Friday, December 21, 2012

How I wish Jack Frost were nipping at my nose...

I have decided I do NOT like South Georgia weather. Actually, I already knew that. I've just re-confirmed it. When it is Christmas and/or winter, it should be cold. Period. The past couple days have been a little nippier, but still no wheres near where I think December is supposed to feel like. I want to wear sweaters, tights, boots, scarves, hats, coats!! Oh well, hopefully I will go up North for grad school. Until then, I will just pretend it is cold.

My schedule has been crazzzzzy and I have been holding on for dear life. Who needs to go for roller coaster rides when your life is a real one?? I have enjoyed playing at the mall though and have even been rewarded with some  tips from kind shoppers!! ;) Maybe they will help fund my Starbucks addiction...Speaking of which, I have discovered two wonderful new things about Starbucks.
         1. They have amazing double expresso drinks that will give you amazing levels of energy.

         2. They are handing out little cards where if you buy 5 holiday drinks, you get 1 free! I got my last
            sticker today - free drink here I come!! :)

I have started a new Christmas tradition of reading a Christmas story to Matt and Bethany in the evening. I think it is even more fun for me than them! I love children's Christmas stories!! We need to squeeze in Christmas baking and games and movies and fun times. There are only a few days left to cram all of the Christmas cheer and activities and fun and craziness in to.

ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! National crisis here!! I have not yet watched ELF, the most incredible Christmas movie of all time! I did start it yesterday when we were baking gingerbread, but still.....This terrible crime must be remedied soon.
On Sunday was the lessons and carols service at my church. It was the first lessons and carols for which I have been music director, so it was pretty exciting (and nerve-wracking!) We have been working our tails off for the past few weeks. Unfortunately, we got a late start working on Christmas music because I did not begin as music director there until October. However, we worked hard with the time we had and had 2+ rehearsals per week, with many of the choir members meeting outside of rehearsal for their own practice sessions. The result on Sunday was very nice. I was pleased, the choir was pleased, the church was pleased. I call it a successful first lessons and carols service. Afterwards, there was a very fun Christmas party at one of the choir member's houses. It was the first (and probably only) Christmas party that I have actually been able to attend this year, so I really enjoyed it an extra bunch. They had this amazing coffee there made with a Senseo maker. That was the first time I had sampled coffee from a Senseo, and I have to say, I now really want Santy Claus to bring me my very own Senseo coffee maker.

On a random side-note, you never know what you may find at our house. The other day, I took a break from practicing and walked into the kitchen to get a drink and this is what I saw:

 Apparently, cleaning the kitchen is not enough for some people and they feel the need to also turn it into an arctic scene for a coke commerical...

With all of the craziness going on, it has been difficult to fit in enough practice time, but I have been trying. Pretty much every second that I am not running around like a manaic, I am sitting at the piano, trying to make sense of all of this:

P.S. - I have been working this post for a while and today the weather has turned cold and Jack Frost actually is nipping at my nose - at least in a South Georgian kind of way!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

That Explains a Lot

I stumbled across this article from

It explains in some small way how difficult being a serious pianist is.

Before I started taking piano, I had always imagined the Conservatory students to have it so good – I mean, for their homework, they get to play guitar, or jam on their saxophone, or sing songs! What fun! Compared to sitting in lab for four hours studying the optical properties of minerals, or discussing Lucretian theories of democracy and politics, I would play piano any day.

But after almost three years of piano at Oberlin, I understand just how naïve this is. Playing music for credit is not “easy” or “fun” or “magical” or “lucky.” Mostly, it’s really freakin’ hard. It requires you to pick apart your piece, play every little segment over and over, dissect it, tinker with it, cry over it, feel completely lame about it, then get over yourself and start practicing ...again. You have to be precise and diligent, creative and robotic. And then – after all of this – you have to re-discover the emotional beauty in the piece, and use it in your performance.

Yeah, good luck with that. There’s no way, right?

Except that so many people here can do that, and do it every semester. I swear, from just my 2-credit piano lessons, I’ve gained an entirely new respect for the musicians here at Oberlin. I honestly don’t know how they do it – how they play their music with such bravery and intensity, don’t buckle under the pressure. You have to be such a strong and confident individual to be successful in the Conservatory. Don’t get me wrong, you have to be strong and confident to be successful in just about anything you do – but with music, there’s a deeper emotional component to your failures and successes. If you fail a chemistry test, it’s because you either didn’t study enough, or just aren’t that good at chemistry (the latter of which is totally understandable). But if you fail at music, it can say something about your character. It could be because you didn’t practice enough – but, more terrifyingly, it could be because you aren’t resilient enough. Mastering chemistry requires diligence and smarts, but mastering a piano piece requires diligence and smarts, plus creativity, plus the immense capacity to both overcome emotional hurdles, and, simultaneously, to use that emotional component to bring the music alive.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful .. er I mean.. the Busiest Time of Year

