into. The other three had a planter/traffic island behind them that made pulling in and out very awkward. I had no problem pulling into number 3, so I was praying that I would be assigned that one.

The night before my test, Mommy and I went to practice in the parking lot of the DMV. We spent at least a half an hour just trying to perfect pulling into number 6, (which was the hardest one) just in case I had to. After successfully pulling into it a couple times, another car pulled in and looked like they wanted to practice the same thing, so we left them to it, and drove the test route until we found the next difficulty that needed practice. When we got back to the DMV parking lot, I decided to try pulling into random parking spots so that I could if they told me to at the end of the test. I couldn't seem to park without being extremely crooked, so we gave up and tried number 6 several more times. By that time it was far past my bedtime and I was very discouraged. I came home convinced that I would fail my driving test, and have to re-take the written test to renew my permit, which expired in a couple days, thus wasting both time and money -all because I failed the test the first time.

The morning of my test, I went up to the desk at the DMV for my parking assignment, and was told to pull up in spot number 3! The lady must have thought Mommy and I were very strange to be so happy about a parking assignment. : )

That was so encouraging to me, because it was a reminder that God really does hear and answer prayer. (It also made me feel much better about the test.) : )



~"The effectual fervant prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
James 5:17

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Driving Lessons

I had my last driving lesson yesterday, and am going in for my driving test to try and get my license tomorrow (April 1) at 10:00, so if any of you think of it, I would appreciate prayer!

I learned a lot of new things while driving with my instructor. For example:

-The instructor's extra brake pedal can be very helpful
-There are a ridiculous number of school zones in our area
-It’s hard to look over your shoulder without turning the steering wheel, (although I’ve almost got that one down now.)
-Roundabouts are apparently called “traffic circles”
-The white lines that show where the side of the road is are called “fog lines”.

The other night, as I was driving home from church (for the first time) in the dark, I gained a whole new appreciation for the “fog lines”. As the oncoming cars came towards me, their lights made the other markings on the road hard to see, and since I had to concentrate fairly hard to keep inside the lane in the first place, that made driving very difficult. I found, however, that the lights, though they blinded me to some of the markings on the road, made the fog lines easier to see. So as I drove down the road, trying not to crash into anything, I kept my eyes on the fog line, depending on it to keep me from drifting out of my lane.

Sometimes in life, things come at us that would try to blind us to the work God is doing in and through our lives. When that happens, it is so easy to drift off course and begin to believe the lies that Satan would throw our way. It is during those times that we must keep our eyes on the “fog line” --God’s Word, which alone can keep us from being blinded by Satan’s lies. Times of trial are meant to cause us to draw near to God, to let Him do that which needs to be done in our hearts. Too often, though, we are blinded by the trials and discouragements of life, and, losing sight of the “fog line”, drift away before we even realize it. A Sunday school teacher at my church once said, “The Christian life is like going up the down escalator.” The moment we stop moving forward, we begin losing ground. That is why it is so important for us to read God’s Word, and to keep growing closer to God. --We must keep our eyes on the fog line, if we are to stay on course.

~"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
II Timothy 3:16-17~

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Imperfect Pitch

Ever since I started seriously studying music, I have been fascinated by people who have perfect pitch. It is always amazing to me that they can, just by hearing a note, tell which note it is. I have heard that perfect pitch is something one can develop, and think it would be interesting to try, but I am not sure exactly how to go about something like that.

This week, I cleaned the outside of my electric organ (which is still in the garage) so that I can practice on it. The inside still needs to be cleaned out, but since I needed to practice for church tomorrow, I decided to fire it up anyway. I had not played it since we brought it home, and I had a lot of fun experimenting with the different stops to figure out just the right combination. Once I finished “playing” (no pun intended) with the stops, I played a chord with a bass note, and found that half the pedals on my organ are a half step flat from the notes on the keyboards. ‘~’ The result of this is a discordant cacophony which makes my family very glad that the organ is still in the garage. : )

That’s what got me thinking about perfect pitch. If had gotten my wish and been able to develop perfect pitch, practicing on my organ would have been torturous until my brother figures out how to tune the pedals, and I really needed to practice this week.

