Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!


"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. 
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. 
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
So heart bestill:What need our little life Our human life to know,If God hath comprehension? In all the dizzy strife Of things both high and low, God hideth His intention.
God knows. His willIs best. The stretch of years Which wind ahead, so dimTo our imperfect vision, Are clear to God. Our fears Are premature; In Him, All time hath full provision.
Then rest: until God moves to lift the veil From our impatient eyes,When, as the sweeter features Of Life’s stern face we hail, Fair beyond all surmise God’s thought around His creatures Our mind shall fill."
~M.L. Haskins~

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oh yeah, and then there was that time we had an infestation of fleas and had to vaccumn the entire house... twice, in one day.  And then I had to wash anything (laundry-wise) that was out and that cats may have sat on (or walked near), including stuffed animals.
The upside was, we got the floors, chairs, couches, etc. all cleaned.
I'm tired.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Decembruary Ramblings

Merry Christmas Everyone!
It was a great day yesterday.  Jim and I spoke to each of our siblings.  My sister surprised us by coming to the Christmas day worship service.  It's a surprise because she lives 3,000 miles away!  She was in our state to see a few of her kids.  She'll go back tomorrow.  We then spent the afternoon with my brother and his family and, as always, were spoiled by their generosity (and good food!).
Today is a relax day after the rushing around of Christmas.  It's actually my favorite day of the year!  The kids are "playing" with their new "toys".  I'm learning how to use my new Kindle.  Jim (as he always does) is cleaning, organizing and enjoying a day off from work... a day to just be with family. 
So, I have some thoughts rattling around in my head... here are a few of them.
Gifts:
Some gifts you know you really want and drop hints about them.  Others, (like my Kindle) you didn't know you wanted 'til you got it! These gifts come from people who know you so well, they know just what will "tickle your fancy".  Sometimes you get things you aren't too thrilled about initially (I didn't get any of those) but realize later how perfect they are for you.  I was thinking of this when we watched "The Lion and The Witch and The Wardrobe" the other night.  Peter, Susan and Lucy got gifts they weren't expecting and wouldn't have necessarily asked for but sure needed.   Not all gifts are tangible.  There's love, grace, comfort, work, (jobs), family, responsibilities, intelligence, talent, experiences, even suffering.  They all help us become who we are.  God is the giver of every good and perfect gift.  His gifts express His love, intimate knowledge of us and perfect wisdom in the selection of His gifts.
Contentment:
Last year I chose a word for the year... "restoration".  Sad to say, what I "expected" from that didn't really happen.  2011 was a good year and all, just didn't have all the things in it that I'd hoped.  Still, we saw God's love and grace throughout the year... not to mention His faithfulness.  I didn't like some of what happened in 2011 but trust that God, who is Sovereign is also GOOD.
This year I'm thinking my word just might be "contentment".  In thinking about my life, I'm not usually (ever?) happy with who I am or my circumstances.  Circumstances can change and I know that there are certainly changes that I can make in my life, but some things I cannot change.  I can't change the fact that I am aging!  I'm in my low 50's (okay, well, closer to mid-50's) and don't like what I see in the mirror.  I see more and more white hairs.  I see wrinkles.  When I look at pictures of myself I see an older woman.  When did this happen?  On the inside looking out I think I'm 20-something!  I want to learn to be content with who I am, and where I am.  I tend to spend too much time thinking ahead to what's coming OR looking back at what has been (and find myself wallowing in bitterness and regret mixed with happiness.).
"But godliness with contentment is great gain."  I Timothy 1:6
I think this just might be my goal for this year.... Godliness with contentment. Yep, that's gonna be it.
Decembruary:
This is the name my kids gave to this week between Christmas and New Year's Day.  It's a nebulous kind of week where we just relax, eat too much, play with toys, watch movies, and think about next year.   It's the much needed break between the two worlds of Fall and Winter.  Once we hit 2012 we will hit the ground running and won't stop until April.  By that time we'll need the break that comes with Easter.  That's still a long ways off.  I won't think about that yet. 
I'm enjoying today.  I just had lunch with my family.  I'm listening to my son's new "Switchfoot" CD and drinking Hazlenut coffee while eating a "Sno-Ball" cookie.  Ah... this is good.








 












Wednesday, December 21, 2011

There is a Time for Everything


This is a portion of our Christmas letter for 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
School is out for a few weeks and we are in the rush of Christmas preparation.  We’re shopping, baking and enjoying treasured family time together!   

