Thursday, March 27, 2008


I just checked my blog and was surprised that the last post was only yesterday morning. It seems like it was 3 days ago! So, what have I been doing with all of this time? Well....

1) I have finished off 2 boxes of tissues
2) Watched about enough t.v. to last me through the summer, including movies
3) Filled and re-filled my humidifier
4) Slept more than a bear in hibernation
5) E-mailed a college professor a novel which will probably take him at least 3 months to reply to
6) Bugged Aspen Music School again, waiting to hear the results of my admission audition package
7) Scared my cat with dynamite "kachoos"
8) Well, I have done a LITTLE laundry!! :)
9) Repeatedly checked peoples blog pages in desperate search for something new and exciting to consume more of my couch time
10) Lost the hearing in my right ear due to a major clogged-up head
11) Drank enough green tea and water to fill a bath-tub
12) Started to transform my nose into a replica of Rudolph's
13) Actually dirtied up all of my "lounge clothes" in a week!
14) Started to read a very good biography on the life of J.S. Bach which has been sitting on my book shelf for over a year at least
15) Let my mother serve me more food than since I was probably about 15 years old
16) Played "Super Collapse!" about a million times on my computer, still trying to beat my mom's score of 1,500(something),000.

Um, I think that sums it all up! And what am I doing now? Well, I'm about to stop waisting time and go to bed.

Good night!!! :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Early Bird Catches the Worm!

Good morning!!! This post has one very simple purpose. To brag (and prove) that for once I am an early bird!! In fact, Jaime, I am probably up before you this morning! And that's saying something!! :)

It's funny how when you are sick all you want to do is lay around. But, I guess I have been doing so much laying around that my brain and body were tired of it, so I woke up at 5:30 a.m. after lying awake for about an hour with an irritated head and throat and decided to clean my room! Now it's 6:40 a.m., my parents still aren't up yet, and I may just be either playing on my computer or back asleep by the time they get up!! I am very thankful to say the least that this is WVU's spring break, which for me means getting some much needed recoup. time without having to cancel rehearsals and lessons, because they are already off for the week!

That's all. Have a great day! :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Post-Easter Update

Here is a post-Easter update for you all. There is good news and bad news. The good news first! We had two men come to our house this morning and by around lunch time had completely finished putting laminate flooring in the rest of our dining room/kitchen area. Now our living room and kitchen area match! It looks so much nicer and cleaner, and brighter...and cleaner!! My mom and I love it. We can't wait for my dad to get home soon so he can see it too. My parents have done so much to our house the past several years we have lived here. If we had before and after pictures they would be drastically different!

The bad news is that I'm sick. Just when I thought I escaped the flu season, it hit me! I'm not sure if it's flu or bronchitis, but I went to the doctor's this morning and was put on anti-biotics. Hopefully between that, lots of fluids and healthy food, sleep and rest, and aspirin and mucinex, I will be better by the time I fly to Denver on Sunday! I have to count my blessings though because my little cousin Timmy is in the hospital sick and I know it's worse when a little kid is sick. If you have been keeping up on my family news, I would appreciate, and I know they would appreciate your prayers. They have a brand new-born baby at home and Timmy is their 2nd to youngest, so I know they are anxious to have him better and home again.

That's about all my news for now. The weather is beautiful in West Virginia today! I don't know what to expect day-to-day around here, especially in the month of March. Sunday it was snowing and freezing, Sunday afternoon it was beautiful, yesterday it was snowing, and today I could take a walk if I wasn't sick! I hope Spring is right around the corner because I'm already ready for summer!!!

Hope you all are enjoying nice weather as well....more later!

God Bless

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Babies and Easter

Happy Easter! I hope you have enjoyed your Easter Sunday. I spent by Easter Sunday at church, followed by a wonderful ham dinner and dessert (Thanks Jaime for the was great!! :)....although we had to use frozen strawberries because the raspberries got moldy :( was still really good! Then, after doing the dishes to make my mom happy and give her a break, I had a loooooong nap!! I know I always take long weekend naps, but this was long, even for me!! Around a quarter after 4pm I layed down on my bed with my cat and it wasn't until around 8:15pm that my mom came in the room and asked if I was sick!! Haha, nope, I'm just fine. But I'm going to be up for quite a while now!!

I also have some very exciting news for those of you who have been keeping up on my family news. My cousin Cathy gave birth yesterday evening (they live in Canada) to baby #10!!! His name is Samuel Thomas Newton. I can't wait to see pictures! I think it is so sweet how all of the kids were at home waiting anxiously to see their new baby brother. My mom immediately got texted from Sarah Newton and one of the boys that their little brother had arrived at 7 lb and 3 oz. If you would like to see pictures of my new little cousin, you can visit Cathy's blogspot at the address below.