Often, when God denies us something we really want, He is actually being merciful. Just as parents sometimes must deny their child something for what seems to the child to be no reason at all, so we often do not know or realize that God really is working for our good.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Blessings



My parents decided to give me a camera for my birthday this year. It takes very clear pictures, and has a macro setting, (so I can take pictures up close) and with all the world beginning to bud and blossom, around me, my camera and I have been nearly inseparable ever since. : ) (The results of this are on my flikr page if anyone wants to see them.)

I have had lots of flowers to take pictures of in my new yard, and I have enjoyed making my rounds through the backyard each day, watching spring sprout up little by little. Earlier this month, I was out checking on the violets (which were, at that time, the only thing blooming) when I happened to spot a little white bud in a patch of violets that had previously had seemingly had no intention of blooming. I was delighted, because I have always liked white violets, and thought, in passing, that it would be nice if that one little white violet plant was blooming on my birthday. Late last week, I went into the backyard to check on the pink and lavender colored violets that have been blooming for a while, and spotted a white violet blooming where I thought there were only pink ones! As I made my way around the backyard, it seemed that there were white violets everywhere. They had bloomed literally overnight –and just in time for my birthday!

That may seem a very small and insignificant thing, but it was such a blessing to me to realize that, not only did God notice my wistful little thought, but He cared enough to make it happen, and in an even greater way than I had expected. It is easy, sometimes, to take the little things like that for granted, or to not even notice them in the hurried rush of life. It is important for us to notice when God does little things for us, though, because it is through sweet, personal little blessings such as my birthday violets that God shows us how much He really does care for us.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Whole New Decade...




Last week, I was talking with one of my little students, when the subject of age came up. I had asked her how old she was and she replied “I’m five. And then it will be my birthday and I will turn six, and then it will be my birthday and I’ll be seven, and then it will be my birthday and I’ll be eight, until I’m…” –Here she paused to think, pondering the prospect of old age, finally concluding, “Twelve! That’s really old.” : )



Today I enter my 20th year. When I told my students how old I would be, their eyes opened very wide, and nearly all of them said something to the effect of, “Wow, that’s so old!” Their parents, however, looked at me with that knowing smile one would bestow upon a little kid who is excited to be “grown up” at ten. How strange life is!



I remember being impatient to be “grown up”. When I was twelve, it seemed that if I only I were fourteen, all my problems would be solved, then at fourteen I longed to be sixteen, then at sixteen, I couldn’t wait to be eighteen. At eighteen, I began to realize that being grown up wasn’t all I thought it would be, and wished I was younger. : )



I figured out recently that I have been taking piano lessons for 13 years. That seemed to me a longer time than could be possible, so I figured it up again, and, sure enough, I have been playing the piano for 13 years. I have an 8 year-old nephew, and two of my very first students –who were five when I taught them– have just turned ten. After that train of thought, I would tend to agree with my students: “Miss Gwennie’s old!” : )


Friday, March 6, 2009

A Good Day...

Riding home in the car the other night, I looked down at my marker-stained hands and smiled. Today was a good day I thought as I remembered the smiling faces of my little piano students. I thought of the look of wonder on the face of one student’s little brother as I showed him why his picture showed up on both sides of the paper he was drawing on. I remembered another student writing “I love piano!” on the whiteboard in our room, and another reaching out to touch my long hair and saying wistfully, “I know how to braid.” : )
Never mind finals looming overhead, never mind the lesson with the student who just would not stay still, never mind the room that looked like a whirlwind at the end of the day, never mind the student who likes to say “no” to everything, it was a good day. It was just an ordinary day, but I was exactly where the Lord wanted me, working at exactly what He had given me to work at. There is such a blessedness in that!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Choose You This Day…A Testimony of God's Grace

In every life there comes a time of decision, a time to consider what God has for us, and choose once and for all, whom we will serve. This time came for me when I was 15. I had just started piano teacher training, and, although I was considered a “good kid”, I was inwardly very rebellious. God gave my piano teacher a burden for my spiritual growth, and she began to give me books to read as teacher training that dealt with some of the many “issues” I had. As I read the first one, I found that many of the principles I was learning from it applied to daily life. I tried it for a week, until the novelty of it all wore off, and then dropped it. Then I started to read another book, which showed me a biblical vision for family life and relationships that I had never considered before.

