Saturday, March 28, 2009

stepping out

I'm not known for my boldness. I'm most often uncomfortable when meeting new people. I like to stay in my comfort zone. Yet recently, I've been feeling restless. Like I'm not doing enough--like I'm not using the gifts God has given me. Like I need to break out of my box.

My pastor is at least partially to blame for this. For the past few months, he's been pushing the idea that we need to get out of our church and reach out to the community. In my head, I've agreed . . . but what could I do?

That's when I saw the announcement in the bulletin: ESL tutors needed. And what do I do at my job? Teach ESL! (among other things . . .) I signed up for the tutor training right away. That was a month ago. Today, I spent six hours in a tutoring workshop, and I'll be matched with a student within the next two weeks. Am I scared? Yes. But I'm also very excited!

I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

i love my speechers!

I haven't blogged too much about speech this season. But now that the season is over, it's time for a recap. We had the best year we've had in my five years of coaching. First of all, we were more successful as a team, placing second at both our conference and district meets and ninth at the state meet. But more importantly, this team really enjoyed being together. The members became great friends, and it was a joy to coach them.

Last week, the junior high and high school students washed all the school's vehicles as a service project. When they finished with the school buses, vans, etc., they moved on to staff cars. This is perhaps embarrassing, or maybe just indicative of my upbringing, but that was the first time my car had been washed since I bought it nearly two years ago! It looked amazing from the front . . . but then I saw the back windows . . . The elephant is because Horton Hears a Who was kind of our theme this year. I'm not exactly sure why . . . And "Godspeed" was our catch phrase for the year. Right before the first meet, the juniors had a discussion with one of their teachers about how Christians should say "Godspeed" instead of "Good Luck" . . . and it stuck! At our annual speech showcase last week, the team presented the assistant coach and me with copies of Horton Hears a Who that they had all written notes in, and one of the girls gave me "good luck" socks to wear at the state meet. (I wore them during the awards ceremony.) So here we are (minus 5): The 2009 Speech Team!

clap a joyful clap

I've always found clapping in church to be a bit awkward. Perhaps it's because of my church background. I grew up in a church that began incorporating worship songs with the hymns around my junior year of high school. We didn't necessarily sing current worship songs, but we moved away from singing only hymns. My church was known for not clapping . . . but sometimes, when you're in the middle of "My Life Is In You, Lord," you just feel like clapping. I believe my aunt often initiated the clapping, and others (not the whole congregation, mind you, but a few others) would join in . . . and eventually the clapping would die out. I always felt incredibly strange when I would clap, and that feeling has followed me into adulthood.

I rarely clap in church--not because I think it's wrong but because I don't know how to do it. The rhythm is never the problem (for me--I'd say the rhythm is the problem for many, many would-be clappers); rather, I never know when to stop clapping. I'm constantly watching the others around me to see when they start and stop. Should I clap for the whole song or just the first verse? When the worship leader tells me to clap, I usually do (because I'm a lemming?) . . . but how long do I need to keep clapping after he stops--because worship leaders usually stop clapping shortly after they get the audience started!

We had a worship band from Grace University in chapel today. And inevitably, a song came along where they wanted us to clap. Not wanting to stand out (I was on the bottom row of the bleachers), I began clapping. I soon stopped. Then I started watching the people around me and noticed that many of them seemed quite tentative about clapping, too. Imagine my delight when, while getting my daily blog fix at lunch, I saw the title of today's post on Stuff Christians Like: Clapping our hands (a step-by-step guide to the death of rhythm)!

You have to read this post! It's genius! Here's an excerpt to get you hooked--then go read the rest of it!
I always cringe a little when a worship leader says, "Everybody clap together" at the beginning of a song.

Instead of marching forward in a united rhythm, what usually happens in church sounds like someone lit off a box of hand firecrackers. Smacks and slaps and claps just ringing out randomly with no sense of where the song is headed. So this morning, after witnessing several claps die merciless deaths yesterday at church, I thought I would analysis how the clap goes so wrong so quickly. Here is what I think happens, laid out in a convenient step by step approach:

1. We get the "call to arms."
This is when the worship leader tells everyone in the crowd to start clapping. Often, he or she, will raise their hands above their head to give you a visual of how the whole thing is supposed to go down. It's an exciting moment, the world is so fresh and new. We're all a little intoxicated on the sense of potential and possibility. So together, we start clapping.