I've decided that I'm going to stop making resolutions about how I'm going to do better about blogging. Maybe I will actually blog MORE if I don't make resolutions. It's worth a try anyhow. Anywho, life has been its normal extremely crazy self except with some abnormal extra craziness thrown in including some difficult trials which I don't want to talk about because I want this to be a generally happy post and it won't be if I start talking about all the sad stuff. Anyway, MoVing, Thanksgiving has already come and gone!! Unbelievable! We had a "small" Thanksgiving for us - in that we had no company and even some of our family wasn't there - namely Josh, Kristi, and Ashlyn. That meant we had a microscopic group of only 10 people plus Sofi. We actually fit around one table this year with even a couple seats left over. We probably should have taken a picture to commemorate that epic moment but we were all too busy stuffing our faces.

I have decided the reason I never feel rested after a "break" is because they seem to be even busier than regular life. Wednesday was the first day out of school. I got up at like 5:30 and got ready to go to my piano lesson in Macon. I was gone to it from 7 until 4:30 ish, then when I got back, Hannah and I ran/ walked a couple miles. After supper, I made the apple and pumpkin pies (from scratch) and did a bunch of other stuff that I don't remember anymore. At some point, I crashed into bed.

Thanksgiving morning, I was up at 4:00 am so I could get in a couple hours of practicing and some other stuff before we left at 8 to run in the Turkey Trot. I did my first 5K - still can't run all of it but I did a mixture of walking and running. Hannah and I did it together which made it extra fun. We came back and ate some of my Mom's famous pumpkin pancakes and bacon and then had the most relaxing part of the whole break - snuggling on the couch with Sofi, sipping hot chocolate, and watching the Macy's Day Parade.  I haven't been able to sit and watch it in a long time so that was pretty nice. Thanksgiving was the funnest and most relaxing of all the days because I also got to play a family game and watch a movie. All of those things have not happened in the same day in at least 47 weeks. We also went on a super long bike ride.

Friday, I was up early again, trying to get some work and practicing done before I headed out to work/ teach at Jamestown Piano from 10 until 6. It was the first time I have worked instead of shopped on Black Friday but I didn't have any money to spend anyway, so it was OK. Plus, I got to decorate the store for Christmas. The rest of the weekend brought more practicing, decorating for Christmas, playing at the mall, church music preparation, music directing at church, exercising, and at least 103 other things that were on my list which I no longer remember. I just know it was crazy busy and exhausting!!

Christmas is such a busy time of year for me. As if my current schedule was not insane enough, I now have rehearsal on Thursday night in addition to Tuesday night (and we will have even more if the music is not up to par by the Festival of Lessons and Carols service), all the responsibilites of special Christmas services/music at church to plan and prepare, playing at the mall for a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays - and all the music for that to practice, my students' Christmas recital, and a million other random things. Plus, I have to keep up with my 4 and a half jobs, all my practicing for my lessons, grad school prep studying, exercising, etc., etc., etc. I am also in charge of Christmas cheer at my house so I need to get on that. Yes. Hopefully, you get the picture. According to the movie ELF, elves only need 40 minutes of sleep a night. It is time for me to speedily develop elven characteristics. I will add that to my to-do list for today. Well, I had better go practice!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

24 hours

No, I'm not dead. I know that is a shock, seeing as I haven't posted in a million years, but actually it is true. It's just called My.Life. Which is to say, my very crazy, super busy, hectic, exhausting life where there is not much time for such pastimes like blogging. This is very unfortunate though because I have actually been thinking like a blogger and wanting to blog! I have written so many amazing blog post in my mind, you would not even believe their awesomeness. Sadly they just never made it here.

For the past 24 hours, I have been spending time with my family at Hilton Head Island. They get to enjoy it for a whole week but sadly 24 hours was all I could squeeze out. I came Saturday night after spending the morning and afternoon practicing. It is bad enough I have to miss Sunday - I couldn't afford to miss Saturday too. Oh, the joys of being a pianist. I have to leave tonight to get back to the daily grind of all my multiple jobs and hours and hours of practicing and whatever else it is that I do each day. The little bit of time I have been able to be here has been fabulous though! We went to the Crazy Crab last night for dinner, which was Delish. I LOVE, love, Love the Crazy Crab!! We have gone there for years whenever we come to HHI, and it holds so many memories. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is super cool with a huge fish tank and a sea diver and whatnot. Today we spent at the beach which was incredible. The waves are so much better here than at SSI. Mom and I took a couple walks and I took a couple naps on the beach and just chillaxed and soaked up sun. Before we went, I went on a walk/run for about an hour. It makes me proud just to get it in.

