Sunday, December 28, 2008

All about the Baby

I have decided that babies are THE MOST PRECIOUS creatures on earth....and I can't wait till the day I have some of my own :) Until then, I am taking a lot of joy in my friend's children...This post is all about my best friend Sarah's newest little baby boy, Isaiah Micahel, born on Tuesday December 23rd around 8:47 a.m. and weighing in at 8 pounds, 4 oz. He LOVES to eat. He coos and moves his eyes around when he hears your voice. He cries very little. Sarah, her mother, my mom, myself and the baby went out tonight to Applebees. He slept the WHOLE WAY through!! So anyways, these pics are from today, at only 5 days old. Enjoy and feel free to say "aaawww!!!" as many times as you feel necessary :)

Getting ready for my outing with the girls
Checking out this new person
She's not so bad...she fed me & burped me! Now I can sleep again.
Sleeping before my first "night out on the town"
Meeting Elizabeth's mom. These two girls are already fighting over me!
Nobody does it like Grandma does :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

SURPRISE!!! Elizabeth got a digital camera for Christmas! Yipee!! I've been having fun learning how to use it...and FINALLY my blog has pics now!!! Mom and I are hoping to see baby Isaiah today (see below for my 1st pic with him). Hopefully I'll be down-loading a bunch more after our visit. Enjoy these photos and Happy New Years!!!
Nick and Myself, saying goodbye...that coat was definitely UNnecessary today...70 degree weather!!

Saying goodbye to my brother 12/27 (Dad, Nick, Mom)
The only Etnoyer who could have cared less it was Chrismas :)

Baby Audra at 10 months--friends stopped by to surprise us on Christmas!

Isaiah Michael and "Aunt Elizabeth"--2 days old Christmas day!

Etnoyer's Christmas Tree...and my piano's side-profile :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

6 Days Til' Christmas

Tell me someone. Am I the only one shocked that Christmas is only 6 days away? I'm so glad it's coming, but also a little sad because I know in 7 days it will be over til' next year! Here are some updates from me. Things I'm thankful for, happenings, not happenings, etc. :)

1. My brother Nick is home for Christmas. He hasn't been home for Christmas in 3 years (due to his job), so we are very happy to have him this year. All 5 of us will be here Christmas morning.

2. School is over and I got a 4.0 :) That makeups for knowing I needed to practice more. And now I'm looking forward to a new semester of less classes and more piano playing and recitals!!

3. In 2 days my friend's going to have her 3rd baby boy. That in itself is a reason to be really excited about the season. What a great reminder of Christmas!!!!

4. I was able to make it to my friend Jaime's house on a day when it didn't snow!!! We had a wonderful visit and the kids were so much fun to play with and the baby was irresistable to hold :)

5. I got my stuff moved out of my apartment....not happing...selling the place!!!! I'll keep praying about it and would appreciate help in the prayer department there too!!! It's nice to have my things home again though.

6. Not happening: Lots of "down time". And I wouldn't have it any other way :) It's actually been a nice balance of Christmas shopping, games, visits, and then down-time watching movies, talking, S-L-E-E-P-I-N-G!!!! Just not too much down-time to the point where I get antsy.

7. My church's children's Christmas play was adorable! They did such a great job. And this Sunday we'll be singing the adult cantata. Plus, I get to play a beautiful arrangement of a Christmas song with a friend who plays violin, while the congregation sings. It should be a nice addition to the service.

8. For once, not swiping the credit card to erase the guilt of not buying enough Christmas presents is actually allowing me to relax more and remember the true meaning of Christmas. I'm learning that time with my family, cooking, making memories, is a lot more valuable to me than wrapping and opening gifts. And I seem less stressed too staying away from all of the frenzy!!!

9. I am very thankful that I didn't get sick once this whole semester!! (Knock on wood!). My parents and I all had the flu before school started in August. Since then I've felt a few oncoming bugs but they've disapeared! Maybe I'm starting to learn the importance of sleep, even when I am overly busy, and that's helping keep my immunity up.

10. A warm house, food to eat, clothes to wear, family and friends, an education, jobs, solitude, pets, utilities,....ok. I know that's a really random list. It's just that I've had some close-encounters recently with loved ones who are struggling to meet the basic necessities. I guess it's just teaching me not to take advantage of even the most basic needs.

If I don't get pictures up here soon, Merry Christmas to everyone! Next time I get some good pics (hopefully Christmas day) I'll do my best to share them.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Shortest Post

My shortest post I've made of late
Quickly learning to savor each day
Practice for hours and let go of stress
Sit in the quiet and learn how to rest

Don't be distressed cause life's sometimes a mess
Just be content that it's all for the best

Trust in the Lord in all that you do
Forget your mistakes and know He loves you

When you feel clumsy ask God for His grace
And when you feel scared ask Him for more faith

Forget about yesterday and look to tomorrow
Praise God for the blessings and let go of sorrow

Enjoy this moment for it won't last for long
and reach out to others in action and song

When someone attempts to tell you your wrong
Consider the thought, but don't hold it for long

Many will push you with worries and frets
Just pray for the insight to know good from wrong
And live your life joyfully without any regrets

Happy Advent Season. I hope this finds you each enjoying the season and anticipating the celebreation of Christ's birth.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


This post is sweet and simple. I am FINALLY on my Thanksgiving break, and so I thought it would be nice to share some things I am thankful for (good practice for Thursday :)

I am thankful for:

A hair cut and a good hair dresser!! :) :)

Ok #2 Friends and family (haha! Just kidding..of course this should be #2)

Oh wait!! #3 GOD!! Ok...I'm not off to the best start here am I?? Let's start OVER!

#1 GOD, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, my Salvation in Christ, my church family, etc. (I think I covered my bases there)

#2 Family and Friends plus co-workers, teachers, mentors, in general..PEOPLE

#3 Good health

#4 A job...well, a few jobs.

#5 A roof over my head (well, 2 roofs over my head :)

#6 Clothes to keep me warm in the winter...and for central air and heat

#7 My grand piano :)

#8 My cat Tommy and dog, Jack (somehow I don't think they would appreciate coming AFTER the thing they hate hearing the most, but oh well...they can't read :)

#9 Surviving my first semester of my doctorate

#10 The beautiful snow-fall we got this past week..and for not wrecking my car in it

#11 For piano students who add joy and meaning to my days

#12 Hot chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream....CHOCOLATE!

#13 Pumpkin pie, turkey, and all the other great stuff we get to eat this week :)

#14 Internet and phone...the ability to keep in touch with people I other-wise would have no clue how they were doing right, it DOES have it's up sides

#15 Free-will. The ability to choose devotion to God, and to WILLINGLY accept His grace He has to offer us. Also, the opportunity to make life-choices, although not always the right ones, and God's sovereignty which guides us when we get off track

#16 The ability to look at each day as a gift from God, and to live it in gratitude. To leave behind regrets and to anticipate the future and to appreciate the present.