As we come to the close of another year the words from Ecclesiastes ring true.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven;
a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to week, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace."

In our family this year we have had deaths and weddings, weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing… we are seeking to keep some things and cast some other things away.  We have planted and taken down what had been planted.  We have learned that there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent.  We can’t think of a time to refrain from embracing and never want to let an opportunity to say “I love you” pass by.  Life is too short to forgo either of those! 
Above all, we seek to love and to trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness.  
We are thankful for our dear friends and family!  For those of you far away… we miss you and wish we could be together!
God bless you all as we enter 2012,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Global "Sleeping"


Take a listen/look at this! Eric Whitaker is an amazing composer. He composed this piece then set up a "virtual choir" with (I'm guessing) thousands of voices from all over the world then put it all together. I love his music. We've done a few of his pieces at the school where I work. It's beautiful! I'm thinking we may have to give this one a try as well.
Enjoy the beauty of this choral experience!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Practicing, practicing all the day
Christmas songs I'm learning.
Fingering, fingering I must play
for correctly learning.
Learn these songs so patiently,
Learn to play them joyfully,
Plinking, playing, 
Christmas songs I'm learning."
(to the tune of "Caroling, Caroling")

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Of Times and Seasons

Here it is, Christmas again.   "It's the most wonderful time of the year"... 
It really is kinda strange, trying to keep perspective on "the reason for the season" but at the same time there's the crazy "shopping, parties, concerts, school finals, etc" that happen and distract us.
For some people this is the worst time of the year.  It's hard to "be happy" when you're facing "the happiest time of the year" without a loved one. 
Today is 10 years since my mom passed away.  That was a really tough Christmas.  She died 2 weeks before Christmas, when everyone else is happy.  The world just kept going on and we were stopped in grief and loss.
My dad has been gone 2 years.  This year my nephew is not here.  He's been gone 8 1/2 months.  How do you face jolly times in the midst of grief except for the realization that Christmas is not all about "all that." 
Jesus came as a baby, born in humble circumstances in order to live a perfect life and then die in our place... for our sins.  He came because the world really is a messy place.  He came because people sin, they lie and cheat and steal, they murder, they gossip, they betray.  He came because people are depressed and lonely... because things are hard.  People are homeless, jobless, helpless and hopeless.  He came to give hope, life, purpose.  He came to save and redeem us.   He came to live and die so that we can have a home with Him someday. 
At the right time Christ came.  At just the right time!  He will come again, at just the right time.  In that day, those He has redeemed will be finally home.  There will be no more sin, no more pain, no more death. 

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"








Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On December 8, 1990 - I married Jim Newman! 
Happy anniversary to us!!!  



Saturday, December 3, 2011

We saw "Hugo" tonight - Great movie!  So many things in the movie that struck a chord with me.  I particularly loved this quote:
"I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason too."
We all have a purpose!  Nobody is an "extra part"!  So many good things in the movie  - broken things repaired, orphans becoming sons, dreams restored.  All the things we needed.  
I highly recommend this film!   

Friday, December 2, 2011

Love Even When Stepped On

I have this little stuffed animal that sits on my bed.  My husband gave it to me.  It's a little bear with a heart that, if you press, says, "I love you!" then makes a kissing sound.  It's cute. 
The other day I was putting things away in my bedroom and didn't see it on the floor.  I stepped on it, and it said, "I love you!"  You would think I would learn my lesson and pick it up but didn't and stepped on it a few more times.  Each time it would say the same thing, "I love you!".  I laughed at the silly little bear, then thought of my husband.  So many times I do stupid things... and accidentally hurt him.  But each time he says, "I love you!".  That's true love!  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On this cold night, I'm thankful for...

Free Firewood!  I checked the burn status today.  It's okay to have a fire in the fireplace tonight, so that's where we are. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's sometimes hard, when things don't go the way you think they should, to be thankful anyway.  I "blogged" about this a few years ago.  "Playing the glad game"... it's from Pollyanna.  So, today, I didn't get as much in my paycheck as I'd hoped.  The battery died on Michael's car.  Jim hasn't been getting as many hours of work as he would like and needs. 
The glad game... I am thankful for my job at the High School.  I am thankful that Michael has the use of a car.  I am thankful that Jim does have work when so many others do not.  We have so much for which to be thankful.  There is so much that's good.  It's a matter of perspective.  The glass is half full...

