hot bliggity blog 267

Monday, January 24, 2011

vow.2 1 Corinthians 10:13

1 Corinthians 10:13
NO temptation has overtaken me [you] except what is common to man. And You, O God, are faithful; You will not let me be tempted beyond what I am able, but with the temptation You will also provide a way out, so that I may be able to endure it.

In my home church, there was a girl whom I looked up to as a musician and artist. When she went off to college, she and a friend formed a singing/composing duo; their harmonies were so distinct and beautiful. I distinctly remember the night that they held a concert at our church. I was probably 13 years old and remember thinking 'If I could only want to practice my piano lessons as much as Amy does (we had the same precious teacher), I could be like her when I grow up!'

One of my most favorite songs from that night was a song in which the chorus was this verse. I have found myself many, many times throughout the years humming the chorus of that beautiful song. This is one of the many reasons that I LOVE music: putting a melody to a verse helps you to easily remember scripture. Even though I haven't actually heard that song in years, I have had that verse memorized since that night I sat on the edge of the pew as an awkward preteen, wanting to be just like the girls on stage. Sure I might have to sing it to you, but I can quote you that verse! Ha!

I once heard Shane Everett (of Shane & Shane) say this about their lyrics: 'We get all of our inspiration and good stuff from the Bible; the beauty of the Bible is you can take from it all of these great verses and never get in trouble for plagiarizing' How true! I just love that. God wants us to learn, meditate and share His Word; He basically asks us to plagiarize. Ha!

As I have been reading the Bible from cover to cover, I have been amazed at the number of verses of scripture that I knew as songs. I seriously had no idea how many praise and worship songs that I have grown up singing were taken straight from the Bible and put to melodies. Many times I found myself reading along and all the sudden ending a verse in song!

Bottom line: learning scripture to choruses is a simple, effective and beautiful way to memorize scripture :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

vow.1 Psalm 119:11

I just decided that I want to post a Verse of the Week every Monday for the year of 2011. One thing I learned while reading the Bible through the B90X program was the importance of surrounding yourself with scripture and keeping it in your heart. So here we go; I thought it would be best to start off with the following verse:

Psalm 119:11-

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 goals

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

I cannot believe that we are 2/3 through January already!!!
I don't think I have ever put my goals into writing. So this year I am trying something new; I hope that by writing them down and making them public you can help hold me accountable. Some are generic, some specific, some cheesy, some easy and some that will be difficult. So, here goes:

1. increase my prayer life

2. invest in friends who care for me

3. put ideas into writing/drawing

4. improve portfolio

5. Read more; fiction and non-fiction

6. pictorial 52

7. stop and breathe; say 'No' sometimes

8. run a 5K (yikes!)

9. continue to lose weight; get in shape

10. Grow in God

Monday, January 10, 2011

snapshots of my life: dashing thru december

When I was little, I was Terrified of Santa Clause. Like, MAJOR TERRIFIED. MAY-JOR. I think it was probably all of the facial hair that caused me to turn bright red and scream at the top of my lungs for at least 15 minutes after the Jolly Ole Man was out of my sight. I have never liked facial hair; I’ve not liked it since the day I was born. My parents have video footage of me running away screaming from anyone (usually these anyone’s were men ha!) who had any form of facial hair. I’m sure it was one of those embarrassing things that parents’ have to deal with: ‘I’m so sorry, Sir, but would you mind re-seating us in a section with a waiter that doesn’t have a beard? She won’t be able to eat for your hair trimmings’ Ha! Can you imagine?!

Anyways, I found Santa Claus this year and ironically it was at Chick-Fil-A, the same place as 25 years ago! I didn’t scream this time but was thankful when it was all over and he had safely moved 10 feet away from me. And despite his full, white beard, this Santa was perfect for the job: a belly full of jelly, a bright red suit, and a jolly old laugh. But again, he had a BEARD!!!