#17 MUSIC(This feels like it belongs higher up). The ability to participate in it, share it with others, and reflect on one's self. My teacher has a wonderful saying. "The piano is not just an instrument with black and white keys. It's really just a big mirror"....think about it (it may make more sense to you if you play an instrument)

#18 CHRISTMAS DAY. The one day of the year that we can all get so excited about. The Christmas trees, ornaments, gifts, decorations, cards, and more. I am thankful that we have symbols such as wreaths and candles to make these days resonate with all of our 5 senses so we can carry the joy with us through-out the year.

#19 Remembering my always gives me something fun to talk about the next day :)

#20 My dear bloggers who read my plain, no picture blogs and appreciate them anyways.

And now I must go... What are you thankful for this year?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Long Time...NO BLOG!

Hi there blogging friends!! Are you still with me? Hopefully I haven't lost ALL my interested readers...I know it's been QUITE a while since I checked in! I suppose since it's been such a long time since my last posting that an update is in order. And maybe some pictures soon after :)

1)I am now going into the last week of school before Thanksgiving Break! I only have one more week of classes after that, plus finals/concerto-preliminaries competition week, and then it's time for Christmas!!!

2)I am super glad the elections are over!! Perhaps not entirely excited about the outcome, but still glad they are O-V-E-R!!! Now comes the part where we all dutifully start or continue to pray for our country...

3) My diet has been at a stand-still! I'm finally getting back into woring out again. Mom's helping by cooking healthier meals when I'm home (and when I'm not home). I no longer purchase groceries for my apartment, so I try to eat-out inexpensively, or take a morning trip to Krogers for just that day, on the days I'm there.

4) One of my best friends is down to about 1 month until baby #3 arrives...I'm so excited for them!! :)

5) My Walk to Emmaus....that really needs to be a blog in itself. It was an amazing life-changing experience. I highly recommend you experience it at some point in your life, if you have not yet. They have one for men, and one for women.

6) Jon and I are back together again...and so the saga continues :) I'll be a woman of few words on this topic...just pray for us when you think of it!! Thanks :)

7) Did I mention school is almost over??!!! YIPEE!!!!! Oh yeah, and I got smart this time, after a whole semester of struggling over whether to continue the DMA degree program or not (which by the way, I'm not entirely finished struggling with) I at least wised up and signed up for 10 credits in the spring, instead of the SIXTEEN I took this semester!! No wonder I felt burnt out!!

8) My good friend Malorie visited me a few weeks ago. We hadn't seen each other in over a year! She's in the air force and just got re-located on the east's about time!! Not only did we have a great time together, but since she visited our friend Beth in Virginia, I also got my silly blue cow-girl hat back that I left at Beth's house in 2007!! AND, even more exciting, I get to be in a wedding next summer....beth and I Malories!! We're very excited. It feels like the reunion of the three out for those donut groomsmen cakes Mal!!! HAHAHA :)

9) I'm still stuck with my apartment in Morgantown, although I've been advertising around town, on line, word of mouth, etc. Just going to have to keep praying. I'm dealing with it by moving stuff home each time I come home (probably about 1/2 or almost 1/2 of my belongings are home now) and being away whenever possible. It makes the weeks a little more stressful than necessary, but then again, even if I had my own place, I think I'd still be out all hours of the night at the library, practice rooms, etc.

10) I've gotta go eat!!!

Hope that was at least minorly interesting to my bloggers...I'm going to try real REAL hard to get some pics on here soon!! First I've got a 15 min. presentation to get started, a concerto to work on, a movie to go see, a 15 page paper to right, and counterpoint assignment to finish...among other things :)


Elizabeth (why do I sign my own blogs???Oh I don't know..but it feels right...

Friday, October 3, 2008


"And He will give you peace which transcends human understanding" usual for me, I don't know the location of that scripture...but I know it's in the Bible!! And, it's going to become my quote for the weekend, for the week, for the semester, and for the rest of this year!!

You see, I have spent the past aproximately 13 hours, give or take a few small breaks to teach a student and finish a couple of chores/errands, but most of that time was spent at my desk, at home, studying Beethoven sonatas, and reading reading reading!! My word for today is "axiomatic" You don't know what that means? Well, it's SOOOO axiomatic!!! :) (look it up and you'll get my joke :)

As I mentioned in an e-mail earlier today...I'm beginning to seriously question whether my dollars are paying for an education in music, or the art of sounding snooty when I talk to people :) It's bad enough that musicians use words like exposition, thematic development, modulatory transitional material, recapituations (which I one humurously confused with another word on a vacation...I said "I'm all recapitulated!!" I think I meant to say turned around or something like that...everyone in the car looked at me with the "HUH?!" look :) Or how about this, taken from one of many obserdly over-complicated passages in an article I've been reading for the past several hours.

"All of which is tantamount to the truism that sonatas can no more succeed without significant ideas, however these may be defined and typed, than without convincing rhythmic flow, compelling tonal organization, or euphonious, idiomatic scoring"

I KID YOU NOT!! I literally looked at the page I was reading (Before I got off-track with blogging :) and just randomly selected one sentence from the page...I've been stuck in this world of lofty musical analysis for hours!!! Let me see if I can sum that sentence up into laymen terms! "A sonata won't sound good unless the musical idea or theme is just as convincing as the other elements of the music (such as the rhythmic flow, tonal organization, or idiomatic scoring..meaning the piece fits the demands of the instrument it's written for" ....any better???

Well, I'm back to my idiomatic, axiomatic, altruistic, contemplative, and obscurely dissolutional world of Wm Newman's chapter on "Romantic Sonata Form: Process, Mold, and Unicom"

and would someone please do me a favor, after praying for me, and remind me WHY IN THE WORLD did I want to get my doctorate????


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another Day

Some days it is hard to find something really interesting to say. Sometimes you wake up, go through the motions, and go to bed. Today was kind of like that. However, even on ordinary days, there is always something EXTRAordinary, even if you have to search a little for it. Here are some special things about my day today.

First of all, I woke up with a big cold sore, a sore gland, but no stuffy nose! That was a blessing in itself. I felt just fine all day long, except for maybe a little tired.

Secondly, I found time to eat today, and even to relax a little! That's a REAL miracle when you consider I also had 2 classes, 5 piano students, and practicing to do today.

Thirdly, my jeans started to feel a little looser!!! This could also be just because I've worn them 3 days in a row now but HEY! I'm going to look on the bright side..They ARE bigger! :)

Fourth, I got to talk to a good friend on the phone today. Between her busy life as a mom, and my busy life with school, it really was a miracle that we had 5 minutes to talk!! It's always great to have a friend like that.

