Thankful

Wow. So much has happened this summer!!

As I return to Northwestern, I attempt to count my blessings. Too bad… there are too many to count! But I can try. 🙂 Here are a few to get started…
-coworkers who turned into friends
-an adorable Little Shadow (aka Cody) who brightened my summer’s work when I was at home!
-Composing — enough said 🙂
-I received a splint in July to help with my TMJ! That has helped some so far and we’ll see how it helps as I get into the semester! This leads right into…
-Singing!! “I LOOOVE to sing!”
-Family ❤
– 4 jobs to save money for school
-Being back at ARC with my great church family!
-Spending time with Little Dude (Reed – not so little anymore!) and Jen
-Divine appointments/beautiful conversations
-Teaching music/music theory is FUN!
-A certain friend and the Adventure that we’re living! I cannot believe how the LORD has orchestrated the whole thing so perfectly. I am SO blessed!!
-Books, oh how I’ve missed you during the school year when I no longer have time for fun-reading!
-Being STILL
-Sleep — I’ve actually been sleeping well most of the summer! Hooray!
-A new beautiful yellow dress from my lovely mother 🙂
-Frolicking in the country… and the stars…. YES
-Skype!
-Running! Who knew I would come to enjoy running long distances?!
-Music (such as Chris Thile’s new Bach album that recently came out!!)
-A car of my own, named Nellie
-the SUN. Sometimes it’s hard to sit inside all day doing homework and not be able to go run and play!
-Finishing my summer classes strong!
-Lovely phone conversations with lovely people
-My roommates who I will see SOON and very SOON!
-fresh veggies. Yummmmmmm. 🙂
-Painting my room with my sissy!
-Organizing my bookshelf, which really needed it.
-Scripture
-Love, Life, Faithfulness, Perseverance, Encouragement, JOY

I could go on and on… the list would never end! But all these words to say… I am a VERY blessed, VERY thankful girl! Abba, I cannot WAIT to start this new season, this adventure called Sophomore year with You! May You be my Guide, my Leader, my Comfort and Reassurance… may You be my Love this school year. Amen. ❤

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Only the Beginning

Music Teacher.
These two words entitle the fun, new experience I have had in the past two weeks! And what a joy it has been. The kiddos I worked with, the introduction song I made up, the material I taught, the games we played, the “homework” we looked at, the understanding that was built, the wrong answers fixed and made right, the feedback received from the parents/guardians who brought their kiddos to class, the points each kiddo earned for learning well, the helpful kiddos erasing the whiteboard for me at the end of class, the giggles and silliness of kiddos having fun learning… I loved it all! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing lightbulbs of understanding, joy, and learning happen over the 4 class sessions I spent with those 3 amazing kiddos. K, D, and C were a blast to teach; I am so thankful for such a positive first “classroom” teaching experience. Yes, it was not as big or quite the same format as a school teacher, but it was a lot of the same kinds of things as what I will be soon diving into learning about! And for that I am very excited. What a blessing it was to receive such positive feedback from the parents. Their support of how this Music Enrichment/Music Theory class idea went this first time around gives me great hope and excitement (and more ideas!) for expanding it next summer. What a thought!!