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm thankful for our safe travel to and from the airport this morning in very dense fog.  Joseph left early this morning to fly back to Ohio.  He's almost back now.  He's had a long day and will be back to his dorm in about 1 1/2 hours.  I'm thankful he got to come home for Thanksgiving and that he comes home again in about 3 weeks!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

#27
I'm thankful for:

Sunshine
Recliner
Tea
Red and Green M&M's
An afternoon with the family


Saturday, November 26, 2011

#26 -
Thankful for the smell of bread baking in the oven and the sound of my kids and their cousin playing "Monopoly" in the other room.  
 Tonight - soup and bread for supper, oh, and viewing "Captain America".

Friday, November 25, 2011

Today I am thankful for the coming season.
But, what happened to the Thankfulness of yesterday?  The country went mad today spending money that they don't have on things they don't need.  What happened to the spirit of thankfulness?  What about being content with what we have?  I am increasingly so turned off by the materialism of the season.  Don't get me wrong, we buy gifts for our family, but we're trying to pare down on "stuff"and focus more on Advent. 
Advent - preparing for Christmas.  It's a time of anticipation and remembering why Christ came.  It also serves to prepare us for Christ's second coming.   We will begin this Sunday with our Advent readings.  This is one of the hymns we will sing on Sunday.
O COME, O COME EMMANUEL
O come, O come, Emmanuel,


And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
And drive away the shades of night
And pierce the clouds and bring us light!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving!

I can easily find things for which to be thankful.  But this Thanksgiving it's so easy.  Our son came home from college!  We decided a little over a month ago that we wanted to bring him home this year for Thanksgiving (he's studying at Cedarville University in Ohio), so we got the tickets and made plans.  The cool thing was, we didn't tell anyone!!  His siblings were so excited when their dad pulled into the driveway with him last night!  And today... priceless reactions from his aunt, uncle and cousin!  Sure, we had great food, beautiful weather, all the good things, but by far, having Joseph home was the best!!  We are so thankful for our family and the joy of being together.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful....

Sunshine
House to clean
Food to cook
Beautiful colors of the changing leaves
Anticipation of a great family day tomorrow!





Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Heaven

I'm thankful for Heaven.  I'm reminded again today that this world is not our home.  There is a place prepared for me...and for all who trust in Jesus as their Savior.
 I am glad to be here now and have my family around me.  I'm glad we're healthy, that the kids have school and my husband and I have jobs.  But I'm thinking about those who are not with us and are keenly missed when Holidays come around.  I'm thinking of my grandparents, my parents, my nephew (who's been gone 8 months), our first baby (miscarriage) and so many others... dear ones who we WILL see again.  I'm thankful for the assurance of Heaven and the promise of eternal life!

Monday, November 21, 2011

#21
Short work week.... I had school today and will tomorrow, then, OFF till next Monday.  I'm thankful for the much needed break for all of us.  The students have seemed "ready" for this since the last week of October.  The stretch from August 18 until now is a long one and we need the break!  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day # 20
I'm thankful that God is in control, that He is both Sovereign and He is Good (and His faithful love endures forever)!  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Today I am thankful for where we live. 
We've been in this house for 9 years.  The previous owners were my parents.  Yep, I grew up in this house from the time I was 2.  This home is filled with memories... and I can honestly say, all good ones.  We have celebrated birthdays, Thanksgivings, Christmases, weddings, births, anniversaries, and more recently, the lives of my parents.  My mom passed away nearly 10 years ago and my dad 2 years ago.  I'm cleaning this weekend to prepare for Thanksgiving.  Once again the smell of  "Sticky buns" and Turkey will fill the house as we wait for my brother and his family to come spend the day with us.  I am so grateful to live in this home and to have my husband and children call it their home too! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful for

Friday!
And all that goes with it... pizza, movie, family and knowing that tomorrow I get to sleep a little longer.
Friday, for me, is a mini-Thanksgiving and Christmas every week!.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day Seventeen

Thankful for my salvation.  I love this song.  It expresses my heart so well...