The more I read, the more I began to be convicted about my relationship with and attitude toward my father. I knew I ought to act upon that conviction, but my sinful, prideful heart was unwilling to let that happen. As the weeks went by, and I read more and more, I realized that I had a choice to make. Either I ignore the things I had read and the Scripture behind them, or I fully surrender to God’s leading and take the first step toward mending the relationship with my father.

I struggled for a little longer, but finally decided to act upon God’s leading. I had done much to distance myself from my family, and especially from my dad, so it was a long road that I had set out on. I had so rejected my father’s love and protection, that it was several years before I had earned back his trust and mended the relationship. It was the hardest and most humbling thing I have ever done, for, although my teacher could see a difference, and encouraged me, I had not told anyone about my task. I was not alone, however, and during this time I found my Heavenly Father closer than ever before, and through my burden for my earthly father, God taught me much about Himself.

But before God could do this work in my heart, I had to make the choice so well spoken by Joshua of old: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (Joshua 24:15) Before I made that choice, serving God in that way seemed too difficult and “boring”, but though it was a hard thing God asked of me, He was faithful to help me through it.

That decision, that small first step, was the foundation of a beautiful and precious relationship with God that has grown dearer ever since. If I had at that point said no, and chosen to reject God’s word and will for my life, I would have ended up a miserable, rebellious, angry woman with a totally ruined life. My obedience in that instance gave God the opportunity to do other things in my heart and life which have shaped me into a completely different person than I was.
God had to bring me to the place where just pleasing people was not enough. Being good for the sake of gaining favor with those around me did not satisfy, and although outwardly I seemed to be a “good kid”, inwardly I was a rebellious, angry, selfish, spoiled little girl. It is only by God’s grace that I have come thus far, and I have very far yet to go, but God is faithful!

"...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Snowdrops


The Snowdrop, though of cold, wet winter born,
Yet also belongs to the warm, bright spring.
E'en though she's waxed old, bedraggled and torn
Before the bright day of spring's christening.
For, while the cold, stormy weather she braves,
So sweetly enduring the wind and rain
Bright hope she brings as she cheerfully waves
Proclaiming that spring is coming again.
So may I be, who, born of earth belong
Yet to Heaven, my bright eternal home!
May I likewise spread hope to those who long
The streets of Heaven with Jesus to roam.
For Christ returns any day for His own,
To take us up to our eternal home!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Truly Worthwhile

The last week or so I have been analyzing the way I spend my time. Even with all my extra time, I was not accomplishing anything worthwhile, and I knew something needed to be changed. So, I began to think about how I spent my time. Thanks to God's working through my years of piano teacher training, I have enough self-discipline that procrastinating on homework has not been an issue so far. I was completing my homework, but not accomplishing much else during the day, which was discouraging.

In the midst of evaluating how I was spending my time, I came across a transcript of a radio broadcast by John MacArthur called, “Making the Hard Decisions Easy”, which was very thought-provoking. (If you’re interested in reading it, go to: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-24) In this sermon, MacArthur gives ten questions to help one to know if the things one is spending time on are truly worthwhile. Between that and the challenges at the ladies’ retreat I went to this weekend, the Lord really started to show me some areas in which I need to be more faithful with my time.

By God’s grace, the issue for me is not so much whether the things I am spending time on are bad or not, but rather, which good thing I ought to be spending my time on at a given moment. For example: reading, writing letters or e-mails to friends, writing posts for this blog, playing the piano –none of these things are inherently bad, but they may not be the best thing for me to be doing if there is something more important to do. Spending time reading in my room is not a bad thing, unless Mommy needs help in the kitchen or Tris wants me to come see his newest project in the garage. It is merely a matter of choosing that which is best.

