I thank you God for this most amazing day

There is so much leaping greenly, dreams of skies, and a big old infinite YES! happening around here right now. The weather is absolutely perfect, the sunsets getting prettier each day, and my E flat has come in for the past 3 days in a row now!

I got to sing at the Kerr Cultural Center today for an appreciative audience that liked whatever noises came out of our throats - the best kind, in my opinion! I like singing.

My show is soo amazing - I've never been in a show of this quality before, and each night of tech rehearsals, some new magical elements is added. The lights, the costumes, the period hairstyles, the orchestra - it's all coming together and I'm so excited. I sit backstage most of the show helping to move sets around, and it's a really fun way to get my feet wet in this whole being-in-a-show-at-ASU business.

I pray at school every Monday with people from my choir, and it's such a taste of heaven. I love talking to God with other people. Yay for the body of Christ!

And, I got a mini-solo in my choir at school! It's all of four notes long, but it's really pretty and I'm super excited. And nervous. But mostly excited.

For I am a human merely being... and it's so marvelous.

(thank you ee cummings for beautiful words)


Snapshots of a Freshman Semester

Because I believe in moments, here are a few of my favorites from my first semester at ASU...

* Finding a man in the woman's restroom. We were both "shocked and slightly embarrassed."

* Falling twice on my scooter; breaking 3 different scooters; finally deciding to bring a bike to school instead. :P

* Eating dinner at the Barrett cafeteria with Josh and Ben and laughing and laughing and laughing

* Throwing kneepads at people while they sing (all for the sake of theater!)

* Having a surprise friend come be a shoulder to cry on one night when life and all this change was getting too overwhelming

So far, college is awesome. I'm still struggling with making friends and really finding a "group," but I'm doing better about not being afraid of people. I'm learning a lot, singing a lot, and discovering a lot about myself.

Like, for instance, the fact that I like food a *lot.* It's kind of a running joke with my friends Josh and Ben that I obsess about food, especially when it comes to the Barrett cafeteria, which is absolutely the most wonderful place to eat on campus. For a while, I kept making food analogies in my Human Event (philosophy/literature/history) class, until everyone started noticing. My group in Human Event is making a short film for our final project, and I am playing the part of Barrett Cafeteria.

I think my recent obsession with food has psychological reasons: as a kid growing up, I always spent a lot of time around the dinner table with my family, laughing and chatting and just generally finding joy in that environment. Now that I'm alone a lot on campus, I can find comfort when I'm eating, because of that link to my childhood.

Haha, or maybe I just like eating.



I love weddings.

I love the pretty dresses (and funky shoes), and beautiful music - I love the older generations blessing the new marriage. I love celebrating love and commitment. I love the awkward moments and how everyone is so quick to laugh, and so quick to cry.

So yeah, I went to a wedding on Friday night and it was awesome. I hear wedding bells ringing in the next year or so for some of my closest friends, and I'm really excited. Eeee!

I'm not so thrilled about my music theory test that I took Friday morning. It was *so* hard. Really, teacher, 3 enharmonic modulations for a total of 4 key centers all in a one page excerpt?

Other than that, school is going really well. I'm super excited for next semester, because I have almost all of my afternoons free. Super cool.

So yup, life is good, God is good, music is good. Peace out!


Sunshine in My Soul!

Jude 24-25:

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

I'm writing a paper right now on death and how that affects human relationship, specifically within a worldview that doesn't really believe in a meaningful existence after death. So, I've been thinking... and it makes me so happy that Jesus is a God of eternity - lots of things in this life we have only for fleeting, precious moments, but then they are gone for good. Isn't it wonderful that the one Person who will bring ultimate joy and deepest fulfillment is a forever kind of God? I'm thrilled to able to abandon myself to His love without ever having to doubt that it will grow cool or that He will ever forsake me.

And that knowledge is the best kind of illumination for my heart of hearts!


Sound Bite

From a dancer in the tour of Beauty and the Beast that is currently playing at Gammage, and who so kindly came and gave an artist talk to us LOT folks:

"In order to be a public success, you must first be a public failure."