"The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend
The agonies of Calvary
You the perfect Holy One crushed Your Son
Who drank the bitter cup reserved for me


Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus thank You
The Father's wrath completely satisfied
Jesus thank You
Once Your enemy now seated at Your table
Jesus thank You
 

By Your perfect sacrifice I've been brought near
Your enemy You've made Your friend
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace
Your mercy and Your kindness know no end.


Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus thank You
The Father's wrath completely satisfied
Jesus thank You
Once Your enemy now seated at Your table
Jesus thank You"

© 2003 Sovereign Grace Worship | Integrity's Hosanna! Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) | (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
Pat Sczebel



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day #16 - Thankful for a night off from rehearsal!
Most Wednesdays (and some Mondays and Thursdays) I have rehearsal at the high school where I work.  We're doing the musical "Footloose" in February and have already been rehearsing for one month.  On Wednesdays I get home from school and teach piano students till 5:30 then many times turn right around and go back to the school for rehearsal from 6-8 p.m.   Today I emailed the director and found out it's just dance rehearsal tonight!!  I'm so glad for an evening where I didn't have to go back out!  I'm already in my p.j.s....so nice to be home.
I'm also thankful that me dear husband is taxi-ing our daughter back and forth to the rehearsal tonight!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

#15

More things for which I am truly thankful:
Hearing and Sight. 

I'm so grateful that I can see and hear.  I've often wondered (don't ask me why, I just don't know) what I would choose if I could only have one of these senses.  If I couldn't see I would never again be able to look at my children or my husband, or see a beautiful sunset, mountain landscape or ocean scene.  But, if I couldn't hear, well, then there would go music and the voices of my loved ones.  Thankfully I don't have to make that choice.

I am truly grateful for the ability to see and hear.  




Monday, November 14, 2011

Day # 14 Thankful for...


My kids!!  They are the joy of my life.  I have enjoyed every age with them.  I can hardly wait until we are all together again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Today I am thankful for

Hot water.  
The feel of a hot shower is one of the best things about each morning.  I thank God every morning for this.
Hot tea.  This is another thing that gets my through the morning.
Washing dishes - I'm one of those people that actually likes to wash dishes by hand.  It feels so good to soak my hands in hot water, especially on cold days.

"A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water."
~Eleanor Roosevelt~







Saturday, November 12, 2011

Today I am thankful to be warm and dry.  We sat in the cold and rain for my school's rival game last night.  It was a great game (and we won!!) but by the time we got home I was soaked and could not feel my toes.  The cold I was getting, I got.  But, today is sunny and I am in a nice warm, dry house with a cup of hot tea and my tissues. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

This morning I had the honor of participating in the Visalia Veteran's Day concert.  Our Chamber Ensemble was invited to sing at this event.  We sang the National Anthem, God Bless America and a Medley of Armed Forces Anthems.  In between songs were stories of local veterans who served in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.  The stories of these Veterans were so moving... made it hard to sing (or play piano) after hearing them.  These were ordinary young men who enlisted and served.  The stories we heard today were filled with courage and commitment to their "brothers" and their country.  Some of these men have been awarded Bronze Stars, Silver Stars and at least one Purple Heart.  As they stood to be recognize, we applauded.  It was an honor to be involved in honoring and thanking these men and women.
Today I am so thankful for the men and women who served and continue to serve in protecting and preserving our freedom.  
To Sam Garver, Alex Workman and many others, we are so proud of you and thank you with all our hearts.
Thank you to Daniel Unger, who gave his life to protect his fellow soldiers.
To my Dad who served in the Army and was proud to be a part of Post-War reconstruction in Germany, thank you.... I miss you.  You would have loved the event today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011



I am thankful for the students and staff where I work.  I enjoy the relationships with both teachers and students.  We laugh, we joke, we work, we truly do "make beautiful music together." 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I'm thankful for my husband... Jim.  God blessed me with a kind, faithful, gentle, loving, hardworking, honest, man of God who loves me, loves God and loves our children.   This guy has put up with me for 21 years... I'm glad and oh so thankful!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm thankful for old TV shows.  I'm enjoying an episode of M*A*S*H right now. 
I'm also thankful today for my mother's bathrobe.  It's a big fuzzy, red flannel robe with kitty footprint designs on it.   It was brand new 10 years ago.   Mom got it and wore it a few times before getting sick and going to the hospital.  She died 4 weeks later.  The day after Mom died my Dad gave me her robe.  I treasure it.  I'm thankful for its warmth and "coziness".  I'm thankful that I wear something that gave my mom the same warmth. 
I'm extremely thankful that my best friend's surgery to look for more cancer did not find anything.  They caught it early and it is very treatable!