I have always loved the hand bell choir. Since I can remember, my mom has had hand bell practice once a week. Shortly after I graduated last year I moved into an apartment close enough to my parents’ church that I was able to join the ‘big girl’ hand bell choir. These are my bells :) I typically have an array of about 7 bells set up to play in any given song and 6 more on stand-by. It’s challenging; that’s why I love it!

This Christmas Season was particularly busy in the hand bell world. We accompanied a home school choir’s Christmas concert, dawned our 1850s garb for a nearby Dickens’ Festival, set up to play in a local gazebo for yet another Christmas festival, and the list goes on. Throughout all of these events (since Thanksgiving, really) I struggled with inner ear problems that caused vertigo. Vertigo is not fun and, when coupled with petty coats and 40 lb hand bell cases, causes extreme dizziness and in my case, a fractured foot. Ha! And after yet another Saturday morning trip to the doctor this season I am thankful to have the vertigo cleared up.

This is not my baby, nor do I know who he belongs to but he was too cute not to share with you!

Like I said, I have many friends who are celebrating birthdays this month. (And as we are already 10 days into January I can tell you there will not be an end to this any time soon.) Stephanie is the baby of this particular ring of friends, turning the ripe old age of 19! We celebrated by getting the girls together and eating at Spaghetti Warehouse. One of her presents was this giant foam cowboy hat. I’m not sure that she has worn it since then!

My mom has always wanted a banister to decorate for Christmas; when they moved to their ‘Texas-style’ house, she finally got it. And guess what that means? Yep. I get to put it up and take it down every year! Each spindle gets it’s own piece of garland with layers of ribbons, lights, and bows. This year took me a record time of one whole week to decorate! It was very pretty, though! When it came time to take it all down and stow away, I asked my brother to help me. As I was telling him all the problems I ran into installing it (broken Christmas lights, missing bows, etc.) he said, ‘Why do ya’ll even bother putting all this stuff up if it just stresses you out?’ Ah. Such a boy :) I don’t know why we put it up, other than it looks pretty and girls like pretty things.

I got to participate in a Jingle Bell Run benefiting COPD. The mother of some friends of mine (twin sisters) has been battling COPD for a while now. I think we were all amazed at how many people participated for this great cause.

We all had jingle bells in our sign-in packets. Here they are attached to my tennis shoes :) We saw several Santa Claus’s, elves, Christmas presents and one chimney/mantle piece complete with lit candles and hung stockings.

I also started a new job during all of this. Why not spice things up a bit?! I got two bouquets of flowers on my last day at my old office. They were beautiful!

I got to be a part of our church’s Christmas show this year. It was amazing and quite possibly one of the best Christmas shows I have ever seen. Originally it was meant to be for children but after some very creative people got their hands on it, it developed into a magnificent and all age appropriate show. The nativity scene was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. While the nativity scene came to life on the stage and throughout the sanctuary, two aerial ballet artists from Cirque-de-Soleil gracefully dangled 40 feet in the air from white sheets. It was incredible. I wish I had a picture of it but even if I did it would not be able to fully convey the beauty of this moment. Below is a picture of most of the cast and crew during a dress rehearsal meeting. There were little angels, dancing Elves, inhabitants of Christmas Town and many, many more.

My friend Kyla got to bring her family and friends for one of the performances. I was so glad that she got to see it!

What were you doing on Christmas Eve? If you were in New York or any other neighboring New England states I can pretty much guarantee that you weren’t doing what my family members were doing. At one point during the day I looked out and saw this; my dad and brother mowing and cleaning up the yard. I don’t remember the exact temperature but I do remember that it was a beautiful day and judging by their clothes, it was probably somewhere in the 70s. I love the south :)

After our Christmas Eve service we gathered round to play a game or two of Rummi-kub. Rummi-kub is a combination of Rummy and Spades and involves a lot of thinking, planning and swapping. I usually do not win this game when playing with my family. Ha!