I am reminded of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. While Martha was bustling around getting a meal ready and making sure everything was perfect for Jesus, Mary sat at His feet, hanging on His every word. In the midst of all the stress of the day, Martha becomes indignant at her sister’s apparent inactivity. When she asks Jesus to tell her sister off, He rebukes her instead. “Martha, Martha,” He said, “Thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (vv.41-42)

Anything that gets in the way of our time with God, praying and reading His word, is not worth it. James 4:17 says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” If I know that I should be spending time with God, but do something else instead, the Bible says that is sin. Not that the other thing is necessarily evil, it’s just not best, and it’s coming between me and God. It is sin. The same principle applies to other areas as well. Whenever I know I ought to be doing one thing, and I do another instead, then according to James 4:17, that is sin.

So, that’s what God has been teaching me this week.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Intrepid Explorers





Mommy and I were feeling quite adventurous today, and since it was so bright and sunny out, we decided to see if we could find the greenway that starts just down the street from Little Woodrose. We succeeded not only in finding the greenway, we also discovered that it leads to a huge park near us.
The first part of the greenway was paved and, although clean and pretty, very urban-looking. It was a pretty trail in its own way, but was made charming by the presence of a darling little boy who was walking with his mother and sisters just behind us. We had passed the little group when they stopped to pet a dog, and after that the little boy would periodically cry “come on, we have to catch up!” or “I can run right up to them…see?” and then we would hear his little feet running on the trail until he was right behind us, and was obliged to stop out of shyness. It was quite amusing to listen to him, and I couldn’t keep from laughing when I heard him say “Mommy I found another stick!” and saw him pick up a new stick to add to the small collection he was already carrying. : )

After a while, the greenway began to follow a fairly large creek, and the pavement was replaced by gravel. It was much more pleasant to walk through at that point.

Before we knew it, the trail forked at the entrance to a large park. (The sort of park one would play at, not a nature park.) We explored that a little bit, then, as the other fork of the trail beckoned, bending out of sight only a few feet along, we began to explore that instead.

We were only a little way down the trail, when we ran into a dead end, as the trail appeared to be cut off by a bend in the creek. There was a rather treacherous-looking trail continuing along the steep side of the creek bed, but part of it had fallen away, rendering it impassable. We then noticed that there were some square stones placed in the creek bed, and on the little islet between the bends in the creek. We then noticed that it looked like there were even more in the next bend in the creek, looking much like a path. There was too much water flowing over the nearest ones to walk on, but when Mommy said that we should explore it in the summer when there was less water, the adventurous and daring nine-year old in me was seized with a sudden determination to get across.

I did.

I could have gotten across the next crossing and explored further, but Mommy was getting tired, so we went home. Next time, though, I plan to go as far as I can! : )

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Conversation with a Robin...

"Why dost thou sing, thou cocky little bird,
Sitting serenely on thy perch aloft?
What can be so cheery that thou has heard
To make thee sing so in this bleak, bare, croft?
The wind bloweth sharply, bitingly cold,
Propelling the small, stinging drops of rain.
What is the source of joy so manifold
Which thus bubbles forth in joyous refrain?"
"Why sing so cheery? Indeed, gloomy maid,
There's reason enough e'en in this bare place!
-Just look for yourself, o'er in yonder glade.
The snowdrops are up! Spring soon shall replace
The cold, biting, wind with zephyrs so sweet
And sharp, stinging raindrops with dewdrops fleet!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

As Unto the Lord...