That gives me so much courage as I slog through my intro to dance class, and as I try to come up with a decent sounding belt/mix. It's ok to make mistakes and humiliate myself - that's kind of what school is for! And... I totally did embarrass myself today in dance class... when the teacher stops counting the combo to laugh at you, you know you're looking pretty crazy. :D



I love not doing homework during lunch because I'm chatting with friends.

I love the feeling of a great big world just waiting to unfold in front of me.

I love listening to CDs my friends burn for me.

I love singing really, really high.

I love dancing to the music in my head.

I love *finally* being happy again! :D


About Confession

I love being a Christian. Theological reasons aside, I so enjoy the Christian life - worship music, getting dressed up on Sundays, fellowship within the body, our beautiful traditions, corporate prayer, and mutual confession.

As an Evangelical, I don't participate in formal confessions as in the Catholic churches, but an integral part of every Christian's life is the discipline of confessing our sins to one another. Last night at small group, we broke into guys and gals and confessed to each other some besetting sins that we consistently struggle with, and then as a group, talked about how the truth of the gospel informed each of those situations.

It can be so hard to share, because we all know that the rest of the group is made up of people with problems - it's hard to face potential judgement or criticism or holier-than-thou attitudes. But when God is moving, the encouragement is so, so worth it. Praying for each other, and helping each other through the difficulties - it so helps me to walk in victory and to celebrate the power of God over Satan.

So yeah, being a Christian is pretty dog-gone awesome. :D


Wrapping My Troubles in Dreams

I keep losing my Anne-ness, these days. I get lost in a cloud of discontentment, wishing for a million different things I don't have. I want to live on campus, for instance. And I wish I had more friends here at school. I'm upset I don't have a good belt or a good mix. I don't like the weight I'm at right now... the list goes on and on.

I feel so embarrassed writing all those silly things down, and even more embarrassed to tell you that those silly worries have consumed me for the past couple of weeks. My eyes have been turned so inward that I've missed the beautiful things going on around me.

I've missed things like intentionally enjoying my beautiful family. I've neglected building up the incredible friendships I do have at church and other places. I've forgotten to thank God for the fact that I can sing at all!

I'm struggling with life as an adult... I know I'm being melodramatic, and that I'm probably still more child than adult, but I can't wrap my head around the notion that my childhood is slipping past me forever, and that I can't change any of what's already happened. I feel so locked in to the next 4 years here in my town, at ASU. When I tell my grandchildren stories about my college years, it's all going to have happened right here where I'm walking every day.

It's strange to have dreamed about something, whether that be adulthood, or being a college kid, or whatever, for so long, and then all of a sudden - it has come true! I'm really here. And sometimes I wish I was back in my dreamworld, where the imagined situations could change with my every whim.

It's kind of funny, but I never like to make a post like this until I've already decided on a course of action. I hate indecision!

So here's my plan:

1. Dig deep into God, into the joys of the gospel. I need some eternal perspective on my life! God's story, spanning thousands of years and millions of hearts, is full of joy and victory and deeper meaning. This is definitely something I want to live in, to drown in.

2. Keep dreaming! I'm not going to fantasize about how happy I would be, if only this or that happened, but I'm going to choose to walk through life with a dreamy glow around the edges. The ordinary stairs I claim every morning to the practice rooms on the 5th floor turn into graceful steps ascending into the heavens, bringing me closer to the beauty and creativity I know are waiting for me inside those little cubicles. See? It's all better already.

I'll keep you updated! :)


Today's a Special Day!

it's 10-10-10.

That makes me super happy.


What a Wonderful Day!

Even my 7:30 class was fantastic this morning, because we were talking about personality types and that's just so fascinating! I'm an ENFJ, and it turns out all the girls I sit around at choir are ENFJs too - no wonder we all get along. So yeah, lots of fun discussion in that class, bright and early as it was.

Theory class was difficult, as we tried to analyze secondary German, French, and Italian Augmented Sixth chords in inversion in *real music.* My brain still hurts from that part. I love theory because it's so interesting and intellectual, but it's really, really difficult.

