Pray Pray Pray...

Before I say anything...I just want to ask you all to pray for my friend, Bekah. She's been struggling with anemia and has been having a hard time of it the past couple of days. Please, go here to read the details...I know she would appreciate prayers!

Now, I can't remember if I told you all this or not, but after the last semester of orchestra, I was moved up to 2nd violins of the Youth Symphony Orchestra, which is the most advanced of the three. I was/am COMPLETELY excited about that! However, I still decided to try out for 1st violins, and my audition is this Friday at 5pm. It's funny, because it's not like I feel like I've got it "in the bag" or anything--I've been practicing a lot, but there are a lot of reasons why I probably won't get in...but somehow I'm not all crazy nervous like I normally am. God must be working the seemingly impossible inside of me right now, because by all means I should be writhing because of the butterflies gnawing at my stomach and I should be cranky all the time without cause...Yup--that, I'm ashamed to say, is my normal reaction to auditions.

So, I decided to humble myself and record the 2 minute excerpt I'll be playing for my audition. I've had a lesson since and learned that I was playing a couple of parts a bit wrong, but I didn't want to have to re-record it, so here's basically where I am.

See, regardless of my peacefulness...I still need your prayers! It's a difficult song, and I'm praying that I'll be able to brush up my bad bowing and pitchy notes in the next 2 days.

Ugh! Here comes Pride! He's making it very difficult to push "Publish Post". I just need to go through that list...the list of reasons why I'm posting this:

1. I need prayer....from you guys!
2. I play for Jesus, not for my own personal gratification.
3. Blogging is for getting real and being vulnerable...and this is a perfect opportunity to do just that.

Ok, I guess I feel better now. Hitting publish.

Oh, and one more thing...since this is only the first page of the song, and I'm learning the whole thing, I'll make sure to get a video of it all when it's finished--spiffied up with a piano accompaniment (which is "brother Jared" business.)

Thank you for the music!


It's All Worth Reaching For!

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.”
Frank A. Clark

Looking at photos often formulates my posts for me--this post is no exception. When I saw this photo, I realized that it encompasses much of what life is like. Always striving, always reaching....but even when I finally grasp what I'm reaching for, my toes are still in firm contact with the rocky ground beneath me. Fear and insecurity in my own strength is what keeps me from lifting my feet up off of the ground, which brings security and safety--but what if I just leapt up and held on for dear life? I would absolutely fall. Why? Because I can't hold on forever while I still have that fear of failure.

It's like being in a constant stretch--you can feel your muscles tighten and morph into elongated shapes, but as long as you're there, your muscles are flexed and pulled. But isn't that just how life is? At every turn, no matter what you're reaching for, there's that strain of trial and affliction. Does that mean we should give up and drop to the ground in defeat? NO! Because someday, when we finally lift our feet off the ground and trust, the strain will be gone. our goal will have been met.

I remember after my little sister, Anna went to be with Jesus, it felt like the world was going to end. I've never felt such an inner strain just to keep doing simple things. It was difficult to do, but what kind of example would my family have been to others if we hadn't kept on? If we had simply wallowed in our sorrow forever and ever? We wouldn't have been living examples of God's infinite grace, love, and mercy. It may be more difficult in the moment to keep perspective and reach for the Jesus....but in the end, we will be shining brighter than we could imagine--with the light of our Father! Our victory is not our own...our victory is that of the people who witness our example...the people who see the blinding victory of Christ.

And one day, we will be lifted effortlessly to the heights which we have reached for so tirelessly. Our limbs will dissolve in the strength of the arms which grasp us, and we will see perfect peace. That's what we're reaching for...and I want to be sure I'm ready and reaching when the day comes for those loving arms to sweep me off my feet and for my faith to be complete.

I wrote this, and was pleasantly surprised when I saw it went perfectly into Hannah's topic this week, "Foto Faves". Check it out, and join in! She's got more great giveaways this week!


Game Tiiime!

I apologize for my lack of posting lately. I am still participating in Hannah's 4 weeks of planting chums (which--if you're just joining in--includes some AMAZING giveaways!), but I will try to post more independent posts in between things for you all!

This week's topic is:

Fun Games

I'm psyched about this, because my momma and I are gaming fiends! We like a bunch of them, but I wanted to share a card game with you all called Gin Rummy. My mom and I are both very competitive people, so when we get started, it's hard to stop! We can sometimes be at it for hours at a time. However, we don't play it the typical complicated way....

As a matter of fact...(my cousin taught me how to play this game, so I get to blame her. heehee!) I just read through the instructions, and we play it completely differently! Ah...whatever...

OUR Instructions:
At the beginning of the game, all players except for one are dealt 10 cards--the remaining one is dealt 11. The rest of the deck is set aside to draw from later. A "set" in the game is made up of either the same number cards, or a straight in the same suit--so the point of the game is to have two sets of three cards (e.g. three 9's, or "2,3,4" of hearts), and one set of four cards (in the same pattern). The player with 11 cards has to throw one card into a "discard pile", and the next player decides whether he wants it or not. If not, then they have to draw from the previously mentioned draw pile. Then, that player throws a card away (it can be the card that he drew). You keep going in this manner until someone has two sets of three cards, and one set of four cards--otherwise known as "Gin!".

Simple enough, right?
BUT...if you want to learn it the complicated way, read how here.

Of course, I am not nearly as vain as all these pictures of ME may suggest...my mom just happened to be the one with the camera. And just to prove my humility....