Fifth, I didn't sleep through my teaching!! You're probably thinking, "And you do on other days?" Well, lets just say Tuesdays are tough for me and I need a power nap between 5 and 6, but I often find myself waking up after 6...which is very bad, cause I teach AT 6!! Part of the reason I didn't sleep through was a combo. of my phone alarm, AND having my mom call me and give me a "wake up" call....which I barely even remember picking up the phone!!

Sixth, I'm sitting here, having some "me" time and everything is quiet. I'm learning to relax a little more around my roomates, be friendly with them, but am still paranoid (and rightly so) about crossing that line between "friend" and compromising my morals for the sake of a good laugh......I can use more prayer in this area.

Seventh, I got a 97% on my first music history exam!! YEY!! :)

Eighth, I have a patient counterpoint teacher, who also has a sense of humor...good thing cause I was about ready to rip my hair out at the end of class today!!!

Ninth (I'm trying to make it to ten :), I had a nice afternoon sit-down at chick-fil-a and still a bunch left-over for tomorrow!

Tenth, no matter how busy my day gets, God gives me an incredible sense of optisim. Sometimes it's the smile on a student's face. Other times it's something like realizing what a blessing it is to be doing something I love with my life.

And I have to add one more thing. Considering the long and hard struggle I had getting over my losses and/or separations of two extremely close friends, I thank God every day for the amazing friends He has put in my life. He has filled that whole in my heart, healed the hurt, and restored in me a heart that's not afraid to love. Somedays are harder than others, but I am continually reminded that life is filled with seasons, and the more I can let go of the past, the more I can be aware of what God is doing RIGHT NOW in my life.

I guess that's it. It's after midnight....time to shower and hit the sack. GOOD NIGHT!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

When Saying "It's Going to Be OK" Isn't Enough

How many times do you run into a person in a day and the following exchange occurs. You can tell the other person looks tired, stressed, worried, upset, etc. You ask them if they are "ok" and they say "yes" or "I'll be fine" or something like that. If they tell you they are tired you respond with something like "I know how you feel" (A phrase many of us LOVE to use more often than we'd like to admit). Or, maybe the wheel is turned. YOU are the one having the bad day, and someone else responds to you in a similar way.

Well, this post isn't really about how we should respond to others when they seem upset or stressed, it's more about a testimony of how I am learning to deal with these day-to-day troubles, without SOLELY depending on the reassurance of others.

Let me first start by saying that God has blessed me with some AMAZING friends and family. I am never really at a loss of someone who will pray for me, listen, give a word of encouragement, etc. But, sometimes hearing "It's going to be ok" from a friend isn't enough.

Tonight I had such a moment. It was one of those moments when you are all alone, and you have time to "let out" all of your feelings. I found myself losing it. Crying for quiet a while, without an exact understanding of why. As some of you who are close to me know, I've been under quite a load of stress lately, on top of classes and teaching and work, with my living situation. Just when I thought I FINALLY found a quiet place of solitude, it turns out to be another case of "bad roomate-itis" :)

On top of all that, there are a lot of questions I'm still searching for answers to. Is school really the best place for me right now? Why am I STILL not in a relationship? Is teaching the best thing for me? Is there another way that is better? All of these questions seem to creep into my mind, demanding my attention, which destracts me from things that need to be done day-to-day.

Well, tonight, I think there was a serious "GOD" moment. As I sat at home, I realized first of all, it's OK to cry. Even when things aren't ok, or when things are ok...either way, human emotion is perfectly normal, and sometimes, we girls just need a "good cry". So, I did. And, with no one around to be embarassed by, I kept crying, until I started to feel the gentle Spirit whispering to me. I heard Him telling me that it's ok. That I don't need all the answers. I don't even need some of the answers. All I need is HIM. As I sat on my bed, with my thoughts and with God, I opened my Bible and read Psalm 118

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever......skip to verse 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

Finally, I felt like I had had a "break-through" Moving wasn't the solution to my problems. Talking to people wasn't either. Neither was trying to avoid them. All these things were my way of trying to solve the problem on my own. Instead, I now realize that the only way we can truly say "It's going to be ok" when our lives are chaotic, is when we know the God who runs the show. He's the one that allows us to be in these difficult situations, and because of them, we draw closer to Him.

Next time you have a hard day, pause for a moment. If you are like me, your first reaction is to find a near-by friend/family member and call them, or talk to them. Before you do that, try something. Find a place that is quiet. Sit in silence for a while, and don't say anything at all. God already knows your thoughts, worries, frustrations, and questions. Ask Him to speak to you in the quiet and to give you peace. Then, when you're done having your alone moment with God, go to that person you were going to go to, or do what you need to do. But remember that God is by your side, and that nothing you face in life EVER has to be on your own.

And that's my novel/sermon/word of encouragment/ whatever you want to call it!! Take it or leave it for whatever it's worth. Just remember,

GOD LOVES YOU and He's always there to let you know "It's going to be ok"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where Did the Time Go?

Yes friends, I am still alive!!! I feel like such an un-devoted blogger, seeing that is has been almost a month since my last post! I will say, in my defense, that I love reading friend's blogs. I just don't seem to have much time these days for my own stories.

Here is a brief overview of what my life has been like since I started my doctoral program about 4 weeks ago:

1) Going to bed around 1-3 a.m. and waking up loooong after "the roosters crow" (although there are no roosters within ear shot of where I live :)

2) Morning and bedtime prayers for peace and quiet, first of all, for the time to sit and rest or sleep, and secondly, for actual SILENCE when I get to my apartment...there are lots of loud college students near where I live.

3)Student after student after student.......after student!!! Lots of washing my hands too. I've had a few sick students already, and am amazed, especially with the lack of sleep I've had lately, that they haven't shared their diseases with me yet!! (KNOCK ON WOOD!!!)

4) Hours upon hours at the Evansdale Library...some spent studying, just as many or more spent thinking "I should just go to bed and try again tomorrow"

5) Occasional bursts of practice efforts, followed by short vacations from the piano, while I struggle to balance all of my course work and teaching and other work

6) A new appreciation for SUNDAY. Not just for the day of rest, but for the loving, caring Christian family that meets me each week. If only I lived with such a strong group of different my home away from home-life would be!

7) More frequent devotions..they say that adversity makes one stronger. This must be true because of all the years I've struggled with regular Bible Devotions and prayer time, I seem to be getting it down better than ever with my hectic schedule. I truly CRAVE that morning quiet time. And on the days I trick myself into thinking it can wait until the afternoon or guessed it, there goes my quiet time until the next morning....isn't it great though to know that God loves us no matter how much we fail?