And then, raptures of raptures!! I had a voice lesson with Sarah Jane McMahon! She's in town to sing Mabel with the Arizona Opera, and she's just fabulous. I love her voice to death, and she's so sweet, kind, and humble, despite her flowering career that brings her into contact with the greats like Placido Domingo. The lesson was so informative, and I feel like I sang really well.

Unfortunately, my iPod seems to have turned itself off halfway through the lesson, so I'm not sure if I got a recording of it. That would quite literally be a tragedy, so I'm putting off plugging the iPod in to my computer to see if I can coax it to give me something good. I hope I managed to record at least part of it.

Then we had this Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi come hear our choir sing at school, and then he gave us a little talk afterwards with some Q and A time. How fascinating! We're singing some of his works next semester, and I'm really thrilled.

So combine all that with a great movement class and time with my best friend.... and yeah, that makes for a pretty fantastic day.

God is so good! I mean, He would be good regardless of my bad days or good days, but I really like that He's choosing to show me His goodness by pouring out all these blessings on me. It's definitely a very fun way to learn about His abundant grace and mercy.


When I'm Heartsore

Do bouts of heartsickness come with this age? The tangy, dreamy kind of ache that settles deep inside; the restless kind of longing that yearns for something - something more, something greater.

The only way I know how to deal with is it to run to my upright and sing old jazz songs.

I think it's part of being young, and in love with life but not with anyone in particular. I'm so glad to be alive, maybe especially because being alive means feeling things so deeply.

And isn't it romantic? Merely to be young on such a night as this?


Hello, October!

Usually I don't pay much attention to the month of October. I mean, September has my birthday and the beginning of school, and November heralds in the holiday season and cooler weather. October has to be endured... one more month of 100 degree heat before the welcome winter comes.

But this year... I don't know. I mean to make much of my October. You see, I want to start living more intentionally. Be bold in my friendships, but in a Christ-centered boldness, not out of a desperate need for human affirmation. I want to take risks in my performing - to sing and act and dance and never be afraid. So this October, as I have my first ASU choir concerts, begin rehearsals for Secret Garden, and settle into small groups at school and church, my aim is to offer each moment to God's service.

I'm excited to see what this month holds!


New Poem!

Ok, it's actually not new. I wrote it last April, but it's a little different from the kinds of poems I'm used to writing, so I was a little afraid to share it. But here it is - so be nice to it! :)

I walked to the edge of the sea,
And dipped my toes in the surf.
Touching the ocean is (to me)
Something like tasting a dream.

I crept up and sat by a lark,
Memorized its tremulous strains.
Hearing its song, even in part,
Is something like seeing through the dark.

I lay down beneath a pine,
Observed the branches and boughs.
Following each twisted vine,
Is something like tasting good wine.

I knelt beside a rose,
Closed my eyes and breathed.
Smelling such perfume, so close,
Is something like inhaling a poem.

I gathered courage to hold your hand,
To feel the softness of your fingers; which,
Intertwined together as we stand,
Look something like a wedding band.

Of Twirling Turtles

So, I like to twirl on sidewalks when I'm walking around school. Every now and then, the sky is so perfectly beautiful or I'm just so happy to be alive, that I get all romantically and give a little twirl for the heck of it.

But today I twirled around and there was totally someone walking right behind me. Awkward turtles all around. LOL!


A Whirlwind of Magic!

What a wonderful life mine has been! Just today, I got a backstage tour of Young Frankenstein (which is playing at Gammage), plus free tickets to see it tonight! And tomorrow, we have a dance masterclass with the cast. Super exciting stuff!

But besides that ... I'm making friends, and had dinner with a delightful girl who's in 4 of my classes this semester. I'm learning a lot, practicing a lot, hanging on to my grades by the skin of my teeth, and so pumped to start rehearsals for Secret Garden on Monday.

My days are packed from the time I get up (which is guiltily around 7:00 these days - though my alarm goes off a good hour before I actually tumble out of bed) to the time I go to bed, usually around 11:00. My dad commented that it was like full-time Interlochen, and it so is. Concerts every weekend, recitals/convocations during the week, choir, show rehearsals, theory class... and all the instrumentals walking around blowing on things! I had to wait a while for a practice room today, and I just loved studying to the cacophony of music streaming from all the little cubicles.