After I eat some delicious hamburgers with my incredible family (plus Maddie and Dianna which are basically like extensions of my family), I will head back. Fortunately it is short drive. I am about to research the closest Starbucks so a Pumpkin Spice Latte or a White Peppermint Mocha can keep me company on the way back.

What is your favorite vacationing spot? Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?

I am a beach babe all the way!! :)

What is your favorite fall drink?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pizza My Heart

OK. 2 things.

1. Pizza My Heart is an awesome movie. We watched it the other day on Netflix and it was SO cute! It is basically a twist on the classic Romeo and Juliet story about two Italian families - the Prestolanis and the Montebellos who have been at odds with each other for hundreds of years. It takes place in Verona, New Jersey, (as opposed to Verona, Italy like Romeo and Juliet) where the two families own competing Pizzerias. Gina Prestolani and Joe Montebello meet and fall in love. As to what happens - you will have to watch it for yourself to find out! I will tell you this though - sparks fly (literally!), hearts are won, broken, and mended, and lots and lots of delicious Pizza is made! If you want to find out more about the movie you can go to the International Movie Database:

I feel that I should also mention what a fun day that was when we watched the movie. It was very, very rainy, thanks to tropical storm Debby and we snuggled in with our computers, blankets, and coffee to watch it. It was so cozy  with the rain pouring outside and us all curled up inside! (Not to mention the movie was adorable!!) After we watched the movie, my mom made us waffles for lunch, which were delicious!! BUT, I have to say that despite how delicious the waffles were, what I REALLY wanted was pizza!! And not just any pizza but delicious homemade pizza!! Which brings me to my second point:

2. A couple weeks ago, we made some AMAZING homemade pizza!! It was rainy that day too, and homemade pizza was just the right thing. Kristi and Josh came over, and my Mom, Kristi, Hannah, and I all worked together to make these delicious pizzas. Each one was like a work of art! :)

I have been forgetting to ask my questions at the end of each post. So - here goes! :)

1. Is there a really cute movie you have watched recently?

2. Do you ever make homemade pizza? What are your favorite toppings to put on pizza?
      I like to put lots and lots of cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, and black olives. Also, Italian Seasoning and    

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wrappin' it Up

Lately, I have been having lots of fun concocting delicious lunches for myself. Mostly, my creations have taken the form of wraps. Here are a few of my recent experiments:

This delicious wrap consisted of a Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Wrap filled with my own special Tuna recipe. I mixed together tuna, mayonnaise, a squirt of dijon mustard, olives, avocado, grapes, and pecans and put it inside the wrap, along with tomato slices and green-leaf lettuce.

This is a traditional wrap with a Southwestern Flair. It consisted of a whole wheat wrap with ham, Mexican 4-cheese, salsa, tomatoes, and a little ranch. I then fried it in the skillet in some butter (Butter makes everything better).

Another wrap I made that is not pictured was made with a Spinach wrap, turkey, provolone cheese, avocado, ranch, and tomato. I then fried it in the skillet.

All of these wraps were absolutely DELICIOUS!! I heartily recommend them. Actually, I'm getting hungry just thinking about them. How much longer til lunch??!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Reading Review: Piano Lessons

I am trying to squeeze in some extra reading during the summer - since I never really have time for it the rest of the year! One book I read recently was Piano Lessons: A Memoir by Anna Goldsworthy. This book is written from Anna's perspective and describes her lessons with her piano teacher, Elinora Sivan, over a period of several years. Anna began taking lessons as a precocious child and gradually falls in love with the piano and decides to become a concert pianist. Her teacher offers her words of wisdom on not only how to play the piano but also on how to live life. She is an exceptional teacher, who doesn't settle for simply playing the notes but insists on true artistry. I really enjoyed this book. Mrs. Sivan reminds me of my own teacher Louise Barfield. Mrs. Sivan studied in Russia, and Ms. Barfield studied with a Russian teacher at Juilliard, Adele Marcus. Ms. Barfield says some of the same things Mrs. Sivan says like, "Listen with your eyes, see with your ears" and "What makes the difference between being good and being great is the little details." They both want their students to get beyond merely playing all of the correct notes with good technique and seek to get inside the composer's mind and determine what he or she what trying to convey through the music. I found this book inspirational, riveting, and easy to relate to. I would recommend it to anyone interested in music and especially to those pursuing a career in it. For me, it motivated me to practice harder and be more dedicated to being a true artist. Any book that does that is well worth the time it takes to read it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And Then There Were Two...

