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.