I still don't know about a 10 year plan, or about making money and paying bills, but I do know that being a music major is amazing in every way.

With a heart full of gratitude, I'm off to catch a few hours of sleep :)


Yes, please!

I just got back from a beautiful concert at ASU today: a piano professor collaborating with all kinds of different instruments, from strings, to woodwinds, to a soprano.

Can I say that I love Schumann? The elegance, the discipline, the delightful turns of phrase and the subtle emotions. And this might be weird, but I love hearing German diction. It's pretty incredible. So thank you, Carole Fitz-Patrick, for your lovely consonants and clear vowels.

Alright, now I'm definitely motivated to go practice - so I'll catch you later :)


I'm Back :)

So... Germany...

My prolonged absence is really quite inexcusable. I'm very sorry. Somehow, blogging is a discipline that gets quickly thrown by the wayside as soon as anything else comes up to interfere. But, I have given up facebook for at least the next month and a half, so Starry Wonders will again become the way I communicate with the online world.

Germany was incredible, but I feel like to recap it would be kind of odd at this point. So call me if you want specifics :)

Now, it's almost October, and I've settled into life as a college student here at my crazy campus. My days are so full of learning and working hard, meeting new people and developing older friendships, learning about God, and learning about myself, too. I've grown so much as a person since I started this blog however long ago, and I'm excited to see where God takes me next!

I wanted to share with all of you a beautiful new habit I've adopted thanks to my hilarious friend S. Every day, we make a point of recalling the "happinesses" that have happened during the day, and we text them to each other. It has so helped to keep me from being discouraged or mopey as I struggle with some of the harder aspects of transitioning to college. You should give it a try!

So today, my happiness list is this:

- A really fun dance session in class today
- Going to pass out fliers about our Crisis Pregnancy Center at a highschool football game
- Hugs from friends
- A light load of homework for the weekend!

What's yours?


Updates from Freiberg!

May 18, 2010: Well, I’m writing this on May 18th at least, but I’m not sure when I’ll get internet, so who knows when you’ll be reading this?

I navigated the Frankfurt and Dresden airports alright, even though I accidently misplaced my baggage claim ticket. I guess that’s not the smartest thing to do… But anyway, the car ride from Dresden to Freiberg was “so schön,” or very pretty, and I chatted in German with the lady who drove me. I’m actually very proud of my German skills thus far, although my vocabulary is super limited.

My apartment is so cute! It’s really rather big, with three bedrooms, a spacious living room and dining room, a fun little kitchen, and of course a bathroom. I’m sharing my room with another girl, but she’s neater than I am and really sweet. Actually, all three of my suitemates are very gracious and kind, even though they’re all considerably older than me. And they’re all so talented! It’s such a privilege to be spending so much time with such serious, talented, dedicated artist. Some of them are launching their careers, and it’s enlightening to hear them chat about audition tours, etc.

We all rented little bikes to get around with, and mine is super cute. It’s old-fashioned, light blue, and has a little bell to ring in case someone gets in my way. How fun is that? And when I ride on the cobblestone streets – which actually is the majority of the roads inside of the town – it rattles so satisfyingly. I’m so out of shape that I can’t even make it up some of the hills, but hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be more acclimated.

Speaking of acclimation, the weather is so different here! It’s freezing! We had chilly wind and rain today, and I definitely needed my soprano scarf and big jacket. Our poor program director is scared sick that one of us will catch a cold because we’re not bundled up tightly enough. I do need to buy a pair of gloves, because my hands on the bike do get pretty cold.

May 20, 2010: Well, no steady internet connection yet, so you’ll get two days in a row! J Today was lovely – yesterday was absolutely frigid, and no fun at all. It didn’t rain that much today, just sort of gently misted and lightly shrouded the gorgeous views. And, it was a lot warmer, thank heavens.