Today, we had a small snow shower that lasted just long enough to cause me to cancel the piano lessons I was to teach all day in town. As a result of that, I found myself with quite a lot of extra time. It was strange to suddenly have “nothing to do”, after the rush of schoolwork and the stress of all the things I had to do last week. This afternoon, after Daddy and I got back from my second walk of the day, I began to meander rather aimlessly around the house, but then realized what I was doing, and went into the living room to enlist Mommy’s aid in finding something useful to do instead. I had gotten all my schoolwork done, except for math, which my mind was too frazzled to do at that moment, and it wasn’t time to start dinner yet. Finally, I decided I was justified in using my spare time to read one of the books I got for Christmas.
So, I put on some music, picked up my book, and curled up in my big, comfortable chair to read. Soon after I had started reading, (or, perhaps it was a while after and I was too absorbed in what I was reading to notice.) I surfaced from my book long enough to notice how beautiful life was at that moment. I was sitting in my cozy little room, -which was actually warm enough for once- looking out into the deep blue of the twilight darkness outside my windows. As I turned more of my attention to my surroundings , I noticed that the wind was blowing in the trees, and that there was a lovely smell of cooking –Mommy had started making dinner.
I noticed all this in just a few moments, and then went back to my book with a satisfied smile. I “happened” to be reading about being useful, and all of a sudden, I realized that I could be clearing off the table and setting it while Mommy made dinner, or seeing if she wanted me to help or make a side dish. I quickly turned back to my book again, reluctant to cut short my time reading in my quiet, peaceful room, but, the idea that I ought to go and help in the kitchen would not leave me be. Just then, I read: “Every act of our lives can be in service to God.” I tried to ignore it while I read another chapter, but I just couldn’t. That settled it.
I put my book down, and went to help Mommy with dinner. I’m so glad I did! I was immediately reminded of how delightful it is to do nice little things for my family, and the few small things I did to help made such a difference in our mealtime!
Being in school has not only made me have less time for such things, but I have found that it has given me an excuse to be lazy. Once, tonight, as I was working, I found myself tempted to get annoyed when something wasn’t where it was supposed to be, but then that phrase came to mind again, and I had one of those “Oh!” moments that are so precious. The enormity and truth of that statement hit me and I realized as I stood mixing muffin batter, that even that simple task could be done in service to God. Oh, if only I could always remember to do anything I work at “heartily, as unto the Lord.”!


~“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”
Colossians 3:23

Friday, January 23, 2009

Winter Sonnet...

I gaze out upon the wintry scene
of tall, twisted trees with their barren boughs,
Still as a graveyard, silent and serene
-Quiet, save the songs of the birds they house.
A gentle breeze now makes the branches sway,
Sweeping the threadbare autumn leaves along.
Bereft of color and tattered, they play,
Dancing to a chickadee's cheery song.
Yet, in the bleakness of the winter day,
Upon the bent, barren branches I spy
Little buds beginning to make their way,
As the sun shines bright in the cloudless sky.
'Tis here, 'midst winter's bleak and barren cold,
In budding beauty, spring's coming's foretold.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cure for Boredom #4...

An anti-boredom tip from my brother, Tristan: make a silly video!

video

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cure for Boredom#3...

Study!
This week, school started again. (For those of you who didn’t know, I am taking college courses from home.) Because of the way this particular online program works, my courses are each half a semester long; with the exception of the math course I am taking this quarter. That means doing all the work of a full-length class, in half the time. Last quarter I took four classes, -a total of 12 credit hours- all in one half-semester. That was very challenging for me, especially as it was my first experience with college classes, and I literally had to spend nearly every spare minute doing homework. This quarter, I am taking 15 hours, which works out to five classes. Thankfully, though, I was able to spread them out over the whole semester so that I am only working on three at a time. The classes have been challenging this week, but having one less to work on makes me just busy enough not to have time to be lazy. : )

One doesn’t have to be enrolled in college to study, though. I used to do quite a bit of reading as homework for piano teacher training, and I subsequently got into the habit of studying "just for fun". Not that I am by nature very studious, but I am a voracious reader, and once I had read enough “serious” books to get accustomed to them, I found studying much more enjoyable.