2. We realize that there's no leader.
Eventually, the worship leader stops clapping above their head. Either they start playing an instrument or just grab their microphone in kind of a dramatic, Creed-like moment. Suddenly, we in the crowd realize no one is leading this clap-a-thon. We scan the stage for direction but no one bails us out. The main singer is focused on the song and the back up singers are doing some sort of rhythmic clapping that is beyond us. It's like the PhD program of clapping. At least 15% of people quit clapping right here.
OK. Now that you've had a taste, go here to read the rest.

Monday, March 23, 2009

spring has sprung!

Driving home tonight, I noticed the green surrounding me. Just last week, my sister's roommate was commenting on how much prettier Nebraska would be if things were green instead of brown. I chuckled and agreed, thinking we'd have several more weeks of brown before spring would "officially" hit. It's amazing to me just how quickly beautiful, green grass can shoot up. Suddenly, the world no longer looks like winter (or August in the middle of a drought) . . . it's SPRING!!! And that fact makes my heart smile.

my day (so far)

  • oversleeping yet still making it to work earlier than I normally do
  • giving myself a bad paper cut almost immediately upon arriving at work
  • giving myself a cardboard cut (on the same finger!) a few hours later
  • becoming horribly frustrated with Adobe InDesign
  • becoming horribly frustrated with some of my yearbook students
  • returning to the office for lunch, only to discover that the kitchen had changed the menu from hamburger helper (not ideal, but acceptable) to beef & bean burritos (completely unacceptable)
  • listening to Jim Brickman's new cd while trying to fix yearbook pages
  • running across campus in a downpour . . . in full view of the senior English class
  • coming home to a very dusty-smelling house, thanks to the window I left open this morning
  • discovering Phillip LaRue's new cd (thanks to Sarah)
  • preparing to go back to school for an evening of winter awards (my least favorite responsibility as speech coach) and yearbook

Saturday, March 14, 2009

hair adventures

My sister and I do not have a good track record when it comes to coloring and/or highlighting our hair.

One of the first times I dyed my hair, it came out purple instead of slightly red as I'd intended. The first time I highlighted was my senior year of college. My friend Jami did it for me, and instead of having a few blonde highlights spread throughout my brown hair, I practically became blonde! I made an emergency Walmart run the next day and found a sale on hair color--two for the price of one. So I bought two boxes of some shade of brown and dyed my hair twice. You'd think I would have learned my lesson about blonde highlights, but no, a year later I tried again . . . with the same results! This time it was Dollar General to the rescue.

My sister's hair hasn't fared much better. We highlighted it successfully several times, but when she decided to go brown . . . well, let's just say there was some green involved! We learned anything with "ash" in the name wouldn't go over well, so last time, we tried a golden brown. Her hair came out in a nice shade of orange.

Today, we decided to give it a go again. Amazingly, both our dye jobs turned out well! I had one of those dye & highlight kits, and I was a tad apprehensive about the highlighting part, but I like the way it turned out.

So, here's a glimpse of our (matching) hair.

Friday, March 13, 2009

happy anniversary to me

Today is my three year blogging anniversary. I'd repost my first post here (I blogged on MySpace for two years before joining blogger), but frankly, it was depressing! My first post on blogger was in March of last year, so I thought about reposting that one . . . and it was lame, unless you love Dancing with the Stars. I wasn't yet comfortable posting as "me," so it was completely anonymous. It wasn't until May that I began doing all my blogging here (thanks to Jen's gentle prodding).

So instead of reposting anything, I'll give you the last sentence of the first post of each month of the last year . . . and I'll link to the original post, just in case you're curious. (Why the last sentence, you ask? Because the first sentence is too boring.)
  • Steve because he's having so much fun . . . and because I loved the Three Men and a Baby movies.
  • No blogger post in April. Sorry!
  • You don't want the details of this recent bout with the stomach flu, but one good thing did come of it . . . I lost 13 pounds!
  • Because why would we have a day with no rain?
  • God is good!
  • I wonder if I'd have the same reaction if I was married and someone called me Miss . . . I kind of doubt it!
  • Sounds like a pretty good trade off to me!
  • We'll see how I do.
  • And no matter what happens, I'm so grateful to have a voice!
  • After I watch it, I'll let you know what I think . . . and you can be sure I'll watch it--what a clever marketing ploy!
  • When you think of me, I ask that you would pray those things for me, as well.
  • But I don't know their rules . . .

in dcTalk news . . .

Michael Tait is the new lead singer of the Newsboys, at least while they're on tour. From this article, it sounds like Peter Furler will still do lead vocals in the studio.

So tobyMac is touring, and Michael Tait is touring . . . perhaps the Newsboys and tobyMac could do a joint tour and pull out a little old school dcTalk while they're at it? (A girl can always dream . . .)