Monday, November 7, 2011


Thankful for the way God speaks.  This hit me right between the eyes this evening. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Today I am thankful for....

Music. 

I'm talking about mostly instrumental music.  It soothes my soul and helps me express myself in ways I cannot with words.  It's apparent as I try to write (in words) on this blog.  
When I was 5 years old I had an accident that severed a tendon in my right hand, making it impossible for me to bend my thumb or reach with it.  I was sent to one of two hand specialists in the country.  This one was in San Fransisco.  My tendon was repaired but I still cannot fully extend my thumb as far as "normal".  I can, however, reach an octave on the piano.  The scars on my hand remind me of God's gift of healing and of music. 
In a little while I'll sit down at the piano and just play.  This relaxes me, helps me express feelings, spurs my praying, comforts my soul and sometimes just makes me happy!  
I am so thankful to be able to play and to enjoy music. 

 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Days 4 and 5

I missed yesterday's thankfulness post.  I'll post two today.
November 4th - I was just glad it was Friday.  I had a kind of hard week.  In spite of that.  I am thankful for the break built into the week.  I'm thankful for family time... for the change in seasons. 

November 5th - Thankful for the smells in my house this morning.  There's coffee cake in the oven, laundry in the washer and the smell of cooler air outside.  I'm thankful for the health of my family, for sleep that restores, for the chance to move at a slower pace today.  


Thursday, November 3, 2011

11/3/11
I'm thankful for cooler weather.  I get to wear my new Mt Whitney Choir sweatshirt to school tomorrow!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful - day 2

November 2nd -
Today I am thankful for friends.  I had a short but nice chat with one of my best friends (who happens to live in France).  She is one with whom I can talk about anything and know she understands and cares.  Her sister is my best friend... she lives in Germany and was recently diagnosed with cancer.  It's tough to be so far away when I would like to be there to help.  
So, I am thankful for my friends... whether they are thousands of miles away, or here in the same town (you know who you are!).  And I am so thankful for the Internet that enables me to communicate with friends far and near.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm Inspired by Others to...

Give thanks for at least one thing each day this month.

November 1 - The beginning of a new month and the feeling of a fresh start that each "1st" brings.  It's a new page in my journal and a new page on the calendar.  I'm thankful for that.   I'm also thankful for God's provision of work.  It's tiring but at least we have jobs when so many do not.  


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Super Heroes

Captain America is my new favorite super hero!  My kids saw the movie over the summer and said I would like it.  We just watched it last night... they were right!  I loved it.  There was no bad language, no sexual inuendos, nothing objectionable.  The best thing about it is the character himself.  Steve Rogers is an ordinary (and smallish) guy who just wants to serve his country.  When asked if he wants "to go kill Nazis" he answers "I don't want to kill anyone.  I just don't like bullies.  I don't care where they're from."  He also throws himself on a grenade (turns out it was a fake and just a "test" by the commander) to save his fellow soldiers.  He is a genuine "good guy".  This is the main quality that makes him the perfect candidate for the drug that makes him "super".  The doctor who has chosen him tells him, "Whatever happens, stay who you are. Not just a soldier, but a good man."
There are very few "good men" in this world.  It's a joy and relief to see one like in the movies!  I am blessed to know some good men. One of them was my father.  My brothers are also good men (as are my brother's in law). I also happened to be married to a very good man.  He has the same qualities as Steve Rogers.  He doesn't like bullies.  He would throw himself on a grenade for those around him.  He has a heart of compassion and so many other good qualities.  He just doesn't have the shield and cool suit.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence."
-George Washington
 Good advice!  I may print this and put it on my desk (and my dashboard, and my kitchen sink...).
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It seems I haven't updated this in awhile.  The past few weeks have been incredibly busy with school and lessons.  Our choral department had a choral festival and concert last week and another one coming up this week.  On top of that our director and his wife had their first baby... a boy (and he's adorable!!).  We also started rehearsals for our school musical.  We'll be doing "Footloose" in February.  This pretty much means that many of my evenings are gone from now until then. 