Heavenly Food Fave

4 - Four Fridays of CONNECTIONS (forging friendships)My friend Hannah is hosting "Planting Chums - 4 weeks of fab favorites" over at her blog Aspire! Doesn't it sound fun to venture out and meet some new people? And of course, I'm not enticed at ALL by the awesome GiVeAwAyS!!!!! Nope. Not. At. All.

Head over and join in if you get a chance, because this weeks topic is FOOD. And I think we all really like food.

I have a lot of "food loves", so this was kind of difficult for me, but I decided to be a little adventurous and actually make (for the first time, I might add) the food that I was hopelessly addicted to as a child.

Orange Buttercream Cinnamon Rolls

When I was little, my mom made these GIGANTIC cinnamon rolls that tasted like they came straight from Heaven. Everyone that tasted them thought they were incredible--so I'm not just being biased. Jared and I used to sit in our van (of all places), read The Lord of the Rings books together, and eat these, so just the smell of them brings me warm fuzzies.

So, I set out on a dangerous and nerve-wracking endeavor--to make my mom's to-die-for cinnamon rolls.

I'm always scared to make dough, because it's so easy to mess up on--but excepting the fact that I accidentally started with the flat beater instead of the dough hook {duuuuuh}, I didn't have any mishaps whatsoever.

The Final Product...

I didn't make them as big as Momma used to (purposefully), but they were really good! Maybe not quite as good as the originals, but I fooled my dad--he thanked mom for them, which in my book is....Success!

We ate them last night while we watched American Idol. Which brings me to....

Need I say more?

Yes, I must....alternative music is sooooo my cup of tea...


In My Absence...

Hey, guess what....I'm not dead!!! And what's more, I have not decided to give up blogging either. Basically, whatever strange and cynical ideas you'd come up with to explain my absence...just get them out of your mind. Because my only reasoning is time. You see...this last Friday was Cecily's 14th birthday!

Doesn't she look pretty in her birthday outfit?

So, Cecily, Silas, Jonas, and I spent a couple of days with my grandma and grandpa, before having a party with all of our extended family on that side.

Bailey joined us for the evening, and brought her PS2 with Guitar Hero World Tour. I used to have it, but since I got rid of it my skills have decreased. Still, Bailey has enough talent for the both of us.

Cecily and Bailey always get a kick out of each other...mainly because they're both giggle boxes! heehee. ^_^ I'm not a giggler, but I do love to hear them do it so naturally!

When we first got to their house, Grandma presented Silas and Jonas with these fun joker hats and scepters. I know they don't go together, but the boys don't care. Anything to help realize the visions of their imagination!

On the morning of "day 2", I woke up to the sound of my sibs chatting with Grandma in the kitchen. I walked into the kitchen and found her making pancakes.

It turns out that she didn't make quite enough for everyone in the house (that seems to be how it is when you've got two ravenous little boy-o's eating all of the food), but she generously pointed out that it is a mother's--and inherently--a grandmother's pleasure to eat something else when there isn't enough. It's true...I've seen it. But still, sweet.

After breakfast, Grandpa took the boys fishing, and they had a blast! Silas caught two fish, and was very proud of himself.

Jonas didn't catch anything, but enjoyed Grandpa showing him Silas's fish.

So, we had a lot of fun! But I'm glad to be back to the normal routine so that I can start blogging again! I missed you guys!


For The Story...

Throughout my life, I've always enjoyed reading. Picking up a book and entering a world entirely different or completely similar to your own is absolutely thrilling! I'm sure many of you can relate to that as well as you can probably relate to the eventual excuse of "I just have trouble finding time to read", when you're trying to come up with reasons why you haven't finished that promising book collecting dust on your nightstand.

Yes, I'm extremely guilty of this. There was a point when I simply couldn't read. It's as if I'd forgotten how. I could even sit down with a book in my hand, and it wouldn't be able to keep my attention. But guess what...I think I've finally pinpointed the reason!


When reading a book, you have to read it for the story. You don't have to analyze why the author used a certain word, or note how the pacing is--all of that fills itself in--the part that pulls you in and makes you want to keep reading is the story.

The experience has become so vibrant and exciting again since reading once again became just.....reading. Taking in the expression of another person, and not trying to read in between the lines. And I'm always surprised at how many of the little details I find myself easily filling in by just drinking in the colorful stories.

Off on another whirlwind adventure!


"Guess How Much I Love You..."

One of my fondest memories of childhood revolves around my momma and I leaning back on piles of pillows at the top of my bed--her voice softly reading all of my favorite stories to me. Through the years, a few have stuck with me as being incredibly special; "Miss Rumphius" (a.k.a. "The Lupine Lady"), "The Velveteen Rabbit", "The Pokey Little Puppy", and "Guess How Much I Love You".

As are most things that were used often by my mom in years past, there are now coffee stains covering the cardboard book, "Guess How Much I Love You", but it just brings the memories closer. I remember filling in the words of the baby bunny in the story, and assuming that the roles in the story were assigned to my momma and me accordingly (even though in the story it's a father and son). I'm reminded of these memories when I see Harrison cuddled up with Mom and a mountain of pillows, reciting lines from his favorite book "Bunny my Honey" over and over again.

The last page in the book says very plainly and sweetly...

Throughout the years, my mom and I have repeated this to each other. So, you can imagine how touched I was when I got this necklace in the mail from my friend, Rachael.

"I love you to the moon and back"...

Isn't it precious!? Every time I put it on, I get all sentimental about my momma. :) Thanks Rachael!