Happy Easter again and God Bless!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday/Easter

Good Friday was a special day for me this year. Yes, of course it is special EVERY year, but the way I spent my day this year made the preparation up to Easter Sunday even more special for me. First, I had the joy of spending a few hours baby-sitting my friend Sarah's kids at the park. I offered to take them to the park while she house-cleaned. It worked both ways. She needed some time alone in the house to get things done, and I missed playing with the boys.

It had been a while since I spent a day with the kids and forgot how much Christian likes to ask "why", and how Luke's smile can brighten up your day :) It was enlightening to me to be reminded of what our world looks like through the eyes of a child. There are so many curious things!

Yesterday evening I went to our church's Good Friday service. I played piano, listened to our Praise & Worship director give the sermon, and the P&W group sing special music. After the sermon he left the altar open. Something I had not had the opportunity to do in a long time. Usually I am sitting at the keyboard during this time, but this time I get to sit in the pews and take advantage of kneeling at the altar.

Something happened last night that reminded me of how much our Lord loves us and wants to be near us. As I went to the altar it felt as if I was closer to God than when I am alone in my room with Him having devotions. Although the altar was so filled with people that we could barely fit everyone there, it felt like one of the most alone and intimate times I had shared with Jesus in a very long time.

As we were kneeling at the altar a song by Nichole Nordiman was playing. I don't know the title but it's about a little girl who asks her father why Jesus is dying on the cross. The song portrays the little girl actually being there in the moment that changed history. It is a very powerful song.

I think what made last night so special was that the story of Jesus didn't feel so long ago. I could imagine Him going through the suffering, looking at me, and all the while, knowing without a doubt in His mind, that He wanted to do it, because I was worth it to Him. The sermon story of the little girl who watched the church play of Jesus' Crucifixion and how her mother could not comfort her or convince her that it was "just a play" made me think how easily we forget the reality of what really happened. And it also made me wonder if we always do our best to help little children understand.

In a world where sex out of marriage, violence, power, and many other kinds of evil are so blatantly advertised in the media, I can't help but think that as Christians we have a responsibility to children to make the story of Jesus louder and clearer, and more "real" than all of the negative influences around them.

I suppose that is all. Those are my reflections on the Easter season this year. I hope you too have an intimate and joyful experience with Jesus this Easter!

God Bless!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Life is Short, Handle with Care

The quote for today's blog seemed appropriate for this week. This phrase was cross-stitched by my mother when her father was recovering from open-heart surgery many many years ago (correct me if I'm wrong mom :)). This came to my mind because in the past 2 weeks, I have been to 3 funerals or viewings. You know the phrase, "Everything comes in 3s"? Well, I guess it is true a lot of the time.

First I played for a funeral of someone I did not know but who was a life-long member of our church, two Saturday's ago. This past Saturday I attended the funeral of a pre-mature baby, born only 5 months after conception at only 14 oz. This evening I attended the viewing of a woman who along with her husband were among the first people my parents and I met upon moving to WV. They made us feel very welcome. Her husband was at the time the assistant principal at my high school, and they were members of the church we attended. There 2 daughters have now lost their mother due to lung cancer at a very young age, the younger of the two being my age, 25.

Events like births and deaths always make us think more about the quality of life. For some reason though, at this time in my life, it seems especially significant. I am surrounded by so much joy with several friends and family expecting or recently celebrating the birth of new children. At the same time, I am surrounded by those who have recently lost loved ones way before their expected time.

All this has just made me appreciate life even more and realize how much we take it for granted. There are so many things that I would like to do with my life, and so many things I would also like to change. There are people I want to mend relationships with, and souls I want to help minister to, but don't because of fear. There are goals I set for myself but procrastinate on completing, and things I need to let go of, but struggle with the "how to and what if's".

I just wanted to write this post to encourage anyone who reads this, or who is going through their own struggles with the loss of loved ones, or maybe is just struggling with questions they don't have the power to answer, that one thing we can be sure about is that God loves us and has us here for a reason. If there is anything you feel compelled to do, ask God if it is His will, and if it is, don't wait another second. The world we live in expects so much from us, and too many people live their lives trying to please others or work their way up the "corporate latter" and then before they know it, their life is gone.

Of course there will always be things we will wish we could have done differently, not done at all, or maybe wanted to do and didn't. That is just part of our human nature. But most importantly, we need to remember that we only get 1 day to say what we want to say to a friend, relative, collegue, or maybe even a complete stranger. Every day is a gift, not to be taken for granted, and every encounter with another person comes without guarantee of a 2nd chance to say what we want to say. I know it's been said a million times, but it is so true "Live your faith for everyone to see. To some you may be the only Bible they ever get to read"

I said all of this for myself more than anyone else. But it was just on my heart and I wanted to share it.