Even with being busy I am enjoying my job at the High School more and more.  Of course there are days when I'd rather stay home, but, for the most part, I love it.  The director and I have a good rapport with each other (despite the fact that I am a few decades older than he is) and that makes a world of difference. 
I wish things weren't quite so busy at home.  We long for days completely "off" but rarely have those.  I find myself counting the days until Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We're sure to have those days off.  Well, no... Christmas falls on a Sunday this year.  That means playing for worship services.  Well, maybe the next day?

So, this week I turn one year older.  I look back over the past *mumblemumble* years and can't believe how quickly the time has gone.  Sometimes I'm obsessed with planning out the future (as if I could) and other times I'm stuck in the past.  A challenge for me, especially with being so busy, is to live each day, each moment, fully here. 

Well, time for piano students to come.  But first, I need to get something prepared for supper. 
Bye bye, blog.  See you again in a few days/weeks?




Saturday, October 8, 2011

And - reset to  0.
Things were going along pretty well.  The whole forgiveness thing... feeling pretty good about it all, dealing with stuff, moving on and then there it was.  It was an already difficult day and I came across a photo.  Bam!  Messed me up... brought back painful memories.    There I was back at 0.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October!
Fall weather
Home town Festival
Birthdays - mine, my brother's and my niece's
Two new babies born... a neighbor's and a co-worker's!
One Concert and  two Choral Festivals - in the next two weeks.
Counting the days until Thanksgiving, Joseph's return and Christmas.  




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Closet

This has been cogitating for some time.  Now it finally came together this morning.  It's one of those "duh" moments.
At our church for the past 2 months there has been a horrible smell.   There has been a lot of speculation as to the source.  Something in the AC ducts?  Cleaning supplies spilled in a nearby closet? An animal that wandered in there and died?  Finally my husband found the source.  A large container of insecticide had leaked out onto some wood and some bags of artificial flowers.  The wood was thrown out, the flowers were gotten rid of.  The container was disposed of.  The closet was scrubbed, cleaned out and painted.

Finally this morning it clicked.  There is a booklet written by Robert Boyd Munger, called "My Heart Christ's Home",  that talks about a person who has given his life to Christ.  First he invites the Lord into his home, beginning in the Living room, the Lord lives in every place in the house.  Finally He comes to this:

"The Hall Closet
There is just one more matter that I might share with you. 
One day I found Him waiting for me at the door. 
An arresting look was in His eye. As I entered, He said to me, 
"There is a peculiar odor in the house. There is something dead around here. 
It's upstairs. I think it is in the hall closet." As soon as He said this, 
I knew what He was talking about. Yes, there was a small closet up there on the landing, 
just a few feet square, and in that closet, behind lock and key, 
I had one or two little personal things that I did not want anyone to know about 
and certainly I did not want Christ to see them. 
I knew they were dead and rotting things left over from the old life. 
And yet I loved them, and I wanted them so for myself that 
I was afraid to admit they were there.
Reluctantly, I went up with Him, and as we mounted the stairs 
the odor became stronger and stronger.
He pointed at the door. "It's in there! Some dead thing!"
I was angry. That's the only way I can put it. 
I had given Him access to the library, the dining room, the living room, 
the workroom, the playroom, and now He was asking me about a little two-by-four closet.
I said to myself, "This is too much. I am not going to give Him the key."
"Well," He said, reading my thoughts, "if you think I'm going to stay up here 
on the second floor with this odor, you are mistaken. 
I will take my bed out on the back porch. I'm certainly not going to put up with that." 
Then I saw Him start down the stairs.
When you have come to know and love Christ, the worst thing that can happen 
is to sense His fellowship retreating from you. 
I had to surrender. "I'll give You the key," I said sadly, "but You'll
have to open the closet and clean it out. I haven't the strength to do it."
"I know," He said. "I know you haven't. Just give me the key. 
Just authorize me to take care of that closet and I will." 
So with trembling fingers I passed the key to Him. He took it from my hand, 
walked over to the door, opened it, entered it, took out 
all the putrefying stuff that was rotting there, and threw it away. 
Then He cleaned the closet and painted it, fixed it up, doing it all in a moment's time. 
Oh, what victory and release to have that dead thing out of my life!"

I've had some things rotting away in my heart for the past few years.  I try and try to take care of it myself, but can't seem to do it.  Maybe all along the Lord has been waiting for me to just ask Him.  I'm ready for the rotten smell to go. 