I had only two musical rehearsals today. I have a lot less to do than a lot of the older singers who are playing lead roles in Zauberflöte, but my two today were lots of fun. In the morning we went through some of the chorus parts for the finale of Flute, and it was so funny to watch grown ladies play with each other from across the wings just like American high school students. Everything was in German, though, so I didn’t really understand much. Then this afternoon I had 2 hours of coaching on Bastien with the other two people involved, and that was awesome! I love this mini-opera and I’m so close to having it memorized. Let me tell you, memorizing dialogue in another language is no easy business. And the funny thing is if I make a mistake, everyone but me will know!

Oh, and in other funny news, I found out an embarrassing mistake I was singing this whole time! It turns out the word “nacht” (meaning “night”) is very similar in pronunciation to another word (“nakt”) … and that other word means NAKED! Oh my goodness! This whole time I was singing about being naked! Our resident German bass had a good laugh at me.


Transcending Straight Lines

I'm a little embarrassed it's been so long! Many apologies! The past few weeks of have been simply a whirlwind - graduation ceremonies, parties, finals, packing, and so much more. But the whirlwind has picked me up and blown me away... and I have landed again in Charlotte, North Carolina.

And thus begins the Germany adventure! I'm all by my lonesome, and I'm playing at being a grown-up. Or maybe, this time, I really am one.

I'm not sure what I'm feeling right now - trepidation, mostly, because I'm worried I don't know my music well enough. Actually, I could probably find my roll-up piano and practice a little bit in a second. Excitement, too, because it's Germany! And because I love traveling in general - especially when airports are involved. Anxiety, because I have a lot to keep track of and I'm afraid I'll miss something very important. Blessedness, because I know what an incredible chance this is to gallivant about and sing in a faraway land.

My poet-friend Lady Durer set me a beautiful letter yesterday, and in it she said that "straight lines can always be transcended." What an incredible thought. There are a lot of straight lines that dictate how life "should" be. We've all heard the stereotypes, the typical way of doing things. But really, wouldn't life be so much more wonderful if we had the courage to overcome the rules and expectations? Not to simply ignore them, to thoughtlessly rebel, but to transcend. To me, that's what Jesus is all about. He didn't just give rules, and He didn't tell us to disregard all the previous rules... He gives us the ability to transcend rules.

So this summer, I want to walk right through the straight lines that confine. I want to live a free life, a beautiful life, a Jesus-filled life, a responsible life, and a songful life.

Here's to Germany, land of green hills and cold weather! Here's to living a life that is beyond expectations!


Just Like Noah

My adorable friend Megan had a cute idea for a blog post, and I'm copying :) So here's a list of "twos":

Two Books I Want to Read:

- The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. Sociology is so fascinating, and I'd love to understand the whys behind some cultural trends.

- Jonathan Edward's "Resolutions." Jonathan Edwards is a pretty well-known American revivalist of the 18th century, and when he was a teenager, he came up with a list of statements he desired to exemplify with his life. So God-centered, inspiring, and challenging.

Two New Favorite Bands:

- Ok, she's not really a band, but Ingrid Michaelson has recently caught my attention. Her lyrics are so thoughtful, and her cool sound is relaxing and fresh.

- Again, not really a band, but the Christian rap artist Lecrae has got some pretty chill stuff. Gotta love when a rap artist starts throwing in words like 'election' and 'steward'

Two Words that Describe Life Right Now:

- Culmination: All my childhood years are rushing up together in this one point. I've had a lot of lasts recently - last time singing on my worship team at church, last time volunteering at Pennington, last piano lesson, etc. It's been a fantastic time growing up, but it's a little weird to leave it behind.

- Preparation: At the same time, I have so much to look forward to in the future, with Germany and ASU and adult life.

Two Things I Should Be Doing:

- Studying

- Cleaning the bathroom

(see why I'm not?)

Two Things I Will Be Doing

- Studying :D

- I'm going to a play tonight at a local Christian high school! Yay!

Two Things That Made Me Smile:

- I bought my stage makeup! Cream foundation and Victorian Rose blush... all für mich!

- I spent the afternoon with my lovely mom and we laughed so hard. I love her.

Two Other Blogs You Should Check Out:

- girltalkhome.com: It's a fun blog for women, with convicting theology too.