God Bless!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Easter Week

Today we performed the Easter cantata at our church. We had a very nice turn out and also a good size choir. Our pastor's wife Susan directed us, and did a wonderful job.

My excitement for the day was getting to play piano for the regular 11:00 service on a slanted sanctuary floor. You see, our church is in serious need of a renovation, or possibly a new building all together. So, today the keyboard was moved from it's usual place to the side of the sanctuary so there would be room for the cantata choir risers. As a result, the keyboard was situated on a slanted floor which meant I kept scooting up the bench to keep myself from feeling like I was falling off. It was interesting because I did not want the pastor or his wife to feel they had inconvenienced me, so all the while he was preaching I kept nodding my head and keeping good eye contact to show I was listening, but in reality, half of me was trying to keep from falling off the piano bench and trying to figure out how to get in and out around the people and palm branches. It was a very nice service though, regardless of the situation.

While I am mentioning it, it seems appropriate to ask for prayers for our church. We are in the middle of a long process of deciding what is to be done about the church building. We have a committee that meets regularly to discuss it but the building is on it's way to being an unsafe environment, because the roof is slowly caving in on itself and eventually it will not be safe to sit inside the church, unless a major renovation is done. The church is so old that building a new building may very well be the more affordable and long-term practical decision, but of course as with any church, there are many who grew up in it and are very emotionally attached to the building and hesitant if not adamant about changing their place of worship. So, if you could pray for our church, as well as the committees, prayer groups, and the pastor as he is often unfortunately a target for many harsh critical comments from those who have strong feelings of what they individually feel is best for the church.

Enough about the church. I don't have too much else to say right now (for once!). I will say that I am needing to lose a lot of weight. I feel kind of silly asking this, but since that is what friends are for, I would appreciate it if you would pray for me to get in better shape. It scares me a bit because each year I weigh a little more than the year before and my older brother and I both keep gaining weight and our whole family is trying to make changes in our lifestyles to be healthier. It is especially a concern for my brother and I because on our father's side of the family we have a history of diabetes, obesity, and heart conditions, and on my mother's side more heart problems, cancer, arthritis, etc. So, while we are still young, we need to make changes that are practical for a life-style rather than a "crash-diet" or expecting myself to run 6 miles a day.

I also realize that I'm bringing all of this up during Easter week. It would be helpful if we could go into Easter week remembering the true meaning of the holiday, and not feeling obligated to eat chocolate and candy all week because "everyone else does". Honestly, I'm ready to dump it all it and go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of vegis and fruit.

Ok, nough said! I'm done complaining now :) Hope to have more exciting news in the near future so I'll have something worth talking about!

Good night

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Day Away

Today was a day away from the ordinary. I got to spend the entire day with my friend Jaime and her two children, Cosette and Elias. It was so much fun to play with the kids, see how fast they are growing and learning and to catch up with my good friend. As you can imagine, a day with a 3 year old, and almost 2 year old, is never uneventful. I am happy to say though that nothing that happened today or that I got to help with today was a burden. It was all a joy! I say this partially so Jaime can stop feeling bad for the thing I got to help out with in the bathroom :) :) That was no problem at all. If only you knew the things I clogged up or burned up or tore apart when I was little!!!

It is so enlightening to spend a day with a child. You think about what you say more, how you act and react to situations, what is literal and what is sarcastic, and what is considered telling a "joke" as opposed to telling a "story". But I think one of the best things to learn from a child is their sense of wonder and eagerness to learn. As I was driving home this evening I was thinking back to my recent audition experiences. It occurred to me that if professors/teachers/people in positions of authority and/or power would approach every student in the same way as a child (in one respect), there would be a lot more eager adult learners and less timid students.

What I mean by all this is that I believe adults lose a very important characteristic as they approach adolescence and adulthood. We forget that it's ok to make a mistake, it's ok to be misunderstood, and it's ok to laugh at ourselves and try again! The number one thing that I learned from auditioning over the last several months is that there are a lot of very "successful" people in the world who are missing out on a lot of joy because they are too busy trying to be perfect and have forgotten how much fun it can be to mess up and learn from our mistakes, and get a second chance! I am constantly reading books and articles by musicians about how making a mistake is like a child learning to walk. It isn't something to feel ashamed of, it's just something that gives us information. "Oh, that didn't work that way. I need to try this differently next time." The only problem is I see more wisdom and grace in their articles than I do in real-life.