Saturday, September 10, 2011

"How do you pick up the threads of an old life? 
How do you go on... 
when in your heart you begin to understand... 
there is no going back? 
There are some things that time cannot mend... 
some hurts that go too deep... that have taken hold."
- from "The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King" 

These words have such meaning.  As I think back to 10 years ago... September 11, 2001; to 2 years ago and some of the most painful times we have been through and then my nephew's death in March, these words ring true.  As a friend of mine just said, there are things that are a "forever process".  Time does not heal all wounds.  We learn to adapt and adjust.  We learn to live with a limp. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

There are things in Scripture that are seemingly impossible.  I think that's because it shows our need of Him.  The whole "Seventy times seven...." thing is one of them. 
Hard things must be meant to drive us to Him. 


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Treat

"I Am Sam".
This was one of those Sunday afternoons when I turn on the TV and hope that there will be a good movie on.  I struck it rich today.... I absolutely love this movie. 

[Synopsis:
Michelle Pfeiffer and Sean Penn give career-defining performances in this humorous and heart-warming film about a mentally-challenged father who enlists the aid of a high-powered attorney to help him regain custody of his daughter. An all-star supporting cast and a spectacular soundtrack complete this unforgettable story of life, love and laughter.]

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Don't have a lot to say I guess.  Just some random thoughts as I fight migraine headache pain.

School has started.
It's still really hot here.
Listening to John Rutter sacred music is good.
I continue to work on the whole "seventy times seven" forgiveness thing.
It's nice to be getting a paycheck again.
(Although) I wish someone would give us 1 million dollars.
(But) I know that wouldn't make us happy.
I'm thinking of re-arranging my family room again.

Yeah, that's pretty much all that comes to mind right now. 
Worst blog post ever.









Saturday, August 27, 2011

King David - blogger

 I'm so glad David wrote down what he was feeling.  He did not sugar coat anything.  He expressed what he was going through and all the while affirming his trust in God.  It helps me to express myself and to know that it's okay to feel (and express) pain, confusion and anger.  He would probably be a blogger if he lived today. 

Save Me, O God

"Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched....

Deliver me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.
Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
Hide not your face from your servant;
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies!
You know my reproach,
and my shame and my dishonor;
my foes are all known to you.
Reproaches have broken my heart,
so that I am in despair.
I looked for pity, but there was none,
and for comforters, but I found none....
I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
For the Lord hears the needy
and does not despise his own people who are prisoners."

-Portions of Psalm 69 - ESV 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Joseph is going back to college tomorrow.  It's a wonderful school, but 4 months away is a really LONG time. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

"When deep injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive...
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future."


"Bitterness imprisons life; love releases it." - Harry Emerson Fosdick


"You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well."  -  Lewis Smedes


"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."  (Matthew 18:21-22)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Piano Lessons

I offer piano instruction in my home in Exeter and am now taking new students.

Here is the basic information:
*Lessons are once per week for 30 minutes.
*Times and Days - I teach on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after school from 4:00 - 5:30.  I currently have Tuesday and Thursday openings.
*Lessons are $15 each week (preferably paid for the month at the beginning of each month)
*Lessons books are provided by me unless you prefer to provide your own at your cost.
*Practicing each day is critical to improving and learning!
*Method - I use Bastien books.  Each student will learn from a theory book and a lesson book.
*Instrument - it is best to have a piano instead of a keyboard, unless it is a keyboard with weighted keys.
*Performances - There are 2 recitals each year, one in December and one in May.  Pieces are memorized and played for a small audience of family and friends.

A little about me:
I majored in Music Education at California State University Fresno and have a BA in Music.
I have a current teacher's credential for K-12 Music.
I have studied privately since graduation and currently play piano for the Mt. Whitney High School choral department.
I have played for many choral groups and churches over the years.

If interested please contact me at:
email:  jeanopiano@gmail.com

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Collaborative Pianist

I learned from my niece, Mary, this summer that the proper title for "accompanist" is now "Collaborative Pianist".  I don't know... I kinda like the old term better.  It is true that accompanists work extremely closely with those whom they "accompany", and often the piano portion is just as difficult as the soloist's portion.  But, the job of an accompanist is to work alongside, to do all they can to help their soloist do their best.  That's my role and I like it.  The term "Collaborative Pianist" elevates the position to a much more "equal" standing with the soloist.  I like that too, but don't want to forget that I'm not the one people come to hear when they go to a concert or recital.  I am there to help... to play in such a way that the soloist (ensemble) is in the spotlight.  It's much like a frame around a picture.  The right frame only accents the beauty of the picture.  Too "gaudy" of a frame detracts attention, too simple of a frame doesn't do it justice. 
Hmmmm.... just thinking.... that's how we should all be, I suppose... living our lives to focus on the ONE who truly deserves the attention, the praise, the focus.  It's not about me.