8) An unfinished bib for a baby who will soon be too big for it.....friend, you know who you are, I promise I'll TRY to get it finished this weekend!!!! :)

9) Another friend who is anxiously awaiting baby #3 around Christmas.....this gives me something to truly look forward to at the end of this semester which has just begun

10) A new understanding of the word "surrender" and the phrase "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD" Practical application #1. I dropped out of my plans to compete in MTNA again this year. I realized I needed to focus on doing well in my classes, and preparing my new program for DMA recital #1, plus my prospectus. On top of all that, one needs time to eat, sleep, worship, exercise, rest, socialize now and then with other two-legged beings :)

I'm not even going to try and make new promises to post pictures, at borders, or links, or anything else cool that I would love to add to my blog. For now, I will be content with this bit of time I took at 1am, to simply write (or rather type) and share my events with others. I ask that you would please keep me in my prayers, that God would grant me success in all that I do, as long as it is pleasing to Him, and in line with His will for my life. I also ask for prayers for my apartment/roomate life, that God would continue to give me a gentle heart, and a mouth that is slow to criticize, and quick to encourage.

God Bless and I hope everyone enjoys the Fall weather which seems to already be upon us!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Random Thoughts

Hello friends! It is late Saturday night, the 16th of August, and tonight is my last "summer night" before school starts. Vacation this past week with my family in PA was wonderful! Relaxing, enjoyable, refreshing to the body and soul. In fact, my cold seemed to clear up quite fast once I got out into the clear and fresh mountain air.

Soon I will be sharing photos from our vacation, which was also during my parents 41st Anniversary...congratulations again mom and dad! For now, just some brief, random thoughts.

The Olympics have been incredible to watch this year. Growing up, I can remember watching them, especially mesmerized by the ice skaters in the winter, and gymnasts in the summer. Those were my two child-hood dreams before music began to be my life. I have several friends at WVU who are natives of Asian countries, some of China. I have taken some time to face book a few of them and their enthusiasm and pride for this year's Olympics bubbles over, and makes me so happy to see someone aside from America experience the pride that comes with hosting the Olympics. I am currently typing with my eyes and watching out with my ears for Michael Phelps, to see if he will break the world record with 8 medals tonight.

Our vacation consisted of canoing, biking, hiking, camp fires, a few rainy moments (the first night my tent got soaked so badly I had to sleep in my parent's tent and wait to dry everything out again the following day), book reading and other leisurely activities, and of course eating out. We were very happy to have my brother Nick come and vacation with us most of the week, which also included playing a couple of board games....he ALWAYS wins Monopoly!!!!!

I think I'm pretty well organized and ready for school to start now. Today was filled with more laundry, a hair appointment, shopping, catching up with several friends, and organization. The only reassurance to me starting my DMA, is that I have several friends starting with me, who are just as apprehensive, and knowing that God will be with me all the way. It will be a great experience, but I don't like this waiting's just making me nervous.

I have to go several ways. Tomorrow a piano student of mine, senior in high school, who is also a talented voice student, will be singing at my church. She and her mother are meeting me in the morning so I have to hit the sack!!!

More (and hopefully more interesting) news soon :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Reminiscing and New News

My good friend Beth, myself (and her cat) at her house in Virginia, Summer 2007...and the hat in the corner where I left it!
Two cow-girls got loose in WV. They were last sited in this Virginia Beach board walk store Please dial 1-800-Mamacomeback! if you have any information leading to the findings of these two suspects

One of my new favorites!!! Vegi Tales, mom and myself (they must have been HOT in there!!!)
Me at Creation, standing on the over-look, 2008

My friend Jocelyn's baby Audra, born the day after my birthday!! Both pictures were taken at our house, around Easter. She was only about 1-2 months old in these pictures.Isn't she adorable in her hat?! :)

Today's post is green, because it reminds me of the green grass, and the freshness of summer. I LOVE the smell of freshly mown grass, taking longs walks by our house and seeing all of the horses, and cows, and occasional rabbits, or deer. Probably my favorite part of being home was enjoying the nature. Mom and I love to walk up and down the road, and my dad can be caught almost every day after work, riding his bike or walking our dog Jack.
But, as I squeeze every last drop of summer fun out of my last week at home, I realize there is still much to look forward too! A new apartment, more education, new friends, new music, and probably most exciting, seeing what God has in store for me during this period of transition. While I have been focused on school starting, God seems to be nudging me more and more into different church ministries. Right now I am participating in a PDYM (Purpose Driven Youth Ministry) study in which I am part of a small team, working on transforming the purpose and form of youth ministry at our church. In addition, we have begun an exciting Prayer Team ministry, in which we are coming up on our last week of a 4 week book study on "Pray the Price" by Dr. Terry Teykl (a book I highly recommend reading, focused on "prayer evangelism" and reviving and transforming the prayer life of the United Methodist Church).
There are a lot of things I could talk about now, like my room which is beginning to look empty, and the mounds of boxes sitting in the family room. But, today I just want to share some pictures. Some are from last summer, and some from this summer. I hope to have some really nice new ones when we get back from our family vacation. In two weeks I will be moved in, home again, and leaving for vacation with my family in north-central PA (or somewhere around there). When I get back, classes start up, right away! So, please enjoy my pictures, and pray for me while I'm making this transition. My next post will probably be around the beginning of the school year.

(p.s. please forgive me for the formatting problems...oh I wish I had a digital camera!!! :))

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Now or Never

Muddy, high-rised waters at North-Bend, following July 3rd rains

North-Bend 4th of July Bike Trail

Mom, Sarah, and myself at Creation 2008

Our Camp Site
My Mom and I at Creation 2008

Creation Candle-Lighting Service

Sarah and Elizabeth at Creation Candle-Lighting Service

Hello friends! Wow, considering how addicted I can sometimes get to internet and blogging, I was really surprised to see that I haven't blogged in about 3 weeks! Things have been pretty busy around here lately. Following my last post I was preparing for Creation 2008, and then was on vacation. This past week was filled with laundry, organizing, shopping for the new apartment, and some nice family time with my mom and dad. We had some 4th of July fun this weekend with fireworks and a cook-out with my friend Sarah and her family, as well as a day with just the three of us at a state park. I have included some pictures from our Creation vacation, as well as our day at North Bend State Park. We biked about 6 miles and went through some really cool old tunnels on the Rails-to-Trails path. It was a great day for swimming Saturday. Sunshine, and warm-weather, which was welcomed after the rain we got on Friday.
Enjoy my pictures! I knew if I didn't do this tonight, it would be who knows how much longer. I'm trying to get prepared for this move, and that also includes LOTS of organizing and scheduling so I can be on top of things before school starts in August. Hope you all are doing well!!



Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Last Days of Spring

Can you believe it? Only 2 more days of Spring, and Summer will be here. I know I can! In just 6 days my mom and I, and possibly good friend, will be going on vacation to Creation East, our annual Summer event. That is, if it doesn't get rained out.

I just wanted to post a few updates on my life. Nothing particularly important, just what I've been up to. I won't be on here next week while I'm camping, so this may be my last post for a couple of weeks.

First, my mom aunt, cousin and, myself have decided to go on a joint diet! We started at different times, but record our weights, in complete confidentiality, to each other, via e-mail, every morning. My starting date was June 3rd. So far, I have lost 7 pounds! WOOHOO!!! Ok, so some of that was water weight that dropped off pretty fast after I stopped pigging out at Dairy Queen :) But, there is nothing like group accountability to help one change their life style!

Second, please pray for me. I haven't been to the doctors yet, but, it seems I am getting more signs of arthritis, or something. Like this morning, while I was doing floor exercises. My left elbow was making loud cracking sounds every time I moved it. It didn't hurt, but it was a bit worrisome to me, as I couldn't really make it stop.

Third, I DID get to go swimming this past week!!! :) My dad and I went to the wave-pool on Sunday afternoon, Father's Day. That evening my mom and I went to my church to hear the Wesley Bell-Ringers from Utah perform! They are a group of about 14-20 year old teenagers that tour the U.S. every summer. This is the groups 42nd annual tour. They are going to be on CNBC or one of those early morning news shows I believe this Friday. If you have cable, watch for them!!! They are a great group of kids, and even though they don't all actually read music, they are great performers! They also have a very nice conductor. They are affiliated with their home United Methodist Church in Utah as well. We barely fit them in our little church!!! We had a great audience though, and they enjoyed being there, or at least seemed to be enjoying themselves :) It was the groups first time in West Virginia, so it was something new for them to experience.

Fourth, tomorrow I'm getting my hair cut! Maybe I'll post a picture after it's said and done, if I'm happy with it :) My hair dresser, Allen, is so good! He's been doing my hair for 2 years now. It took me years to find a hair-dresser that understood my wacky, inconsistent, and very stubborn half curly/half wavy hair. He also knows me and how indecisive I can be...So, he's the perfect hair dresser for me! My mom's getting hers cut by him tomorrow too, because she's always jealous when I come home from having him do it. Maybe we'll get a picture of the two of us together tomorrow, after we're done.

Fifth, I am now up to 18 students. For the past couple of weeks I have been trying to set a cut-off, but they keep coming in. I prayed for God to give me more than I could handle and what do ya know!!!! You really do have to be careful what you pray for :) In fact, I may have a couple more coming my way, PLUS I have 4 students returning in the Fall, or at least planning on it!

Sixth, I've got about 7 weeks left at home until I move into my Morgantown apartment. I'm quite excited, but also a little sad. I know I will still be home every weekend for teaching and church. But, I've really enjoyed being home this past year. I'm 25 and single, so it's about time I move out, and stand on my own two feet, again. It's kind of hard to meet single Christian men, when most of my time is spent with my parents, at home :) I am very grateful to them though, for letting me live at home this past year, catch up on some of my finances, and just take a breather. Now I'm rearing to go get that DMA degree!! :)

Seventh, tonight they made the decision on my position as choir director, BUT.....I don't know the results yet. I'll be in suspense until they tell me. Either way, I'm ok. I'm definitely not leaving as the pianist, either way.

I should go now. We're having another movie night tonight. I have ONE MORE piece of REALLY WONDERFUL news that I want to share......

my best friend Sarah is due to have baby #3 in about 6 months!! I just found out last night, and she said it was ok for me to tell I just have to share this wonderful news!!! :) Please pray for her and her husband. They will be quite busy between their future plans with school, and possibly law-school for Stan, and having three children. The great news is, Christian and Luke will be 4 and 5 when this baby comes, so they will be big enough to help out! We are all hoping for a little girl this time....but, God will bring them what He chooses, and we will love him or her just the same either way :)

Movie time!!! Hope you all enjoy the beginnings of Summer time :)


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

HA! Just Kidding..

This is NOT from the end of today's mom just thought it would be hilarious to take my picture during one of my much enjoyed cat naps...the cat doesn't look like he's enjoying it very much though :) In case you didn't know this about me...I sometimes take naps in VERY acquared positions...this COULD have something to do with why I'm always sore when I wake up!

Doesn't it look inviting?

This picture turned out so well, it almost looks like I went to Hawaii for the day! Can you believe this is in West Virginia?!

Well, today was SUPPOSED to be a perfect day for swimming. And, it was. Except, everything in the world was keeping ME from enjoying it! Let me give you a quick review of what my day was like today.

HOT! I took a nice short walk (1 mile) with my mom, and then declared that it was a perfect day for swimming. Although she didn't want to swim, she was sweet enough to agree to come with me for the day. However, she preferred we go to a nice quiet state park, instead of a crowded, noisy public pool. PLUS (and this is a KEY POINT in the story) we wanted to save about $3.50 on a pool admission ticket.

Ok. So, we looked through some West Virginia State Park pamphlets and decided that either Tygart Lake State Park or Audra State Park would be nice places to swim. I called Audra and they said the swimming season was open, and there were no life guards anymore, so no admission. PERFECT!

We get in the car. I'm wearing my bathing suit because I can't WAIT to get into the nice cool water. I pack the towels, water bottles, etc. and we head off. As we are driving out I look at my mother and ask, "Should we go to Audra or Tygart?" Audra is a nice park, but Tygart is BEAUTIFUL and they are basically the same distance from home. So, we decide Tygart would be nicer.

Hear comes the adventure. First, we drive through Bridgeport, where we see a DETOUR sign. There is a huge sink hole in the road. So, they have to send everyone back around Bridgeport, towards Shinnston, and over Rt. 50 past the F.B.I. center. We had to drive all the way around, just to avoid a 4 mile strip of road, because there is a gigantic whole in it.

Still determined, we continue our, la, la, la...we are taking our good old time and chatting, laughing, just enjoying the nice quiet and sunny day.

OK. We arrive at Tygart. So, we drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, AND DRIVE!! WHERE IS THE SWIMMING ENTRANCE????!!! We can see the lake the whole time, but don't know how to get into it. FINALLY, we stop at a park ranger station, where people register for camping. I get out and here comes the rain on my parade.

"I'm sorry, but we don't have swimming this season."....wait a minute, "WHAT?!" No rhyme or reason, but I can't go swimming, even though there is a HUGE lake of beautiful, warm, clean lake water. The park ranger tells us we can only go swimming IF we have a boat to swim off of. Does that make sense to you?