So this weekend instead of the normal house-full it was just me and my Dad. Yup. The fantastic five, Mom, and Joe went to Greenville to work with Ashlyn at a children's conference at the Evangelical Institute and Tay went on a missions trip to New Orleans, leaving me A-Lone. (Well, technically with Dad but since he was at work all day, it pretty much felt like I was alone). It was pretty nice most of the time. I got to practice all day with no interruptions. I broke up the practicing with some working out and snuggling with Sofi. Then, at night Dad and I went out to dinner. So, it was pretty fun but I still missed the little dears. It was SO quiet that it was a little creepy. They are all back now though, so life can resume its normal crazy quality! :)

Random interesting story...Saturday night we were at B & Js waiting for a table. I was mentally rehearsing my pieces. I had my hands by my side and I guess I was moving my fingers some as I played through the music in my mind. An older gentleman noticed and said, "Are you practicing?" I said sheepishly "Uh, yeah, actually, I am." We started talking about music and piano, and I actually ended up giving him a business card! :) Moral of the never know when using your time wisely might actually pay off!!

I saw this idea on another blog lately - a few questions to its readers after every post. (Actually probably a lot of blogs do that, but I just noticed it on this one.) I was thinking it would be a great idea to incorporate on mine (when I actually post that is!). So here goes:

1. What do you do when the other members of your house are out of town? Do you like it or is it lonely?

2. What is your favorite type of pizza? Totally random, I know, but we are watching Pizza My Heart and the pizza on there looks A-Mazing!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rain, Rain ,Go Away

I.Love.Summer. The end. Period. It is just so generally awesome. Of course, I still do not have enough time to do everything I dream up but it is pretty awesome just the same and contains way more possibilities than during the school year. Of course, practicing takes most of the day, but with the rest of the time it is super fun to dream up all kinds of activities, goals, plans, and projects. So far, we have gone to the library (nerdy I know, but so fun! I don't always love to read - I have *selective* reading tastes which some people refer to as picky *GASP* but I do love the atmosphere of a library. I get the wonderful sensation of all of this knowledge right at my fingertips. It makes me feel kind of tingly and very energetic), watched some old Hayley Mills movies that we have been wanting and wanting to watch - like Pollyanna and Summer Magic, ridden our bikes to the Marina to have our quiet time, and had lots of cozy moments eating lunch together while watching Andy Griffeth, Brady Bunch, Father Knows Best, and Leave it to Beaver. I have lots more plans written in my handy dandy little notebook. cSadly, it has been raining every day so we have been unable to visit the beach or the pool. Sniff. Tear. Hoping for Sunny Days soon!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Of Life and Plans and Finally Blogging

It has been a long time since I have blogged. Yes, yes it has. I don't know where the time and my good intentions all go. Probably the same place as socks. I wouldn't be surprised. Soooooo, a lot has happened - my brother Josh got married, my brother Joe graduated from high school, and I feel pretty sure some other interesting things happened too - I just can't remember them right now. I do know though that I have been extremely busy!! but that shouldn't surprise any of us by now. I had a lot of good blog post ideas I was planning to write, but at this point, I think I am just going to start fresh with the current moment. If you want to know about some of the major events of the past few months, check out my Mom's blog: Other than that, I have been practicing, teaching, and trying to stay sane (yeah, right!). I just finished the school year and am more than ready for summer break. That is definitely one of the best perks of being a teacher. And, of course, since it is the summer, it is time for my list of idealistic goals and plans! I tried to not make quite as many this summer, but I am not at all sure that I succeeded. Here are a few of my goals for this summer:

1. Practice!!! and Practice! and Practice!!!! This is my one and only chance to practice all day. I had better make the most of it. Grad school auditions will be here before I know it...

2. Memorize the book of Philippians.

3. Do some "artsy stuff." Pinterest I will be paying you a visit soon...

4. Study music history, music theory, sight singing, ear training, and piano literature. I have to pass exams on these  subjects as part of the entrance into MM programs.

5. Be active! (When I am not practicing) Walks, swimming, Zumba, bike riding...

6. Have fun!! :) Yes, I do think this would be a nice goal. Beach, pool, movies I never have time for, spend time with friends and family...

Well, I think that about wraps it up for now. Here is to summer and to keeping up with my blog(s) better! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Little Drops of Sunshine

It's the weekend! Yay!!! Time for peace and tranquility, relaxation and fun. We all get to take a break from our normal busy schedules and just sit back and smell the roses. Yeah right. That is what we all long for, but for most of us, the weekend is just as busy if not busier than the work week. Housework, baseball games, guests, baking, errands, piano lessons, homework, projects galore...whatever we didn't have time for during the week and MORE - that is what our weekends are like. BUT, even in the midst of the crazy, hectic, *busyness*, we can enjoy this weekend and find peace and rest and fulfillment.  Beauty is all around us. God is all around us. Our blessings are numerous. The work we do is fulfilling. We are created to work after all - not to just sit around. Let's celebrate this weekend even in all of its hectic to-do lists and open our eyes to the magic of the ordinary things.  Jesus Calling says, "You can also find many hints of heaven along your pathway, because the earth is radiantly alive with My Presence. Shimmering sunshine awakens your heart, gently reminding you of My brilliant Light. Birds and flowers, trees and skies evoke praises to My holy Name. Keep your eyes and ears fully open as you journey with Me." This weekend, I *choose* to open my eyes and find God in the little things.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reach High

