Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Gratitude Attitude

"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

This Thanksgiving, I feel like I have more than ever to be grateful for:

*A good job in a struggling economy - and a job I enjoy, with great co-workers, an amazing boss, and a Christian atmosphere
*A caring, supportive family to whom I can come home every day and be warmed, comforted, and surrounded with their love
*A beautiful home, plentiful, delicious food, and an abundance of material possessions
*The time, resources, opportunity, and ability to continue pursuing my passion for music
*The opportunity to worship the Lord as church pianist
*Wonderful, caring friends whose love transcends the boundaries of time and distance
*And of course, a loving, forgiving, never-failing Savior-Father-Friend who is Always There

The list could continue forever - blessings large and small to count and cherish, for which to lift my voice in thankfulness.

This time of year it is so easy to be thankful. Time off work, holiday festivities, pantries and tables bursting with delicious food, happiness, fun, fellowship, friends, family, laughter, beautiful decorations, barely-restrained-childlike-anticipation, heartwarming carols old and new ringing from houses and hearts everywhere, and so much more make this season - starting with Thanksgiving and continuing through Christmas - truly the most wonderful time of the year.

So, as I think about giving thanks in all things, with belly full, face glowing, and hands and heart warm, it seems pretty easy. But then I wonder....what about January.....bleak and unadorned by holiday magic.....will I be thankful then? Because having a thankful spirit is not just for Thanksgiving when it is relatively easy to give thanks. It is for rainy Mondays, bleak Januarys, heart wrenching, trial-filled days and days of motonous sacrifice, for valleys and plains, as well as the peaks. It is those days that really test whether I have a "gratitude attitude." A thankful heart can transform the bleakest day, the most painful experience into a beautiful act of worship. It is not circumstances that determine our destiny but rather our response, our attitude, our outlook. "Your attitude determines your altitude."

So, this holiday season as I lift my hands and heart to praise God for all that He has blessed me with, I also whisper a prayer that come January, I will make my own heart magic as I choose to give thanks in ALL things.

"...he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]."
~ Proverbs 15:15 (amplified)

Saturday, October 31, 2009


All weeks are crowded with eventful trifles;
at least we in our blindness call them trifles,
although we are constantly discovering their importance
and being constantly astonished over them.
(from Ester Reid Yet Speaking by Isabella Alden)

Trifles. Little things. Why are the little things sometimes the hardest? This week I have been struggling, getting bogged down in the monotony of life, finding it hard to live inspired and energetic. Many days, while I do not live at the height of inspiration and motivation that I want to, I am excited about life, motivated to strive for excellence in what I do, to find ways to go to that next level in at least Something that day. But then there are the OTher days - like this week - days when I am tired, bored, when I cannot find the deeper meaning, the inner inspiration to reach higher, push harder, live. laugh. love. MORE. I lose that zest, zeal, zip for life, and daily living becomes a chore - a bore. But the truth is made of little things - lots of them - they are what will define the majority of my life. Little things...listening to a student with all the love and compassion I can muster as she shares with me her tragic weekend (in which she didn't get enough sleep, lost her DSI tournament, and didn't get to have that party - all tragedies in the mind of a 5th grader.); trying to make phonics flashcard drills just a little less monotonous by pretending we are relaying a secret code through the blends; hugging a little brother as he greets me eagerly when I arrive home; trying to make the house a little more of a haven by whisking away some of the clutter; laughing as a little sister sassily marches out in *quite an outfit*; pushing myself to squeeze in just a bit more practice time, to play that scale just a bit faster, to play the Chopin with even more passion; sipping a cup of fragrant coffee as I attempt to finish that paper; all of these and many, many MORE little things that fill each day are what define my life - are what define ME. And yet seeing their significance and seizing their potential is difficult. At least some days. But that is what I yearn to do - to grasp those little moments, those little things, and squeeze every drop of joy and passion from them.
Oswald Chambers said:

Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking
on the water is easy to impulsive pluck, but walking on dry land as a
disciple of Jesus Christ is a different thing....We do not need the grace
of God to stand crises; human nature and pride are sufficient--we can face
the strain magnificently; but it does require the supernatural grace of
God to live twenty-four hours in every day as a saint, to go through
drudgery as a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence
as a disciple of Jesus. It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional
things for God; but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the
ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this
is not learned in five minutes.