So, I go back to the car, deliver the disappointing news to my mom, after a short bathroom break (we've been driving for about 2 hours to get here!!) we continue on....distraught :(

Suddenly, happy, cheerful, talkative Elizabeth is solemn. As we drive AWAY from Tygart lake, we decide to stop at the lodge/restaurant and at least enjoy some ice cream over the lake view. Those are the pictures you see here. Isn't it beautiful?! Can you feel my pain?!!

Once the ice cream was finished, and I parted with the beautiful lake, we continued home (still considering driving somewhere else to swim for the day!). As we drive, several miles, we run into ANOTHER detour sign!!! So, we have to drive all the way back towards the park again, and start over! Ugh....

While mom and I were driving, she was asking, "What do you think God had in mind for us today, that we would come all the way out here, spend our whole day looking for a place to swim, and find nothing?"

Well, an hour and a half nap later, once I have calmed my emotions of disappointment, I think I have some fresh perspective on the day.

1) That was the first quiet, non-stressful day away from home my mom and I have had together in a long time. We get plenty of days at home together, but we are both great at busying ourselves. If you are in the car, driving through the woods, there isn't much left to do but watch the road, and talk, or listen to nature.
2) Although I didn't get to swim, the lake WAS beautiful. We watched boaters, and water-ski boats skim the water. Watching them have fun, was almost as fun as doing it ourselves.....almost :)

3) I was able to experience the generosity of my mother, who filled up my gas tank, after a long day of driving in circles. Not like she isn't generous to me quite often (she and my father), but today I was particularly thankful!
4) Our day together meant I wasn't sitting at home reading a book. A book that I thought I had to read 3 chapters of by tonight, but later found out the meeting was cancelled, and I would have made myself do all that reading today for nothing! So, instead I got to be outside.

5) We discovered the "no swimming" rule WITHOUT my dad, who most likely would have been quite upset, had we driven with him all the way out there, and then had to admit "No, we didn't call them before we left the house, to make sure they were open!"

6) We now have a paper with info. on boat rentals that we may use in the future if we get a group together.

It's 8:30pm, and getting dark outside. Enjoy these beautiful pictures, and think of me....hopefully I WILL make it to A POOL (notice how I'm not being very picky anymore?!) this week.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

No pictures this time! I am just enjoying the air conditioned house, and decided to type a bit, before I go out into the scorching sun again :) The weather in WV has been BEAUTIFUL this past week. I'm so thankful that my Chick-Fil-A job ended so I can spend most of my days enjoying being outside!

I will post a picture sometime soon, but in the mean time, I would like to ask for your prayers for a very special person. As some of you know, I have been sponsering a child through Compassion International for a few years now. His name is Billy, although he is 14 years old now, and I believe likes to be called Bill instead of Billy. He is such a sweet kid, and his letters have ministered to me more than I could ever do for him. As any of you who have ever sponsored a needy-child know, you usually end up getting more out of it than they do.

I am asking for prayers for Bill because in his last letter to me, he told me he was being treated, for about 6 months, for tuberculosis. In the letter, it sounded like he was doing better. However, this week I received an envelope from Compassion with pictures of Bill (newer ones) and a message with bad news. They said he has been suffering from some sort of lung disease, but that they don't know exactly what it is. It could very well be a continuation of his tuberculosis. I have to admit, regretedly, that I haven't been that faithful of a friend to Billy. He hasn't received a letter from me in a very long time. Well, as soon as I got that message, I wrote him a letter the next morning, and put pictures in it. It will go in the mailbox first thing tomorrow morning. He will not receive the letter for about 3 months, because that's about how long it takes for the letters to go through translators and customs. I have been told that sponsored children treasure ANYTHING they receive in the mail from their sponsors. They love letters, and save all of them....shame on me for not writing more often. Please pray for an accurate diagnosis, and full recovery for Bill. From his letters, he seems to be very strong in his faith, but I keep encouraging him. He needs all he can get right now. Also, pray for his parents and sibling, and friends, that the disease doesn't spread to others.

On a lighter note, my dad and I played tennis yesterday, for the second time. I am getting much better! Also, when I weighed in this morning, I was 5 pounds lighter than Tuesday morning, when I started! I was quite happy with that. It's amazing how hard it is to lose weight...I just keeping chugging water (about 10-12 BIG glasses a day), exercising about 2 hours a day, and watching what I eat.

There are only 16 days left until my mom and I leave for Creation East!! We are excited. We seem to be more layed back about it this year, not planning so far in advance. We've been there enough times by now, that we know how to shop, pack, and plan for the trip. We will not be volunteering in the prayer tent this year. We just want to go and relax and enjoy being ministered to. We are both looking forward to it! We will be leaving Tuesday, June 24th, and the festival runs from the 25th-28th, then we will return Sunday the 29th.

I think that's about it. I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I'm SO GLAD I took a year off of school. Even though I've already had a lot of time off by now, I'm savoring every moment in these last two months of freedom :) Early August I will be moving into my new Morgantown apartment, and although we are planning on one more big family vacation, mid-August, on the 18th of the month, school will begin, and I'll start my doctoral studies.

Sundays are too nice to spend all day on my computer, so I'll go now...hope you all have had a restful weekend! God Bless.

Friday, June 6, 2008


I think I know why Jesus got up early in the morning to be with God. It seems like the most peaceful time of the day. As those of you who know me at all know, I am NOT a morning person. I like staying up late watching t.v., and sleeping in. However, last night my mom and I actually went to bed at decent times, and low and behold, I was up at 5:56 a.m. this morning! I looked at the clock and thought, "No way! I did? I'm actually up before everyone else?! WEIRD!" So, what am I doing with this wonderful morning? Enjoying the peace and quiet. Feeling the cool breeze come through my window, and taking in the scenery of the morning, and the sounds of the birds. It brings back memories of being a kid. I used to wake up around 5:30 or 6am every morning for school. But, as an adult, it's more enjoyable because I don't have to rush to get ready for school.

I think I like this change, and just might try to make it a habit! The way I see it, we only have so many hours in a day, and I'm one who needs 8 hours of sleep, typically, to stay healthy. So, why have I been waisting 3 or 4 hours of each day in the dark, watching t.v., when I could be enjoying these peaceful and calming morning hours?

While I was trying to post new pictures the other day, I managed to get two up on the site, and then was having difficulty. So, I have decided to try again this morning. The picture above was taken 2 summers ago, when my mom, friends Sarah and Lynn, and myself took a spontaneous trip to Kentucky. It was the year Creation East got rained out, and the car was already packed and ready to go! I just wanted to share this picture because it's one of my favorites. Sarah is such a great friend to me, and I really enjoy any time we get to spend together.
I guess that's it for my morning thoughts. I'm going to go enjoy the morning weather and get a nice big walk in...till later, God Bless! :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008



Rainy Days

Today is one of those days, also part of one of those WEEKS of just keeps coming! I love it though. It's refreshing, and relaxing. The only down-side for us, is that we have to keep our new bikes inside until the roads clear up. There are stones and streams running through and over all the roads, so it's not good for riding at all.