Our Christmas tree! This year, like several of our most recent Christmas’s, was spent with just the five of us at the house. It makes for a very quiet couple of days! Being the not-so-early risers that the majority of us are, we had a late breakfast at about 11:00 and exchanged gifts shortly there after. We always joke that our house is Santa’s last stop of the night. We have never gotten up at the crack of dawn unable to hide our excitement and anticipation on Christmas morning. I can remember only one Christmas when one of us woke up on our own for Christmas morning. We are all such sleepers! Christmas Day and Stocking Set-Up has always been easy on our parents. Unfortunately, this is about the only day of the year where this proves to be of any benefit.

Christmas Day was very cold here. The weather swings here are sometimes similar to that of a restaurant kitchen door. It comes and it goes, high to ow, rainy to drought, stormy to desolate. Anyways, the weather reached down to about 30 degrees Christmas night. I dragged my sister out for a walk in the neighborhood and although I generally am not a fan of the cold I was excited to get to use my New York hat that I bought in NYC two years ago when I was in Times Square for New Year’s!

So, in summary of this fast paced December, I composed a song titled ‘Ellen’s 12 Days of Christmas’ and can be sung to the tune of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’:

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Twelve dozen snowflakes
Eleven hand bells ringing
Ten strands of twinkle lights
Nine scarves a’crocheted
Eight friends with birthdays
Seven pounds a’gained
Six Christmas parties
Five cars at home!
Four hand bell concerts
Three church performances
Two Christmas Hams and
A stomach bug that kept me home from all!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Merry Christmas 2010!!!

Merry Christmas! Our family photo for this year was taken 4 nights before Christmas. We were given our color assignments and told to meet down by the piano in 20 minutes. Miraculously, the 30 minute photo shoot was a success and no one stomped off because the final selection was not their best. Yours truly has never done this before :) I have always thought it would be fun to have another sibling or two, but come Christmas-card-picture-taking time I am thankful for our family of five!

Why does it seem that the ‘Most wonderful time of the year’ is always the most busiest, craziest, weight-gained time of the year?! With 4 parties a weekend, cookies & treats brought into work daily, and a fractured foot, this has been a fast-moving, blur kind of a holiday season. Every year the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years go by faster and faster; I am thankful for the Christmas lights to light our paths! Ha! It is sad, though, that we spend this special time in such a tizzy; I don’t believe that this was ever God’s intention.

This year was different for me as I was trying to finish my B90X challenge. (Remaining B90X posts to come soon!) As it worked out, I made it into the Gospels in the midst of the hustle and bustle that December always brings. It was good for me to read the Christmas story multiple times this year.

The story of Jesus’ birth is exciting, miraculous, mysterious, and so many other things and every year I find a new truth or exciting piece of the story that rocks my world. This year said truth was every one’s obedience to God’s plan. No one could have even begun to understand or imagine what God had planned for this tiny baby, yet the major players (Mary and Joseph) never once protested-it’s not recorded that they did, anyway-and made the appropriate adjustments to their lives and routines to submit to God’s will.

I pray that God’s will be made so clear for me this year that I do not question Him either. I want to be like Mary, Mother of Jesus-confident in His will so that the only questions that I ask are ‘Am I still IN Your will? Doing what you have planned for me?’ instead of ‘Is this REALLY what You have planned for me? Why me? Why do You have me here?!’ I pray that His will will be made clear to you as well as we enter into a new year; a time for new beginnings and experiences.

I started a new job one week before Christmas day (why not throw something else into the crazy mix of things?!) At this job I am exposed to more people, many of whom do not know the Lord. Most of them fall into one of several groups: those who are searching for something, those who know but do not live for Him, and those who don’t know that they are even in need of a Savior. As we were preparing and anticipating the Christmas break, it broke my heart as I realized how many do not make Christ the center of Christmas. I pray that I can be an example of Christ to these people and that His Light is evident through me.

I hope that you and yours had a wonderful Christmas day with family and friends.