Well, Spring Break is over (sniff, tear) and now it the last push until the summer! I got a lot done during Spring Break. But sadly, not nearly all that I wanted to do - of things from my to-do list, of practicing, or of fun things.  Isn't that how it always is though? I never quite get all done that I wanted or planned to do. I always make lists and plans that are nearly impossible to actually achieve, but I try with all my might to accomplish them nevertheless. And, despite repeated helpful suggestions from people that I should shorten my lists, or lower my goals, I think that just maybe I prefer to have such high plans that they may never actually get done. At least, then I have something to strive for. I was listening to Anne of Avonlea on audio book on my way to Macon on Saturday and a dialogue in there between Anne and the minister's wife, Mrs. Allan, expresses my thoughts perfectly. 
(Anne) "Oh I don't know. I've come so far short in so many things.....I haven't lived up to my ideals."

"None of us ever do," said Mrs. Allan with a sigh. "But then, Anne, you know what Lowell says, 'Not failure but low aim is crime.' We must have ideals and try to live up to them, even if we never quite succeed. Life would be a sorry business without them. With them it's grand and great. Hold fast to your ideals, Anne."

And that is just what I intend to do. So, I will keep setting high, if nearly impossible, goals for myself and keep on working just as hard as I can to meet them.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Life Lately and the Hiatus of the Warming Season

I know I have disappeared from the blogging scene for a while now. Life just seems to whirl faster, and faster. My life consists of: practicing, teaching all day, practicing, teaching my six piano students, practicing, exercising, practicing, driving to Macon for my piano lesson on Saturdays, practicing, going to church on Sundays (Sun. morning = job as church pianist), practicing. Get the picture? Seriously, though, piano is so time-consuming it does not leave much time for anything else. Especially when I also have a full time job and some part time jobs.

Highlights from the last few months have included: a visit from Abby, getting accepted into Brevard's summer music institute, Spirit week at school, and general random awesomeness like finally watching Phantom of the Opera (with Abby) which I LOVED, going out to dinner with the fam, and a day off from school to visit the ever delightful beach.

And now....drum roll is ....SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As usual, I have big plans....not of places to go but of to-do lists, projects, and things I always want to have time for but never do.

Plan for Spring Break:

1. LOTS of piano practice
           I plan to practice pretty much all day (think 8 hours) during Spring break. I have a lot to get done - repertoire to learn and perfect for a concert I'm giving at the end of April and repertoire to learn for grad school auditions in the fall. I'm hoping to accomplish a lot while I have some extra time to practice. (And, no, this is not excessive. Many people with the same goals I have practice 8 hours on school days and practice 10-12 hours on weekends and breaks. It just takes a LOT of time, hard work, and dedication to be a top-notch pianist. Think Olympic athlete.)

In the time that is left....

2. Fresh air and exercise
      Beach, long walks, bike rides to the Marina. Maybe some dancing and Zumba...

3. Random projects: get my hair cut, get Sofi's hair cut, go to the bank, my taxes, help Kristi with wedding prep, make and mail shower invitations, wash and vacuum my car, etc., etc.

4. Awesome times of funness such with the fam, movies, TV shows, shopping, crafts, and laughing hysterically with Hannah

Yes. So those are my plans. I never really seem to have time for all that I have planned BUT there is always a first time for everything!! To the best Spring Break EVER and finally doing everything on my list!!!!!! <3

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Each of our paths is so uniquely our own. Sometimes I wonder at the seperate journeys God has us on. They are all so different, His calling on our lives so individual. At times I hurt because people do not understand mine, but do I really understand theirs? We all are so quick to judge another's life because it is not our own.

A passage from  Jesus Calling says, " I have called each of My children to a different path, distinctly designed for that one. Do not let anyone convince you that his path is the only right way. And be careful not to extol your path as superior to another's way. What I require of you is to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Me - wherever I lead."

I do not completely understand why our paths are all so different but I suppose it is because God has a special purpose in the world for each of us, and He only needs one person for that specific purpose - you or me or the lady down the street. We don't need to worry about why our story looks so much different from someone else's - we only need to keep our eyes on Jesus, trusting that He will complete the good work he has begun in us, and give our calling, our purpose, our path all we have to give.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

For when I am weak...