I am taking advantage of this quiet time to do some things I NEVER do.

1) I'm reading the first book I've read in.....a LONG LONG time (and that's an understatement). I have to admit, that's not because I never have time, it's just because I rarely motivate myself to read. I am reading a book called "Too Small to Ignore" by Dr. Wess Stafford, CEO. of Compassion International. I just started it, but it looks like a great book. My mom and I both sponsor children through Compassion, so I'm hoping this book will make the reality of what my sponsored child, Billy, lives with on a daily basis, a reality to me as well.

2) I'm going to post pictures today!!! We'll see how this goes. But I'm going to try adding at least some, to make things more interesting.

I also wanted to mention, that my diet and exercise routine is finally off the ground, at the same time! Usually it's just the exercise, and not the diet, but I'm on day 2 of doing both, and I've already lost about 3 pounds! If I can make it past tonight, I'll know I'm on a roll (night-time snacking is my biggest weakness!).

I'm going to talk less this time, so I have time to work on pictures....ENJOY!! :)
(PICTURE ABOVE: My mom and I on Valentines Day (my 25th birthday)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Signs of Summer

Every year I tend to think "summer is here!" WAY before the official 1st day of summer. However, this year I have some pretty good proof that summer IS here.

1) My beautiful sunburn all over my shoulders and neck. The first hot and sunny day we got this year, this past Friday, I couldn't resist 2 hours of biking, walking the dog and hiking in scorching hot weather

2) The wet dog, Jack. I soaked him down with the hose after our walk, to cool him off.

3) Strawberry Shortcake. The official summer dinner at our house. We've already had it once this week for dinner.

4) Company! We haven't had out-of-state company stay with us (aside from my brother) in 8 years!! My aunt and uncle are visiting us from Lancaster, PA for a few days. I'll miss them lots when they are gone. I even gave them my bedroom hoping they would stay longer! :)

5) Hot nights, even with the windows open.

6) Exercise happens every year. I'm like a bear. I hibernate and eat for 8 months, then try to shed it all off in 4....only problem doesn't work that way!!

7) Bugs...I was attacked by swarms of them while riding my bike this evening..I have the bug-magnet tee-shirt in my laundry pile to proove it.

8) Gas prices...yeah, ok, that's all the time...but doesn't it usually seem even worse in the summer when you're trying to travel?

9) Smores and bonfires...we've got the ingredients, as well as a very LARGE pile of wood in our back-yard for the fires. (Left over from the dead trees we had cut down in our back yard)

10) Longer days. Isn't it wonderful having day-light until 9pm?!

There you go. 10 solid proofs that summer is here!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Quick Updates from WV

I have been quite busy lately, and thought I better post something, just to keep you al updated on my life. First of all, as of about 25 seconds ago, I started sneezing and runny nose...we JUST got back from the movies....hope I'm not getting sick!

Tomorrow is my 4 day of work in two weeks at Chick-Fil-A. The workers are nice. It doesn't make much, but helps pay gas. God has been blessing me with more piano students day by day. I had two new students at the house today, 1 child, and 1 adult (well, it was the adult's 2nd lesson, actually) and a 3rd new student starting this coming Monday. The church job is going well, although I think I will be relieved to only be in charge of piano/organ come August. I will have to do more accompanying and teaching to compensate for it, but choral directing is not my specialty.

Monday I found my apartment for August move-in, right before school begins. I will have 2 female graduate roomates. It's a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom suite, (yes my OWN bathroom :). Just about anything you can imagine an apartment complex might have to offer, they do. And the price is great. God is good!!

Last weekend my pastor's wife was in a bad car accident. She fell unconscious at the wheel, due to a steroid shot she received at the doctor's office recently before the accident, that morning. Praise God, he guided her car around 4 long windy turns in the road, with NO guard-rails, while she was unconscious the entire time! The car hit a utility pole and parked car at an Enterprise Rent-a-Car center. Aside from some cuts and bruises, she is ok. What a miracle!!!!

Thursday May 22nd, check out K-Love or Air-One Christian Radio!! If you don't have the stations, go to the web-page any time Thursday the 22nd, and check out the day's newstips link. Dustin, the contemporary worship director at my church, started a new church event called Hebrew's Cafe. The word got out to K-Love and they are featuring him and an article on the cafe, the entire day, on the radio stations, and on the web-pages. This is GLOBAL coverage!!! VERY exciting for our church. And what is best about this is that Dustin is a very humble, and godly man. So, he is not letting any of this go to his head. We are all just so excited at the potential impact this could have on bringing new faces to the church!

I have been working out A LOT lately...although I'm very unhappy with my weight right now. I have been running/walking outside, near our home, and/or going to the YMCA to get my workout, and lift weights, almost daily. I've never been great with dieting, but I'm at least working on it. I could work harder at it too though. But, I'm trying to work out and get in shape this summer....I hope it doesn't take until Fall comes and it's cold again before my summer clothes finally fit!!!

I think that's about it. If I think of something else, I can mention it another time. Sorry for STILL not having pictures on here. With my jobs now, and working on my DMA recital music, and helping keep up the inside and outside of the house, I've just been busy lately.

I hope you all are doing well and to hear from some of you soon.

God Bless,


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fasting, Food, and Fitness

This past weekend I participated in the "30 Hour Famine", a nation-wide church youth-event intended to raise awareness of the world-wide famine. I have been aware of this event/fundraiser for years, probably more than a decade. Every year I found a reason not to do it. No food for 30 hours? Yuck! I can just imagine starving, but I don't actually have to do it!

Well, this years, for one reason or another, I felt a calling to follow-through. I was one of 4-6 adults who took turns in shifts spending time at the church with 4 teenagers (3 girls and 1 guy). Three of us spent Friday night in the church's Multi-Ministries building with the teens. I didn't sleep too well on the couch, but then again, I wouldn't have slept much better at home because my stomach was already hungry.

At the end of the famine, I realized that I learned much more than I expected from participating. I should mention that we didn't just sit around and starve for 30 hours. The teen girls raised $100 walking around the neighborhood, door-to-door collecting sponsor's money for the event. We played basketball, video games, board games, etc. etc. There was also time for some good talks, and, especially towards the last several hours of the famine, a Bible devotion and discussion to remind us what we were to take home from the experience. During the last 1/2 hour of the famine our pastor had communion with us, consisting of 1 wheat cracker and a bit of Sunny-D. This untraditional communion was to remind us that Jesus used what He had available. Never in my life was I so thankful for one little cracker!