Maybe that was a little too much to read into just one day playing with a couple of cute kids, but it's also something to think about.

I guess that's it. Not too much else to say. My brain and body are tired and for once I'm hitting the sack (excuse me Cosette...I'm not actually going to HIT anything, I'm going to "go to bed") before midnight. Good night!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Dear blogging friends,

I need your help! I was excited to start posting pictures today, especially with all this time on my hands. I uploaded about a dozen + pictures and then they all got jumbled together in a microsoft word file. Then I scanned a picture again and used HP Photoshop smart but it only wanted me to post the pics on snapshot which wouldn't let me in anyway because I couldn't remember my password and then it was going to e-mail me my password and I never got an email. Please tell me if you know if an easier way to simply scan pictures from my printer/scanner onto my pc so I can share them with you all on my blog page. I will really appreciate it!!!


computer illiterate friend :)

ps this is new incentive to save my money up and purchase a digital camera....oh to just plug something into the computer and THERE IT IS! :)

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Today's post is somewhat difficult for me, because it's not exactly what I was expecting, or wanting, but regardless of my feelings, the results are in. Today I received my final rejection letter, yes, from the University of North Texas.

Now, I know I'm aloud to be human and have sad feelings because I was rejected at 3 out of 3 schools I auditioned at. But, at the same time, I also want to be consistent with what a said on my blog page a day or two ago. I said that regardless of whether I was accepted, I was going to be thankful that God was with me and that I played so well at this last audition. I gave it my all and that's all anyone can expect from me.

Aside from the obvious, that I won't be moving to Texas, there is a lot of good in this news. For one, I will be able to stay near family and friends who are very important in my life, and who I would have missed greatly had I moved. Secondly, it means Duff St. United Methodist Church gets to keep me as their pianist for a few more years (at least). Thirdly, it means I get to continue studying with my piano teacher who has been an inspiration to me for the past 4 years and who I know will continue to be a major source of inspiration to me for the next 3 or 4 years.

I think the hardest part to accept in all this is that I thought I felt God's leading to audition at these schools. However, just because I didn't get in, doesn't mean I was wrong. It just means there was something He wanted me to learn and get out of all this.

I think that getting rejected is one of the best ways to build character. I have been told time and time again that in life, and especially in a musician's life, many rejections will come my way. I cannot let them stop and discourage me. Instead, I have to use the experiences to point to God and remind myself that He has given me the gifts, and He will guide me in the way He needs them to be used.

Almost 9 years ago, this June, will mark the time in my life when I moved to WV. Out of all the times I moved as a kid, WV was the least likely place in my mind, that I would end up in. In fact, I remember being DEVASTATED when my parents announced we would move here. I also remember a dear friend of my mom's from our church who was told by God, to tell my mother (before my father and mother had any clue he would get a job in WV) that God was going to send us to WV. That memory has stayed with me through the past 9 years because I felt so comforted by the knowledge that God was that intimately involved in our family and our lives. The longer I live here the more I see God blessing us. And for that reason, I am going to choose to be glad that He is keeping me here, at least for now, and choose not to dwell on the "should have, could have" beens.

Friday, March 7, 2008


I am so very VERY happy to announce that today I chose new piano music!! I have (as of today anyway) decided on 2 Prelude and Fugues by J.S. Bach, both from the 2nd volume of the WTC (Eb Major and D# Minor). I also chose Chopin's 1st Ballade and a Haydn Sonata in Ab Major. I have started fingering the Eb Bach Prelude so far.

It's so refreshing to hear something new!! Also reassuring to know that I haven't turned into a "circus pianist" who can only play the last 3 pieces I was playing forever.

In other news, I finally have ALL my piano students started for the that it is already March! It has been a slow starting semester between my audition schedule, working at the office (thank goodness that's all over with!) and living at home (which has limited my availabilities for teaching days). The best part of my new schedule is I can devote more time to not only my music but my church job as well. Tomorrow, for example, I am going to help out at the church by playing for someone's funeral. I have worked at this church for almost 2 years and it's the first funeral I've played for there! Also, I have much more time to plan ahead for the choir and be involved in more church activities, which has been something I've wanted to do for a long time now.

I'll leave this post short seeing how my last several have all been novels. On an ending note, if you haven't seen the movie "Secondhand Lions" you need to see it! It's a good movie about a kid and his two uncles. Kind of an older movie, but good.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

God is Good All the Time

Dear Friends and Family,

This post I would like to share with all of you the wonderful experience I had last week. My mother and I took a plane to Texas so I could audition at the University of North Texas in Denton. Now, before you get too excited, I have no idea if I have been accepted yet. I should find out in the next 2 weeks. Until then I'm busy praying about it over and over (and God's probably telling me "I heard you Liz! Just wait" ). However, instead of obsessing over whether I got in or not, I wanted to share a really neat story with you. (Warning, this is a long post, even for me!)