"You need Me every moment. Your awareness of your constant need for me is your greatest strength. Your neediness, properly handled, is a link to My Presence. However, there are pitfalls that you must be on guard against: self-pity, self-preoccupation, giving up. Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice - deep dependence on Me, or despair. The emptiness you feel within will be filled either with problems or with My Presence. Make Me central in your consciousness by praying continually: simple, short prayers flowing out of the present moment. Use My Name liberally, to remind you of My Presence. Keep on asking and you will receive, so that your gladness may be full and complete."

from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

For when I am weak... 

           ~  Then is HE Strong. ~

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Singleness Appreciation Day

Valentine's Day has come and gone yet another time. For many people who are without that special someone, it is a sad day full of regret, longing, and loneliness. "Singleness Awareness Day," as it is often called, reminds lonely hearts everywhere to be miserable and count the curses of singleness. BUT I am here to tell you - it doesn't have to be that way! Singleness can be and IS a blessing! Here are some reasons why:

1. Singleness gives you a chance to pursue your hobbies, dreams, and goals. You have the whole rest of your life to be married - you will most likely only be single for a relatively small portion of your life. So, live it up! Take classes in something you enjoy, travel to a place you have always wanted to visit, spend time developing a talent you have never had a chance to hone, find your dream job. Once you are married, time for these activities will be much more limited.

2. Singleness gives you freedom. You can pick up and move across the state - or to another country - if you wish. You can change jobs or go back to school. You can plan your own schedule. Once you are married, you and your spouse will have to plan together.

3. Singleness gives you a chance to focus on the most important relationship of all. If you are a Christian, being single allows you to pour all of your love into Christ. 1 Corinthians 7 says "He that is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But he that is married cares for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife....The unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord...but she that is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband."

4. Singleness allows you to build other important relationships in your life. When you are married, much time will necessarily be spent with your spouse, developing your relationship with each other. While you are single is the perfect time to build strong, close-knit relationships with family and friends.

5. Singleness is simpler. This may seem like a silly reason, but think about it. How much stress, heartache, headaches, and mini-crises do you hear about every day just from relationships with significant others? It just goes with the territory. No relationship is easy, and dating/marriage is the most difficult of all. Men are complicated. Women are complicated. Men and women understanding each other's complexity = impossible. Seriously, though, having a boyfriend/ girlfriend/husband/wife does NOT fix everything and make all your dreams come true. This isn't Disney or a romance novel. Relationships are a lot of work and add their own problems and stresses to an already full and stressful life.

(Or women, if you are a guy!)

6. Singleness is really out of our control. Sure, you can go out looking for the perfect someone. And sure, if you just sit at home and twiddle your thumbs, your prince/princess is probably not going to appear. However, that being said, you can not MAKE the right person come along. When it is time, you will meet him or her. If you try to force a relationship to happen before it is time, chances are you will end up with the wrong person. Better to be single forever than to be trapped in a relationship that brings you nothing but sorrow and misery. to waste it away bemoaning something we cannot change.

Soooooo....ENJOY your singleness! Celebrate it! For most of us, this is just one season of our lives, and one that will soon be over. So, treasure each moment as a single person and resolve to get the most out of this time in your life.

Happy Singleness Appreciation Day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

God's Measuring Stick

Ever feel like no matter how hard you try, you just don't measure up? I feel like that a lot. It is probably the perfectionist in me, but I just want to excel and exceed in all areas of life and when I don't and when others think I don't and when I think I don't, it can be very discouraging. I always try to do the right thing, and I think that others should be able to see that and not criticize what they do not understand. But, of course, life is not always like that, people don't understand and they do criticize and I don't understand them and I criticize. Sad but true. The good news? God doesn't expect me to be perfect. In fact, He knows I never can. And when God uses His measuring stick, He does look at my intent. God sees how hard I am trying and how badly I want to do right, and He is pleased. "Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart." People may look at appearances and results, as they see them, and say I don't measure up, but God looks at my motives and intentions, as they really are, and He says through Christ I am perfect and complete. Now that is good to hear.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Revenge of the Bridesmaids

So. About a week ago I got into a fight. I know those of you who know me are surprised - fights probably don't seem like what someone as charming, peaceable, sweet, and loveable (and don't forget humble!) as me normally participate in. But, when we went to try on bridesmaids dresses for Kristi's wedding, it happened. Or, supposedly it happened. Or at least we told Taylor it happened.