Now I’ll tell you a little bit about my kiddos. 🙂 They will have a special place in my memory as they were part of a milestone in my own education journey.
K — What a tall, sporty girl she is! She is smiley, cheery, and always ready and eager with the right answer. I am pretty sure she had some knowledge of a little of the material we covered, so she was able to pick up speed and familiarity as we worked through the material I taught. She always brought back worksheets well-completed. Her questions were thoughtful and usually ahead of where I was teaching. This girly reminded me a lot of myself at that age. That’s kind of a fun thought.
D — This sweetheart was a little difficult for me to relate to at first mostly because she was a little shy, but by the second week her spunk was starting to come bursting forth! She loves to laugh and make funny faces. Her “thinking” face always made me wonder if she thought I was being too hard, but the right answers she often gave me proved that theory wrong! When I asked them their favorite games, she could not pick one! I found that kind of crazy, considering kids love games, right? Well, maybe she just has too many to choose from. I was very encouraged to see this initially-quiet girl gain confidence and have fun with the music material we learned.
C — This is one spunky and sweet little mister! He was the most talkative one of our group, always ready to fill the extra space with a comment, question, or silly antic. I have some adorable quotes from this guy over the course of the week. On day one, C walks in, sits down next to D and says, “I’m a little nervous for this.” I reassured him that it would be fun, and he looked back at me with the biggest eyes and a slightly concerned look on his face, almost as if he didn’t believe me. Boy, was I right though! On day three when K was up at the whiteboard answering a question for me, I could hear C singing quietly to himself, “I like music, I like music…” and proceed to hum a little spontaneous tune to finish it off before it was his turn to answer a question for me at the board! Sounds like a happy musician to me! 🙂 On the final day of class while he, D, and K were all working together at the board, C says, “I like this class a lot.” and then a minute later “I’m going to miss you!” Oh goodness… what music to my ears. I had been praying for these kiddos before meeting them, that they would enjoy the class, learn about music, and grow a passionate love for learning… that they would not only learn to love music, but also come to know and love the Giver and Creator of Music, too. According to C’s comments, that prayer was just maybe answered!!
What a joyous beginning to what might just be an excitingly long journey of learning, discovery, music, and kiddos!

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You Don’t Have to Get a Student Loan to be a Student

My father and brother keep a blog called Vegetable Freak for our family farm called Greenleaf Farms (also on Facebook!). Here’s a guest post that I wrote for a church publication earlier this winter and my father posted it to the blog. Enjoy!

http://vegetablefreak.blogspot.com/2013/05/you-dont-have-to-get-student-loan-to-be.html

Sometimes Blessings Come Disguised

I am sure you’ve heard this saying before: “Sometimes blessings come disguised.” It rings true to us for many reasons. We make plans and often times those plans don’t happen how we’d like or when we’d like. We see the bad in some circumstances, only to find out later that there was some good mixed in. Or if there was no apparent good to be found, we at least learned some good things through the hard times.

This is what I discovered yet again a few days ago.
The LORD took me through an amazing time of reflection and thinking, a time of renewal. He encouraged me to write out my story, the whole thing, from beginning to end. So write I did… and write, and write, and write. And what a freeing act that was. He showed me that through some of the difficulty and strife, through some of the pain and hurt that I had experienced, there were great blessings and lessons that I learned that I am only beginning to see now. He does not deny that some of those things were bad or that some of them hurt — because they really did — but He is showing me that He can make such beauty from ashes, from the fire of trials. But He can only make beauty and bring restoration and renewal if I surrender and let Him. This is a scary act, I know, because it is an act of giving up control. But it is an act of liberation and trust, an act of letting Abba Daddy take the reigns and lead me by the hand instead of running ahead alone to fall in a mud hole that I cannot climb out of by myself. He will certainly help me climb out and gently clean me up if I DO decide to do that… but He encourages me to walk next to Him, letting Him speak into every part of this journey called life. Because truly, that is the Good Life.
So here I am, LORD. Do with me and in me as You will, Abba. I am all Yours.

So Good to Me!

God is SO good to me! Over the past semester, He has been faithfully leading me, guiding me into something that I never expected or thought possible. When He first put the thought into my mind, I told Him, “No way!! I don’t want to yet! I’m scared and not ready for what You’re asking me to do.” But my God had other plans, of course.
Looking back at that moment, and looking at myself now as I step forward to obey Him, I see myself looking a lot like many people in Scripture. Moses, for example, said, “LORD, who am I to speak eloquently in front of Pharaoh, the most prominent figure in all of the world as we know it? How can I do Your work?” Or what about Abraham, who obeyed God and took Isaac to sacrifice him? I’m sure so many thoughts were running through his head as they made the treck up to make an altar. Things like: “Really LORD? How can my son be the fulfillment of the promise if You ask me to sacrifice him? How can I possibly obey this? How do I obey You, God?” Or how about Peter in the New Testament: “Jesus, I will NEVER deny You!” and then he does. He doubts he can ever obey again, knowing that he is sinful and bound to fail. BUT Jesus brings him back his calling and reminds him that he can only do it through the power of the Almighty One who called him in the first place.
This is where the LORD brought me to last week and today. He said, “Andrea, I would never ask you to do something if I could not do it through you and in you. You have to trust me. You are always ready when I am with you.”
And so I say, YES LORD. I trust You. I will obey, even if I am scared and afraid, not knowing how to do what You’ve asked of me. In fact, when I bring my worries or anxieties to You, You can turn it into thrilled excitement and passion for what You’ve called me to do. LORD, thank You for Your faithfulness! You are SO good to me!! ❤

Blessed.