The biggest thing I took away from the experience was learning patience and commitment. My desires and emotions (and stomach) did not support either of those values, but by denying myself, I learned something much more valuable. The fast not only gave me a renewed appreciation and compassion for the needy, but it taught me how I can be more patient and committed in other areas of my life. I truly believe that God blessed us through the weekend, and as a result felt much closer to Him and more at peace. Beyond the "emotional rush" that is easily felt in those "feel good moments" I took home a mental-awareness of how grateful I am to have food, a roof over my head, family, friends, a church, a Bible, clothes, air conditioning and heat, clean water, the list goes on and on...and on...

I think what I want to share with everyone is best summed up in the following Bible verse. This passage of scripture was used in reference to the race a good friend of mine has been running for two years. The youngest daughter of my god-parents, whom I have known all my life, is nearing the end of her two year mission work as a school-teacher and servant of God in Honduras. While our experiences are different, the purpose is the same. To deny ourselves, follow Christ, and spread the good news of Jesus Christ as far as He is willing to let us.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly…I will not be disqualified for the prize.

God Bless you in whatever your race is!! Know that you are not the only one who gets tired, sometimes lazy, irretable, or wants to try and find the "easy way out". But also remember that whenever following God gets hard, the reward gets bigger, and it is can NEVER out-give or out-do God.

Friday, April 25, 2008

FINALLY Making a Decision

It has been a long year, and at the same time has gone by so fast. No, not 2008. Of course, it's almost 1/2 over already too! I'm talking about the year I took off from school. I can remember about 1 1/2 years ago, about, when I walked into my piano teacher's office crying. Being the wonderfully sympathetic teacher that he always is, he sat and listened to my frustrations.

I have always been a driven person. The problem is that I tend to sway from over-driven, to burn-out, just a bit too often. When I entered his office that day I had had enough. I had travelled to Wisconsin, Cincinnati, and took a mid-term exam, involving the memorization of all 32 Beethoven Sonata themes, all in about 2 weeks! I was plain exhausted and sick of school. After we talked, we agreed that time off from school was just what I needed. I needed to have a little fun in life, take a breather, and think about whether the DMA degree was really what I wanted.

Since then, as those of you who talk to me often already know, I have gone back and forth about a million times! Not only that, but I have been in and out of one very close relationship, and also swayed between getting married and going to school. I remember my friend Jaime saying to me back then, when I first made the decision. "It sounds like you know what you're doing. And if you aren't doing the right thing, God is great at making detours." Thanks for the advice Jaime, it's so true!

I have learned a few very important things in the past year.

1) Don't talk about marrying someone, and having kids with them, until you're sure you love them first. You only break their heart, and yours, and it's unecessary.

2) Don't be afraid to wait. When we try to push ourselves through something we cause more stress than is needed, and sometimes take 10x longer than if we just waited for God to help us through it.

3) Don't be afraid of change. I didn't know how I was going to handle it when I got 17 piano students in the Fall. But it was a great experience for me. Here I am just a couple of years into teaching and I already feel like I'm so much better at it. My people skills are better, and I've learned how to teach kids vs. teaching adults. It's been a very rewarding experience for me.

4) A break doesn't have to be a trip to the beach. It can be simple things like waking up and chatting with my mom at breakfast, sitting in my pjs for hours, not eating breakfast until lunch-time. b vggggggggggggggggm

ok, pause! I could delete the jibberish above, but I thought I'd keep it...that was my cat Tommy saying hello to you all while I stepped away from my computer! THANKS A LOT TOMMY! :) ..yes, another great thing about being home for a year..waking up to Mr. Thomas sitting on my head, giving me a head massage :)

Ok, anyway. I guess that's about it. I don't need to go on and on about this. I just wanted to share with you all that I am very grateful for the time I had off of school. I taught piano, played and directed at church, accompanied, had temp. office job, spent time with family and friends, and got to do some traveling to (mostly for auditions and MTNA conference, but it all still counts).

So, last night I e-mailed my teacher again and told him I had finally made up my mind to get my DMA. He was very happy. I have put my poor teacher through so much in the past year! (at least!). He has had to deal with, "I don't think I want my doctorate".."Well, maybe I do".."No, I don't".."Well, maybe yeah but not here"..."Well, I was rejected everywhere else, so maybe not".."Ok, WVU isn't so bad"..."But what if I meet Mr. Wonderful and he whisks me away...then I won't need it!" And FINALLY, "Ok, well, Mr. Wonderful isn't anywhere in least not yet, and times not going by any slower, so if I want this degree, I better do it now!"

I spent a lot of this morning organizing my summer teaching schedule, and printing off and reading all the graduate manuals and such for the DMA program...there is SO much involved! But instead of feeling overwhelmed, I'm actually excited about it...ok and a little overwhelmed too. I think the part I'm most afraid of is the comprehensive exams. They come after all the course work is finished, which is at least a year or two from now. I will hopefully have most of my 6 recitals done by then too, except for the last solo recital, and maybe another chamber recital. But when they do come around I have 1 week to complete a take-home bibliographic music history exam/project and a take-home theory exercise/project, in preparation for the following week. The following week I have a 3 hour history exam and 3 hour theory exam, all written, and both in a 6 hour period, in one day!!! The exam questions are specially crafted by my DMA committee. That's the part I'm really scared about. After that I have an oral-comprehensive exam with my 5 member committee.. sometime within a few days or weeks from the written exam. The entire take-home, written and oral all counts as 1 exam. If I don't pass the entire exam the first time around, I only get one more try, granted the committee grants me the 2nd try, and if you don't pass it after the 2nd try, you cannot continue the DMA degree. Granted all of that goes well, then I have to complete my thesis project prospectus with my advisor (probably my piano teacher) followed by an approval from the committee, and then the actual project, followed by lots and lots of revisions, followed by a meeting with my committee where I have to defend my paper, and FINALLY finished with my final solo degree recital....I am hoping to have all of this completed before I am 30 years old (if I do it in 4 school years, I'll be 29).

Yes, you can tell I'm rambling....which is because I had a 2 1/2 hour nap this afternoon and am not sleepy!! I have to be in morgantown tomorrow morning though. So, I better go to bed.

Thanks for reading! And also, thanks for everyone's prayers..of course I'll need more if I'm going to try to get this degree... :) But, I have felt a strong sense of peace in the decisions I have made, knowing that whatever I do with my life, God is making it work out. Now, when I find Mr. Wonderful, which hopefully I will, eventually, I can still get married and have kids.....I'll just be Dr. Mom :)