Having said all that...anybody need an accompanist?  I'm available and my rates are reasonable.  


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"For twenty-three years, I've been dying to tell you what I thought of you! And now... well, being a Christian woman, I can't say it!" - Auntie Em to Almira Gulch in "The Wizard of Oz"


I just love movie quotes.  I couldn't say it better if I tried.
What is a favorite movie quote of yours? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I couldn't decided on a title for this post...

"Another one bites the dust"
"It's happened again"
"They'll know we are Christians by...."
"The new 'unforgiveable sin' "...

We just heard of another pastor who was asked to resign.  He didn't get a chance to really "fight it".  The options were "resign now and get severance pay" or "don't resign now and you get no severance pay".  You may wonder what horrible thing he must have done.  Murder?  Adultery?  Embezzlement?  Nope... they just didn't have confidence in his leadership.  It happened to us two years ago.  It happens all the time to pastors all over the place.  (I know... I've talked to many of their wives!)

"Another one bites the dust" - Yep, another pastor is asked to resign, no second chances, "you're outta here".  "Turn in your keys and don't come back". 

"It's happened again" - Satan's tactics just don't change.  He knows what works, and when it works, why change?  Satan causes division which spreads by means of gossip and slander.  It's often coated in words like "concern, love, the best for..., etc."  It still smells like sulfur to me.

"They'll know we are Christians by..." - These days, people outside "the church" know we are Christians by this kind of "stuff".  I know plenty of people who don't go to church for these very reasons.  Why can't Christians get along?  I mean, aren't we supposed to be the most loving, kind, gracious and forgiving people?  Aren't we supposed to give people the benefit of the doubt?  Offer them second chances?  Christians are not known by love anymore. 

"The new 'unforgiveable sin' " - Apparently these days, it is absolutely a horrible, and unforgivable sin to lack confidence and not be a good (enough) leader.  Yep, a pastor could have an affair (they call it a "moral failure") and get all kinds of help, support, counseling, grace, love and even a  leave of absence.  But if his leadership isn't confident enough, that's it!  (We had one person tell us that if my husband had been unfaithful, they could have forgiven him, but, his lack of confidence... well, that's just too much!). 

It's sad.  It's not surprising.  I long for the day when all will be made right.  The church is full of sinners... every church... but there is supposed to be grace and forgiveness.  I think one of the problems is that we have become churches with a consumer mentality.  There are so many churches to choose from that it's easy to just move around when you get tired of a church (I want better music, cooler looking people, more technology, less technology, bigger and better programs...different color carpet, cafe's, etc).  It's also easy to just get rid of a pastor when you don't like something about him.   Marriages are the same way... too easy to split up and not work out our differences.  The marriage vows say "in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, in plenty and in want, for richer and for poorer"... too bad churches don't go by this. 

Churches should be places of love, hope, grace, loyalty, steadfastness and forgiveness.




Friday, July 22, 2011

This is one of the books I'll read on vacation.  I'm a little skeptical about the story but am eager to read it.  With the losses we've gone through (our first baby 20 years ago, both of my parents in the past 10 years, and my nephew 4 months ago), I'm thinking more and more about heaven.  Someday we will have a grand reunion.  I can hardly wait!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Maybe it's because I spent the morning with my daughter getting senior pictures taken.  Or maybe it's because we spent a few hours last night talking, crying and then laughing with my brother and sis-in-law (remembering their son who passed away in March).  Or maybe it's realizing that in a few weeks my boys are back to college and my youngest starts 7th grade.  I'm realizing how short life is.  Obviously we cannot go back in time knowing all we know now.   I want to treasure every moment... freeze frame every image of my kids, husband, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, friends. I want to re-live moments of hilarious laughter.  I want to savor every hug. 
Each day is precious.  Each little "insignificant" moment is worth remembering.  Today, July 18th, is a gift.  Lord, help me to relish it, savor it, and soak in every moment, because it's from You.