Yet that is just what I want to do - be exceptional in the ordinary things, in the little things, in the dailyness of life. The Trifles are what we must overcome - not the Mountains, not even the valleys, but the plains, filled with miles and miles of sameness, of dailyness, of little things. And yet the trifles also give us the greatest opportunity to Shine, to be a consumed candle that keeps burning, burning, burning, burning, yet does not give out. Trifles = Opportunites to be Exceptional.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

20 Random things about ME!!

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while you're blogging?

Hmmm excellent question. Actually, I have done such a little bit of blogging that I haven't actually snacked yet while blogging!! :D But in general I love bagels, cinnamon sugar toast, honey sunshine with walnuts and fruit and soy milk, and chocolate soy milk...These are a few of my favorite snacks! :)

2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?

I have to pick just 1?? Impossible! I would not want to live without: my piano, my wardrobe, coffee, chocolate

3. Beach, Mountains or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?

Mountains from October to February, Beach from March to September

4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?


5. Who do people say you remind them of?

A drop dead gorgeous super model of course! :D Or a hollywood actress! J/K lol Actually, I don't know just random people that they know and I don't. Which always makes me nervous because I don't know if the person they are talking about is a gorgeous belle or a hideous monster!! It is quite disturbing and disconcerting. I always hope for the best...but you never really know!

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying at home with the fam?

Hmmm depends. When I feel bouncy, bubbly, crazy and brimming with mischief and fun, I enjoy going to parties - when I know people at them to hang out with. Most of the time though I prefer to snuggle up with some of my little siblings on the couch with a nice cup of coffee and one of my favorite books, movies, or TV shows. I also love to play family games. Of course this all depends on whether or not I even have time to indulge in anything enjoyable!! Most of the time I am slaving away on practice or schoolwork.

7. What's your all time favorite movie?

Probably Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea

8. Do you sleep in your make up or remove it like a good girl every night?

I am ashamed to admit that I fall in the bad girl category most every night and simply fall into bed in exhaustion without washing my face appropriately. I am always repenting of this horrible sin and making new resolutions which involve detailed face washing marathons including masks and preventive anti-aging treatments, acne removal, etc., etc., but alas I am afraid that all my resolutions go out the window once bedtime rolls around!!

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it?

I have always wanted to learn ballet, gymnastics, and figure skating, but I am afraid I do not have any hidden talents in these areas - just the desire to learn them!!

10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?

Ummm I can't really think of anything!! I am bad at lots of strange random things - like I can't snap my fingers for the life of me!!!

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?

Nothing - considering I am not married yet!! :D

12. What is something you love to smell?

fresh apple pie, cinnamony anything, soapy fresh showered smell, coffee!!

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.

Practicing 2 hours a day!! It drives my family absolutely crazy!! I also tend to over obsess/ analyze things.

14. When you have extra money (HA!) what's the first thing you think to do with it?

Go shopping!! Clothes, shoes, jewelry, and purses!!!!!

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?

Loud laugher. Mostly when I am too tired and stressed - then I just laugh regardless!!

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?

Kohls, J C penneys, Bath and Body Works, Barnes and Noble

17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time?

Have fun!! :D lots of things - exercise, sleep, read, play family games, watch TV, go shopping, go to the library, I don't know - everything!!! Time is the missing ingredient in my life!! lol

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?

Um a big spender...i guess?? I like to buy clothes and things I want but I also go through long periods without buying anything. Just depends how much money I have and how many things I can't live without!!