I am a blessed girl…. oh, SO blessed.

My LORD gives me life and breath EVERY SINGLE day to sing for Him, to display His glory and His joy!
My LORD gives me amazing friends, roommate(s), and family with whom I share the amazing journey called life.
My LORD gives me wonderful ideas to use in my compositions.
My LORD gives me strength when I struggle to have energy, peace, or comfort in pain and suffering, day by day.
My LORD gives me focus, motivation, purpose, and perseverance when I feel like giving up.
My LORD gives me crazy passions with which to praise Him, and even provides outlets for those crazy passions (aka — water goblets and music theory!)!
My LORD gives me joy…. unspeakable JOY.
My LORD gives me Himself, His Presence. And that, my friends, is the best of all.

believe you are beautiful

What if we ALL saw ourselves and each other the way God does?!?

beautyfromdeath

believe you are beautiful

This morning started out snowy, yet the drive home was sunny and beautiful. Today I watched this amazing video that reminded me that I need to see my beauty through God’s eyes and not focus on my flaws. Today I listened to the song “How He Loves” on the radio. Some friends of mine don’t like to pick it to do as a worship song because of something about its doctrinal soundness, but I think that’s a lame excuse to not worship God with this beautifully written song. We can worship God through so many things….Anyways, the reason why I brought up the song is that it related to the video. We need to know God loves us and love Him first in order to love ourselves. We need to love ourselves before we can properly love others. This video is all about loving yourself and…

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Transform This — What the Gospel of Jesus Can Do!

Transform This | Comment Magazine | Cardus.

This is an absolutely beautiful story of what the LORD can do in people’s lives if they only trust in Him. There is power in His name and in the Gospel, my friends!! Read this and be encouraged. If He can work in these guys, He can DEFINITELY work in you, if you let Him. That’s my challenge for you and for myself today: will we surrender our own agendas and let God work in us??

Repentance

I hate it when I sin. Absolutely hate it. And what do I hate even more than sin?? I HATE the appeal of sin. It wouldn’t be so hard to resist if it were an abominable abhorrence. But it’s not always that way. That’s why I’m tempted by it. That’s why you’re tempted by it. It’s part of our fallen nature to want to do things we’re told specifically not to do. It’s a warping of our beautiful curiosity to be interested in that which is harmful to us.

Right now I am angry. Angry at myself for finding sin appealing. Angry that I can’t do what I want to do and that I want to do what I can’t do. Righteously angry I believe because, you see, my desires are not the LORD’s right now. And I HATE that! I want so badly for my desires to be His desires, and yet I have no control over changing my thoughts, my desires, my inclinations. My natural tendencies lead to destruction. I can’t do good. I can look good on the outside, pretending that my actions reveal my desires and motives. But even the good that I do perform is as filthiness compared to His perfection. This is why I’m angry.

I could let this anger cause me to become bitter, angry at God for letting me sin, beating myself up for constantly making mistakes, or just ignore the good and let myself give in to my natural tendencies towards death. But I’m not going to do that. I am going to choose to let truth permeate the sin and temptation that I face, knowing that Jesus is the only One Powerful enough to change me. And I’m going to surrender. Surrender my sin… surrender my pride… surrender my struggles with the thoughts of temptation… and just BE in His Presence. Being in His Presence reminds me who I am. It sets me in my place and shows me the true way, the beautiful way, the good way.

LORD, change my heart. Mold my desires to conform to Yours. Shape me to look like You. Use me. Let it be.

A Modern Day Easter Story

What a remarkable story this is, because of the AWEsome, remarkable God we serve! As I read this story of Alex, a man who’s going to graduate this May from the school at which I did PSEO, I am again reminded of the powerful LOVE that God has shown us, a love that truly can overcome death, hatred, and bitterness.

LORD, thank You for Your work in ALex’s life and so many others through him!

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