Of course, studying needn’t be confined to books. One may study in many different ways, one of which is by observation. For example, I learned more about English ivy than I ever thought to know, just by endeavoring to pull it up! I had to observe the way it grew if I was ever to get it all removed. -Observation does not come easily to many people. In fact, it took me four years of walking the same route nearly every day to begin to observe what I was walking past. How simple a thing it is to stop and notice the sights, sounds, and smells of God’s creation, yet how easy it is to forget!

Another non-literary method of study is that of trial and error. For example, my brother likes to cook. He is the only person I know that can simply decide he’s going to make a cake, -having never made one- and then go to the kitchen, throw a few ingredients together that “seem like what should go into a cake”, bake it, and come out with a perfectly edible cake! And, off the top of my head, I can only think of one thing he’s made over the years that didn’t turn out. And each time he made something, he would try to figure out what could be changed to make it better the next time he made it.

Conversation can also be a form of study. I had the privilege of staying with my Grandma for three weeks last summer, and through our conversations, I learned quite a lot about my family’s history and about my Grandma as well. And much of what I know about homemaking, I learned by simply talking with Mommy as we go about our every day life.
Study may not seem at first like a very appealing antidote to boredom, but as long as the object of your study interests you, it should be fascinating, as well as quite effective!
Warning: Studying may be habit forming, and can become a way of life! : )

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cure for Boredom #2...

Yesterday was an auspicious day for my “little forest” in the backyard. I finally pulled up the last of the ivy, and cleared out the massive pile of already pulled up from where I had been working under the trees. The last patch of ivy ran far back under the lower branches where it was obvious no one had gone in years. The farther back I went, the more I felt like an adventurous little kid, exploring some mysterious corner of the yard. I even got excited when I found a rather mysterious hole, seemingly dark and deep, and, in spite of my natural timidity, could not resist raking up the duff which partially obscured it, to find out how big it actually was. It was noticeably bigger than the holes in our lawn, so it seemed that it could not have been made by the same creature that made them. It had also been completely covered with ivy and needles, but had no spider’s webs in it. I was so perplexed by the size and placement of the hole, that I nearly poked the end of my rake into it to see how far it went before turning, but then I thought of all the nasty things that could be inhabiting the hole, and let it be till Daddy came home. : ) At first, I thought that perhaps it was where the old pump we found in that area had come from, but Daddy said it wasn’t the right kind of hole for that. I did find that, as I raked up more of the thick layer of dead needles in that area, another hole appeared. This one got bigger as I raked around it, and as it was in the same area as the other one, I began to think that it was just an empty pocket between two of the branches that had been buried by the many layers of needles. Daddy, however, thought that it was an animal hole of some sort. I hope it’s not! It is right in front of two low branches that are curved just enough to make a very comfortable-looking seat.

After all the ivy had been cleared away, I started to drag out the random assortment of junk that the ivy had covered. There were some interesting things hiding under the trees! : ) Soon after we moved in, we found a small trailer for a lawn tractor that had evidently been there for quite a while. As I worked, I uncovered a garden hose with one end cut off, some roofing material, and a plastic dishpan.

Once that was all gone, I began to plan out what still needed to be done to make the space habitable. I hope to put a low bench at one end, under a little tree which I cannot identify because it has lost all its leaves, and two chairs and a little table at the base of the cedar tree at the other end. Tristan has made me a swing, which he plans to attach to a sturdy branch on the huge hemlock in the middle. It will be a while before it is finished, but it will definitely be worth it! I am already looking forward to having such a pretty place to study in!

Of course, as soon as I had rid the area of all the ivy, I found another small patch wound around a smaller tree that I couldn’t get at. ‘~’ I am determined to find a way to get in close enough to pull it all up, but until I do, I must be content with watching it closely and preventing it from spreading as I continue to work on the rest of the area.

I am a bit sad that the ivy-pulling task is finished for now, because it gave me a reason to be outside and working at something other than schoolwork. My next big job is going to be pulling up the garden hose that is buried under our lawn. I’m not sure why it was there, but it runs all over the yard, and I have been given the job of getting rid of it. I found an end when I was pulling up the ivy at the far side of the little forest, and would have pulled more of it up than I did just then, but it ran right under the ivy pile, and I was too tired to move it.