19. Who is your favorite character of all time (from a movie or book)? (Can't be real)

Definitely Anne with an E from Anne of Green Gables. I am definitely a kindred spirit with her - maybe even her twin!!

20. Would you want to be famous?

Only sometimes. Mostly not. But I would love to be rich!!! :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Need a brake??

I do!! Sometimes it is hard to tell how to get one admidst my hectic life! Especially when I start wondering when the last time I took a breath was!! Maybe it's just me, but the last time I checked, breathing was essential to living. Hmmm just a thought. Between piano lessons, piano practice, teaching full time, working on my MAT, family life, church - including my duties as church pianist, working out, etc., etc., I don't have much time. Get the picture?? If not, come follow me around for a few days and I think you will get it real fast!!

Recently, a fellow teacher from school shared a devotional with us that went something along the lines of, "Do you ever feel like you are on a train and it is whizzing by so fast that you can't even enjoy the scenery? Well, take heart, because you are not on the train - you ARE the train. So, stop and take the time you need - make choices about where you go and how fast." I thought this was an excellent point - just one problem - I don't think my brakes work anymore!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I'm afraid. A lot. Of spiders, snakes, robbers, fire, tragedies, PAIN, yes, - but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm afraid of people. Now - WAIT - before you run off in mortal terror and think I have some weird phobia or something or wasn't properly socialized (I was homeschooled after all), let me explain. I'm afraid of what people Think .... About Me. I don't know exactly how I developed this debilitating syndrome, but all I can say is I care what people think of me *A LOT* and that has led to fear of them thinking something BAD about me!! I believe the Bible talks about this syndrome - it calls it the Fear of Man. And according to God, this Fear of Man doesn't seem to be a very great thing to have. The Bible says the Fear of Man brings a snare. And I would agree. If you are worried about what people think about you, it is paralyzing. You're afraid to be yourself because "They" might not like it, but you're afraid to Not be yourself, because maybe *they* won't like that either. You're afraid to try new things, you're afraid to share what is really in your heart, and most of all - especially if you are a perfectionist like me - you are afraid to (*GASP*) make a mistake. It's OK for other people to make mistakes but if you make a mistake it is the *End of the World* because they might think something BAD about you. This Fear of Man has led me to lose my confidence and caused me to base my opinion of myself entirely on what "They" thought. Just in case anyone was wondering - that is NOT a fun place to be in! Fortunately, God has placed people in my life that have patiently, persistently reminded me that I am a wonderful, special person because God created me and that No One except for HIM has a right to judge me. After all, who makes the rules?? Who says that everyone that is cool and valuable and special should dress a certain way, act a certain way, BE a certain way?? What makes their *opinion* (because that is all it is!) any more valuable than mine??? We are all equal in God's eyes. SO, I am praying for Courage to Be Myself - the wonderful, special, unique, and yes - imperfect - person that God created me to be. Little by little I am learning to Fear God rather than man and to have the audacity to Be who I am regardless of what ANyoNe (besides GOD) thinks of me. After all, I want to *live* my life to the Very Fullest - Carpe Diem - Seize the day. Not waste it worrying about what so and so thinks about what I did or said. Fact is, if they have the time to think negative thoughts about me, they are probably Not doing such a great job of making the most of their lives!! Life is TOO short for me to waste one second worrying about the *opinions* of people - opinions that I can't do anything about. It is my Life to live not theirs, after all. So, in the words of my lifetime hero Ms. Frizzle - I am going to: Take Chances. Make Mistakes. And... GET MEsSy!!!

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of POWER and of Love and of a Sound Mind."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A moment on the Lips, Forever on the Hips.