It all started innocently enough - Taylor texted Mom to see how the day had gone with trying on bridesmaids dresses and all, and since Mom was driving, Hannah texted for her. It seemed boring to just say the day had gone well so she said that everything had gone well EXCEPT that Kim and I had gotten into a fight. We expected Tay to be like, "Yeah, right," and that be that. One problem - Tay never did! The story kept growing - each time Tay texted back, we added a new preposterous (we thought) detail. It evolved to a final version in which Kim would not share the cheese at Olive Garden with me and said my dress was ugly and then punched me in the nose. Then, I refused to have her ride home with the rest of us because I was scared she would hurt me again, so she had to stay in Savannah at David's Bridal and wait for her mom to pick her up. We never thought Tay would believe it, but he did, called Joe to ask him about it, who then called me to see what had happened. Guess what? Joe believed it too. And as the story spread around, so did my dad and the rest of my family. It made for a VERY amusing car trip home as we spun our yarn and laughed incredulously at the trust of the rest of the family. We kept it going until we heard my dad was furious at Kim for hurting me. I figured I'd better call and tell him that actually she hadn't. But, we asked him to not tell the others, and I arrived home with makeup on my nose to make it look bruised and continued the act a bit longer. Finally, we told the truth and had a good laugh. So, moral of the story, do not rest assured that when you make up a preposterous story for a joke that others will automatically understand it is only a JOKE. People will actually believe some pretty outrageous things. At any rate, it makes for a good family story. Generations from now, we will still be talking about the time I got in a fight. Only maybe we won't tell our grandkids that it didn't actually happen. After all, they need a tough grandma, right?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Get Back Up Again

Ever feel like no matter how hard you try, you just keep messing up? Your list doesn't get done, you let people down, you don't meet your goals. If it doesn't happen to you, I congratulate you. You are of all people most fortunate and successful. You also probably 1. do not live on earth or 2. have an unduly inflated view of yourself or 3. are content with small accomplishments. Very small. Because, let's face it, this is something that all of us who are trying to live a successful, productive, exemplary life deal with at some point or another. It is something I deal with almost weekly (if not daily). It is so easy to beat myself up, get super discouraged, give up in despair and bury myself under the covers with some ice cream and chocolate. But, the truth is, none of these strategies are going to result in success and satisfaction. So what are you supposed to do when you fail? What am I supposed to do when I fail? The answer is simple yet surprisingly hard to do. Get back up again. I have note cards that show a picture of a girl roller skating and say "Success consists in getting up once oftener than you fall down." And you know what? As simplistic as that sounds, it is true. As long as you have the courage to keep trying "just one more time," you will make progress and you will eventually be successful. You never really hear of people who never, never gave up despite the odds not succeeding at the end. The people who really do fail are the ones who get discouraged and throw in the towel. So, although I feel a little discouraged right now because this week has not gone how I have planned, I have not been following my New Year's resolutions even though it is still January, and I haven't gotten half the things done that I wanted to this week, I am not going to give up, give out, or give in. I am going to be brave, get back up again, dust myself off, and keep on persevering towards my goals. Who knows? This may be the time I finally succeed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Visit

After Christmas, Hannah, Bethany, and I traveled to South Carolina for a couple days to visit Ashlyn. She had been wanting us to come see her new house, so this was the perfect chance to do so. We visited our grandparents while we were there, plus I met up with old friends and professors. We had a great time. It was wonderful to see everyone and it was a lot of fun to hang out with Ashlyn. We enjoyed shopping, walking downtown, eating lunch in a quaint Italian cafe downtown, watching chick flicks, and just spending time together. The couple days we had there were over very quickly, but it was a great trip and I think everyone would agree it was time well-spent!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Cousin for Christmas

Some of you may have been wondering who the "Amber" that I mentioned in my last post was. Here's the scoop: my cousin (Amber!) needed to find a place to do her student teaching in order to complete her degree. So, she worked it out with the school I teach at (and Joe goes to) to do her student teaching there. So, Christmas Eve, she arrived at our house, complete with all her winter clothes and all her summer clothes (As we explained to her that the way the weather works around here is that it could be 80 one day and 40 the next. This is NOT an exaggeration.) She spent Christmas with us, got to see how crazy we really were (we tried to warn her, but, well, some things you just have to see to believe), and decided to stay (or maybe she just didn't have any choice). At any rate, we now have one additional member of our family! She moved in with Hannah and Bethany and seems to be fitting in nicely. She is holding her own quite nicely and has even shown us that she also has a devious, crazy, mischievous side!!! :) a nutshell

In an effort to capture some of the main events of December quickly so that I can move on (seeing as it is mid January!), here is a list of some of the highlights:

  • Musical opportunities - I kept busy with my music over Christmas, playing a concert at First Baptist Church in Cochran, playing for Christmas parties, and accompanying a children's choir at Christ Church on St. Simon's Island. They were wonderful opportunities which will hopefully open the door to future chances to play as well.
  • Christmas party at church - this will forever go down in infamy due to some events regarding the um "12 days of Christmas," six geese a laying, my dad, and some...uh...."air freshener." That is all I am going to will have to talk to an eye witness if you want more details! :)
  • My students' piano recital - this was a great chance for my little students to join with two other teachers' students and play Christmas carols. I was so proud! :)
  • Christmas Baking - Who knew baking Christmas cookies could be so much fun? We put on movies (like Elf!!) or Christmas music non-stop and baked away. Our pantry and our kitchen were proof that some epic baking took place!! And of course, seeing as it was OUR family who was baking, there were some "unusual" occurrences with some of the cookies - key words: Benjamin, ninjas, my sweetheart, the Gingerbread man, and MORE!
  • Kidnapping the "Sherris" - This tradition began a couple Christmases ago with the kidnapping of Jase and the Ds. In the absence of those dearly beloved people, we felt that we must continue it with the kidnapping of our dear friends the "Sherris." Armed with all the (toy) pistols we could find, we barged into their house and told them they were being kidnapped and must come with us!! :) They were all loaded into our huge van, and then we drove around and enjoyed Christmas lights together! :) Afterwards, we enjoyed some delicious pizza and general fun times together.
  • Christmas Eve - we finished up a whirlwind of preparations for our party that evening, then my family headed off to our church and I headed to play for the church I am currently serving as pianist of. When we got back, Ashlyn and Amber were there! (more about who Amber is later! ;) We all worked together to set up all the beautiful hors d'oeuvres and goodies we had made. Taylor made it home just in time, and we all enjoyed the good food amid much laughter and fellowship. After eating, we commenced the annual sibling gift exchange. This is always an epically good time with many tricks being played, hilarious moments where we are rolling on the floor in laughter, and general craziness and fun times. After that, we normally watch a Christmas movie together or play games but this year it was so late and we had church the next day, so we forwent the movie in favor of a few hours sleep.
  • Christmas Day - we normally have a traditional breakfast before opening presents. This year, however, with Christmas being on a Sunday, we did have the traditional breakfast but it was a bit rushed and was the prelude to scrambling out the door to church. This year, too, I found out what it is like being a church pianist when Christmas is on a Sunday! I had to hurry with preparations for the solos I was either playing or accompanying that morning, so Christmas morning was mostly spend preparing those and rushing out the door! That afternoon when we got home was much more fun - we FINALLY got to open presents(! :) and then prepared a delicious Christmas dinner. And that night we got to watch a movie. All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


中國歡迎您 "Welcome to China." That was what we kept hearing over and over again. Were we in China? No, but China had come to us in the form of 30 Chinese government officials - at our house for dinner. It all began that summer when my dad had been chosen to be part of a government education exchange program (sponsored by the University of Georgia), where representatives from the US traveled to China for two weeks to teach Chinese officials about US government. Now, nearly six months later, Chinese officials were returning the favor with a visit to the US. When my dad heard they were coming, one of the first things he did was invite them to our house for dinner. My mother graciously agreed to cook for the 30 foreign guests (and you will be glad to know she did not cook dog or donkey, two Chinese delicacies).

The night of their visit, as we all worked together to prepare for their arrival, little did we know what was in store.

"They're here, they're here," someone called, and we all scrambled frantically to put the last touches on the house and tables and assemble in the foyer to greet them. As the Chinese delegation crowded into our house, some even going up the stairs in their efforts to find a place to stand, it was an out-of-body experience, being surrounded by smiling, eager Chinese faces all laughing and talking rapidly in Chinese. My dad introduced our family and welcomed them to our home (all of which was interpreted by Jong Fei), and then to our surprise, they began presenting us with gifts and showers of welcome and thanks and expressions of what a great honor it was to be in our home. I felt like I was in a movie - it was so surreal and magical.

The entire evening it was the same story. They told us over and over again in broken English or with an interpreter, sometimes with tears in their eyes, how much this meant to them, what a great honor it was to be in our home. They were constantly smiling, laughing, and trying to communicate with us through broken English, gestures, or one of their comrades who spoke better English than they. And amazingly, we DID communicate - heart to heart. I have never met such open, friendly, loving people. Although they were in our home, in the United States, they kept saying over and over, "Welcome to China." They told us about their families, asked us all kinds of questions about our family and lives, taught us Chinese words, played games with the little ones, and all in all, in a few short hours managed to capture our hearts forever.

I showed one lady how to do Zumba.

I played the piano for them and they sang for me.

When it was time to say "goodbye," many had tears in their eyes, begged us to come to China, and said they would never forget us. We will never forget them either.

It is impossible to describe what that evening was like. Nothing could have prepared us for how special and unforgettable it would be. They came for dinner but left with our hearts.

Better Late than Never

Well. This is certainly a *wonderful* start to the new year. As in, horrible. One of my New Year's Resolutions was to keep up with my blog better. And instead I've kept up with it worse. Even though I have had many wonderful thoughts and exciting events to blog about. Oh well. Better late than never I always say. So, get ready - I am about to update you... on well... the last month or maybe two!!