About 2 weeks ago (or 3) I received a rejection letter from Cincinnati Conservatory. As many of you know, I had high hopes of getting in at CCM. However, God's plans were different than mine. I knew from the audition that my chances were slim. Things just didn't go the way they should have that morning. So, shortly after receiving the CCM letter, I started really second guessing whether I should go to Texas at all. I wasn't that excited about it anymore, and didn't really want to get rejected again, and thought it would be easier to just accept my fate and stay at WVU next year.

Have you ever had a situation when God sent you a series of "Blessings in disguise" to keep encouraging you to follow-through with something? Well, here is my story of such a situation.

#1. I was feeling sorry for myself the day after I got my CCM letter. I stopped practicing and was calling random friends to talk and share my frustrations with. Before any of my friends answered their phones, I got a call from a piano friend from WVU. She listened to me, encouraged me that I needed to audition and not give up, and helped me let out all my feelings of frustration so I could get back to practicing and trying again. Without this person, I probably would have avoided my instrument even longer.

#2. I was praying one morning about whether God really wanted me to go or not. After finishing my devotions and prayer I checked my e-mail and had received a very encouraging reply from the piano chairman at UNT. He informed me that the school had A LOT of money to give out to incoming DMA students. Since money is a big issue for me, I was very relieved by this news. In addition, I had just begun to rework a Bach piece from 3 years ago and was concerned that it would not be ready in time. The piano chair said I didn't need the piece, and to simply play what I already had prepared. WHEW!

#3. (This is where it gets cool :)). The morning of my audition (Saturday) I walked outside the practice building to go sign-in for my audition that day. On my way over I ran into a Korean pianist who looked very familiar. Long story short, there is a girl named "Esther Park" that I saw play in Aspen, CO 3 years ago. The girl has won international piano competitions and is becoming quite well known. Last Thursday I saw an "Esther Park" play in one of UNT's piano recitals, and thought, "Oh, I know her!" When I saw this girl the morning of my audition I stopped her and said, "Excuse me, are you Esther Park" She looked at me quite confused and said, "Yes, but how do you know me?" I proceeded to expalin the Aspen and then UNT recitals. She laughed and said, "Oh, yes! I AM Esther Park but you see there are 2 Esther Parks and we both play piano and we both go to school here! But the Esther you are talking about is much better than me!" We laughed at this extremely rare coincidence.

Then something surprising happened. This complete stranger, at a school which I have been told is filled with "self-centered" musicians, became overjoyed at meeting me! I'm not sure how but within about 30 seconds we realized that we were both Christians and she started hugging me and saying "Oh, I will pray for you, I will pray for you! God Bless you! Just pray to God and you will do well!" It was the coolest thing ever! Then she introduced me to her piano teacher, and told me the teacher I had a lesson with (and a bad experience with) had given many students problems and that it wasn't just me. We exchanged contact info. and I went on practicing, feeling much more confident knowing that someone was praying for me to do well and be calm :)

#4. My audition! I was not nervous until about 10 minutes prior to the audition. Probably because I had a heat pad on my shoulders due to waking up with a big pulled muscle, and I think the heat pad and practicing non-stop helped calm me down before the audition. But when I walked into the audition, I felt relatively confident and when I started playing, everything came together! It was very cool. Yes, there were slips and things that I wished hadn't happened. But overall, so much of it was great playing! It really helped me to feel good about the performance and to know that regradless of the outcome, I was in good hands and could feel good about the whole experience.

#5. I got back from Texas, and was not sure whether to e-mail Mr. Banowetz to let him know I would like to study with him if accepted. I e-mailed Esther for advice. She responded "I do not know what to tell you but I think you should not say anything and just pray about it. " She also told me that she would pray that I would be on the piano faculty's minds when considering all the applicants.

That's my story! Sorry so long. But I was excited to share it with you. Now, the question is, if I don't get in, will I feel like a goof for sharing all this with you? I don't think so! I am finally starting to get that God knows what He is doing, and regardless of the outcome, it's what He wants me to learn from my experiences that really counts. And these past 2 weeks I have learned that God is very VERY faithful :)

Thank you so much for everyone who has been praying for me through my schooling, recitals, competitions, and auditions. It's all finally over and it's time to start something new. But I know I could not have gotten through all of that without the support and prayers of my friends and family. God Bless!!