I love my Alma Mater. They have a rigorous academic program, inspiring professors, and lots of Opportunities-for-Fun. However, despite all of these wonderful qualities, I am afraid I still have "aught against them." For you see, although their career service program is exceptional and they provided lots of seminars on how to succeed, they did not adequately prepare me for
Life-After-College. You see while I was warned on every side by zealous seniors and helpful Community Advisors to *BEWARE* of the Freshman Fifteen, no one, Not a Single person, warned me of the even more deadly Graduate Gain (or BA Bulge as it is also known). So, as I walked across the stage to receive my diploma, secure in my knowledge that I had successfully avoided the freshman fifteen from freshman thru senior years, I was naively and Blissfully Unaware of what awaited me (Ignorance = Bliss they say). That summer the Graduate Gain struck with a vengance. I hoped that it was merely a "phase" but fall came and the BA Bulge was firmly stuck to my stomach, thighs, and especially my hips. And when I say firmly, I mean firmly. I have been "dieting" for the past year and working out - BUTT (yes - the pun is intentional) - to no avail. I have decided that my problem is *Consistency* and that if I want to see success, I am going to have to find a way to diet and exercise *every* day instead of just a day here and there.
So, with the start of a new school year, I am renewing my efforts to Budge the Bulge. Here is my workout plan:

  • T-tapp Arms
  • Run 1 mile
  • Awesome Legs and Diva Derierre
  • Stretch


  • T-Tapp Ladybug Standing
  • Awesome Legs and Diva Derierre
  • Stretch
  • Swim laps


  • T-Tapp Torso
  • Awesome Legs and Diva Derierre
  • Stretch


  • T-Tapp Legs
  • Awesome Legs and Diva Derierre
  • Run 1 mile
  • Stretch


  • T-Tapp At Home
  • Awesome Legs and Diva Derierre
  • Swim Laps
  • Stretch


  • T-Tapp Ladybug Floor
  • Awesome Legs and Diva Derierre
  • Stretch


  • Rest!!!

That is my workout plan. As for dieting - I am going to mainly focus on eating wise portions of healthy foods (and trying to keep my Friday night ice cream serving down to the small size of 2 or 3 scoops instead of 5 or 6!! : ) Whenever I am tempted to eat something Not-So-Healthy, I've gotta think - "This may taste great on my lips but do I really want this Forever on my Hips?" After all, nothing tastes as good as Skinny feels!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A "Mourning" Routine

Let's face it. The morning and I just really don't get along. I've always wanted to be one of those people who spring from their bed at the start of each day, throw out their arms, and break into singing, "GOOD Morning, Good MORNING, GOooood Morning to YOU!" at the top of their lungs as they skip delightedly to the shower. BUT - I'm NOT. Period. End of story. Unfortunately, however, my boss has this crazy idea that all the teachers at our school should not only be there before school begins, but also (Get this!) be there in time to have teacher devotions and prepare our rooms for the day AND as if that weren't enough, he expects us to be there ON TIME!!!!!!! (Shocking, isn't it?) As all of this must occur at the early hour of 7:40 am, that means that like it or not, the morning and I are going to be permanant Buddies (at least if I want to keep my job). Since last year my boss didn't really love my habit of sliding in there at the very last second before devotions started (if they hadn't already), I am also going to have to leave a couple minutes early (it would also be nice to avoid getting a ticket). Although this completely defies my sense of time managment - which is squeeze everything I can into each moment and wait until the very last second to sprint to my car, throw my *many* bags, totes, and briefcases into my car while hoping I don't break anything or spill my coffee, and book it down the road, hoping that no cops are around (and that if there are I can charm them into not giving me a ticket with my big blue eyes and best puppy dog expression), yelling at any car that happens to go too slowly with not-so-very-well-concealed righteous indignation, and finally flying into my parking space, grabbing all of those bags and running (as best as I can in my heels) inside while praying fervently that devotions haven't started yet and that I have (HOPe beyond hOpe!) avoided that dreadful sweaty, windblown look (which most of the time I haven't). *DEEP breath* Yes. Well, while obviously this is a very *efficient* way of doing things, my boss didn't like it that sometimes I was a wee bit.....well you know......late?? (1 minute max, I PROMISE!!!!)
Sooooo, duh da dunda.....(drumroll please)..... enter new resolutions! Since when school starts each year, there are always so very *many* new things to work on, I decided to start working on my morning routine a bit earlier this year. I figured that maybe if I gradually got up fifteen minutes earlier every three days, maybe it would be easier than all of the sudden going from getting up at 8 am to getting up at 5 am. So, I have been gradually getting up a little earlier every few days. I am proud to say that I am now getting up at 6:15 am almost every day. In the next couple weeks, I still need to move the time up another forty five minutes or so, but STILL - significant progress, don't ya think??
This in a nutshell is my new morning routine:
1 FIRST and Formost - Coffee
If I have to get up, the ONLY way it is going to work is if Mr. Coffee and I can be intimately acquainted - the sooner the better. I get the coffee ready the night before so that I will awake to its tantalizing smells luring me from my bed. And my brother even got me a new coffee mug that has a place to write my to do list and a marker to go along with it! (Now how's that for time management!)