So, I suppose cure for boredom # 2 is to take on a task that seems a little too hard for you, and stick with it until it is finished. -This especially works when the task is different from the things you usually do.

-By the way, if you want to see pictures, I will try to post some tomorrow on my Flikr page.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Cure for Boredom

During our recent snowstorm, I found it hard to adjust to not being so very busy as I had been. I actually found myself (gasp!) getting bored. There is never any excuse for being bored, though, and I usually found plenty to do with my spare time once I tried to. One cure for boredom I have always found effective is to go for a walk. Unfortunately, I can't go walking by myself anymore, so my poor mother had to go with me every time. So even in the nastiest weather, we would bundle up and go for our daily walk. Today, Mommy and I went for a walk in the pouring rain, and as we walked, I got to thinking about the different things that make walking so delightful. I came to the conclusion that each season has different things that I enjoy.

In spring, I love to watch the world come to life again as the new plants sprout, clothing creation in myriad shades of vibrant green. It is always exciting to note the arrival of the snowdrops, crocuses, and primroses; which are always followed by violets and daffodils, ushering in the return of blooming bulbs, such as tulips. Then, when the early spring flowers are in full bloom, the trees join in the fun, donning beautiful blossoms which give variety to the bright green of their newly sprouted leaves. The delight of a spring walk is found in the unfolding of the beauty which is so abundant during that season.

In summer, it is lovely to enjoy the warm sun, and the smells of the flowers that yield their scents to the gentle breeze. All around seems bright and beautiful, and nothing makes one appreciate it more than a walk down a cool, shady lane. In the summer, one feels one must walk slower, not only because it is warmer, but because the beguiling beauty of the day beckons, ready to show its wonders to any who will take the time to watch.

Autumn displays the full glory of its changeful nature as one watches the warm, bright days of summer change into the cold, gloomy days of winter. As in spring, one day might be at once stormy and sunny, harsh and mild, resulting in frequent appearances of rainbows. Its beauty is displayed in the bright colors of changing leaves, which fall from their branches, covering the world with their vibrant and varied hues. The chiefest of pleasures associated with an autumn walk, however is in shuffling through the leaves on a dry day, and listening to the gentle rustle they make as they are stirred by the breeze.


Winter brings with it cold and rain and snow, which, though making it rather unpleasant to walk at times, makes the otherwise dry, dead landscape nicer to look at. Snow, of course is by its very nature a beautifier, covering all the mud and bare, dead-looking trees and plants, and making them look completely different. Rain, also makes things look different by intensifying the colors of the few plants yet green. It turns bare, marshy areas into muddy lakes, and fills dents, making mud puddles. Aside from the vibrant colors and marvelous mud puddles of a rainy day and the beauty of a snowy day, the fun of a winter walk is largely found in coming home afterwards. On stormy days when all looks grey and cold, there is nothing nicer than to go for a walk, get soaking wet, and then come home and dry out. (Especially if you happen to have a fireplace or woodstove to sit by.)

So, next time you are bored, try the best cure I know; take a walk and view the beauty that is to be found in God’s creation. -It is always there if you look for it!


"The Heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork"

~Psalm 19:1~

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Yellow Rose...


There it blooms, a yellow rose,
Opened to the winter sky.
Cold the biting, sharp wind blows
The tattered leaves about my toes,
Yet summer blooms nearby!

The wind and rain have swept the land
And caused the autumn leaves to fall.
And yet, the hearty rose doth stand
Untouched by Winter’s chilly hand
And heedless of his call.

Here the rose most cheerily waves
Amidst the blighting, blustery blast
The rain and snow she sweetly braves
Her scent the traveler’s way now paves
With hopes of summer at last.

Thus may I be, in life’s cold day,
When all around seems dull and drear,
Oh, may I be the one who paves
Others’ paths with cheery ways
And hope, for Heaven is near!