Side note: I just learned that tobyMac's real name is Kevin Michael McKeehan--interesting since his dcTalk bandmates were named Kevin and Michael. Seeing that sent me back 15 years or so . . . I had this dcTalk poster that came in my Brio magazine. My sister would sing their names to the tune of "There Were Twelve Disciples" over and over and over while pointing to their pictures on the poster. It was like a broken record: "Kevin, Toby, Michael, Kevin, Toby, Michael . . ."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

it's free!

This month, you can use the online version of the ESV Study Bible for free! I mentioned before that I absolutely love my ESV Study Bible, and I highly recommend you check it out. Go here to sign up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

what's the score?

Recently, I heard someone say that movie scores are the new classical music. I'd have to agree. There's something about a film score that draws me in. Our Nebraska NPR station has a program called "Classics by Request" on Friday afternoons, and we almost always listen to it in the office. Quite often, they will play music from Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lord of the Rings, Titanic, and virtually anything by John Williams.

Last Friday, I spent about three hours working on yearbook pages. For some reason, there is no radio reception in the yearbook room, so I set out to find classical music on an internet station. I ended up finding a wonderful station--Cinemix. (I'm actually surprised Cinemix isn't blocked, since it's so close in spelling to Cinemax . . . and our firewall is annoying like that.) This site has a huge catalog of music, and it's really easy to make requests. In fact, I requested two things while listening this afternoon, and both played within 20 minutes of the request. This is great music to have on while studying, reading, working in the office, or even sleeping. Check it out!

In the spirit of my movie music obsession, here are my top six scores (I couldn't keep it to five!):
  • While You Were Sleeping
    by Randy Edelman. You knew this would be there! I play this in the office at least three times a week--I call it my "happy music" :-)
  • The Lake House
    by Rachel Portman. Yeah, another Sandra Bullock movie! Portman is quickly becoming one of my favorite modern composers. She also composed the scores for Emma, Chocolat, and many others, and she won an Oscar for Emma.
  • Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
    by Klaus Badelt. I don't know why, but hearing a Pirates song in the middle of the workday just really perks me up!
  • The Return Of The King
    by Howard Shore. I love all the Lord of the Rings music, but The Return of the King is slightly happier than the other two scores.
  • The Man From Snowy River
    by Bruce Rowland. I bought this for "Jessica's Theme" and fell in love with the whole score.
  • Ever After: A Cinderella Story
    by George Fenton. My favorite track is "The Royal Wedding," simply because that scene in the movie cracks me up! It's a wonderful score--just be sure to turn it off as soon as track 21 is over; the final song is a horrible song by Texas. I've just about killed myself multiple times as I vault over things trying to get to the cd player in time.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

weekend update

  • The links on my Oscars post should all be working again--until YouTube is forced to pull these videos off, too.
  • I bought an iPod! I should have asked for advice sooner . . . when I make a decision, it doesn't take me long to follow through--it's just the decision making process that takes me forever! When I blogged about wanting an iPod, I'd pretty much decided to get one, and I bought it the next day. This is what I settled on. I'm so psyched it's purple! And, of course, I got it from amazon. It's like my favorite store ever :-)

  • I've finally used up my iTunes gift card. In addition to the music I already told you about, I got "From Where You Are" by Lifehouse, "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz, and "Beatrix & Norman" from the Miss Potter soundtrack. Have I told you how much I love movie scores? We listen to them all the time in the office . . .

a wedding comes our way

My brother is getting married at the end of April. So this weekend, Mom and I went "mother of the groom" dress shopping in Wichita.

We started at the Dress Barn. The lady there was kind enough to tell us she didn't have anything fancy enough, so we were quickly on our way. Next, we went to David's Bridal. I've never had a reason to go to a bridal shop before, and let's just say it was a bit overwhelming! We found the "mother" dresses, saw they were out of our price range, and headed to the mall. As we left, I really felt like we were escaping the madness!

Mom's cousin knew we were dress shopping, and she had called us from Dillard's earlier to let us know they had dresses that were 40% off, so we began our mall search there. Almost immediately, Mom found a dress! We had them hold it for us while we checked out Sears and J.C. Penney, but we ultimately went back to Dillard's. The whole process took maybe 90 minutes! Praise the Lord for that dress--we were anticipating a much longer, much more trying shopping trip.

Then in the evening, we made mints, mints, and more mints--somewhere around 400. And we have more to go!They're the cream cheese kind; we used almond and rum flavoring. While "minting," we watched the last two episodes of Psych. (Shameless Psych plug #541.) Because mint making takes forever, we also had time to watch Miss Potter. What a sweet, gentle movie! I highly recommend it.