2. Quiet Time
For my quiet time, I read five Psalms and 1 Proverb (that correspond with the date) and two chapters of the old Testament and one in the New (it's a plan by Elizabeth Elliott for reading thru the Bible in a year). I also work on my Scripture Memory (right now I'm almost finished with John 14 - I've already memorized John 15) and spend some time in Prayer (I usually have a lot of sins to confess already - like turning off the alarm so I can go back to sleep, grumbling that the morning is already here, etc.)

3. Exercise
Now it is time to get my lazy butt off the couch and work out! My mom and I are doing this exercise program called T-Tapp which we have renamed Torture Tapp. A lot of days I don't really feel like working out, but as one T-Tapper says - "When you don't feel like working out, just tell yourself "Thanks for sharing - now get up and get moving!"

4. Shower/dress
Then it is time to transform myself from a sweaty slob into a *Gorgeous superModel* (OK maybe not the Super part). This usually involves a shower, much agony over what to wear, lots of makeup, and a battle with the straighter, curling iron, and/or blowdryer.

5. Breakfast
Finally. By this time I am STARVED!!!! and very ready for a healthy breakfast of eggs, toast, milk and more COFFEE!

And that Ladies and Gentlemen is my Morning Routine! I am trusting God's grace and strength to help me be disciplined each day to follow this routine. My new Piano Teacher says that tiredness is all in our brains anyway, so I guess I don't have any excuse, right??

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

i am a person

I know, I know - it seems like an oxi-moron, doesn't it? But sometimes between work, school, piano, working out, family, etc., etc,. etc., it doesn't really seem like I have time to just be a person! To do the things I enjoy, lay around, act goofy - enjoy the life God has given me. If you all thought I had dropped off the face of the planet these last few months, you were just about right! If I didn't have time to be a person, I certainly didn't have time to blog. But, April has finally rolled around and with it, one of the most blessed inventions known to man - SPRING BREAK!!! Whenever I think about the struggles of being a teacher, I remember that five letter word - break - and the four different wonderful ways it presents itself throughout the year - Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring, and Summer, and suddenly, teaching takes on a whole new meaning! : P Anyway, because of this wonderful thing known as Spring Break, I am finally able to be a person again! (And it's a lot of fun BTW! : )
Friday and Saturday I spent lying around and watching TV and doing basically as little as possible. Sunday after church was over, we had a wonderful and very competitive Wii tournament. Below are some pics from the game:

Then Monday we took a family trip (at least most of the the family) to the aviation mueseum in Warner Robbins. It was a lot of fun. I shocked the little ones by declaring that my favorite part was climbing inside the plane simulators they had there. I really didn't understand their surprise as everyone know that I am really a kid posing as a grownup! :) Actually, my favorite part was later on when we stopped at an outdoor shopping mall, complete with Ann Taylor, Victoria's Secret, Bath and Body Works, and Gap to name a few. Hannah and I browsed for a little while and then sought out the starbucks coffee inside of Barnes and Noble. In all seriousness, though, the aviation museum was pretty neat.