- ladydurerscanvas.blogspot.com: My fantastic friend and her poetical musings. She has such a way with words!


A Slap Upside the Head? Yes, please.

Thursday was my coaching with Tregony - which you all heard about. Then Friday came, and it was kind of a rough day. I was so filled with doubts about who I was as a singer, about if I could really achieve all these grand dreams, etc etc. Saturday morning was rough too, especially since my wonderful voice teacher Anne gave me a kind of scolding lecture to ward off potential misconduct. it was weird :P

I told God Friday night that I was trusting Him with my future, and if I wasn't supposed to be doing music, He really oughta let me know!

Saturday evening, I was so stressed out and just "off" trying to get ready to go for the concert, but somehow I pulled myself together in time. And... I don't know... but somehow God was really there for me all night. Waiting in the wings to go on, I practiced my enjoying the moment philosophy, and just invited God to come be my audience.

And it was such a good performance! Probably the best I've ever sung the piece. Marc Denton, who is head of the vocal department at cc#1, said some very complimentary things about what I did, and it was so encouraging.

You know, I may not be the next Broadway diva right now - I still have a lot of vocal problems and acting difficulties I need to work through. But I'm not terrible either. I think... I think I just need to cut out the melodrama, trust God that I'm in the right place for the moment, and keep plugging ahead.

So the next time I regale you with a tale of woe, slap me upside the head and tell me to go practice or something.


Brick Walls

Sorry for the long absence - life got crazy :) But I'm ba-ack!

Today I had the most incredible coaching session with Tregony Shepherd this afternoon. Like, wow. She toured with Les Mis and Phantom, and did Les Mis on Broadway too. Her whole body radiates theater - she moves, speaks, and communicates like a real actress. Which she is, so go figure. I felt her pixie dust flying around the room as she worked.

I was in tears a couple times this afternoon as she transformed the other singers' pieces. We have some great voices at cc#1, but she took a pretty voice and a nice song into either a heart-wrenching drama or a cute, hilarious comedy, depending on the situation.

Honestly, I was so disappointed in how I sang. I feel like my technical abilities/dramatic skills are so much greater when I'm not performing or nervous. Go figure, right? But my future career is supposed to be performing, so it's so frustrating when performing is difficult and not satisfying.

I feel like I have all these emotions and motivations and ideas bouncing in my head that I want to communicate, but there's this brick wall between me and my audience. I can feel the moment in the song when I hit the wall and I just bang against it for the rest of the piece - it's a terrible feeling.

Tregony did help me communicate better, but I still feel frustrated. I don't know what to do except keep practicing, but I'm looking forward to when I'll be able to sing and touch my audience and bring them to tears. Soon, I hope.


Ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch...

Open wide - breath in - inhale German.

That's pretty much my life right now: between lieder, my Bastien music, and prepping for my German final/oral final, I feel like I'm living German! Which is probably good - and actually, I should probably find ways to immerse myself even more in the language before I'm dumped in the country and left to fend for myself. I'm doing really well understanding conversations in German, but my vocabulary is so limited that I have a hard time coming up with my own phrases.

I don't know if you can tell from the picture I posted a couple weeks ago, but my hair is ridiculously, abnormally long, and I really need a cut. I'm trying to decide if I want to get highlights (yes, but is really a smart thing to do?), who I want to get my cut from, how much I want to spend, etc etc... I've been polling all my friends for advice, and they're pretty evenly split. I have to get it worked out in the next week or so before things get really tight before I leave :)

Music-wise, I'm currently prepping a Debussy Arabesque and a Rach prelude for my last piano recital, a musical theater piece for a fun workshop/coaching/recital extravangza at CC#1 next week, three pieces for juries at CC#1, three or four lieder for Germany, my Bastien music, "party" songs to bring to Germany, and... *inhale*. Actually I think that's it. I'm crunching right now as far as solidifying the technical elements of all of them, and am about half way memorized. What's kind of aggravating is that my teachers are all pushing me to focus on expression, on what message I want to communicate through my singing/playing. I just want to scream that I have NOTHING to say anymore at this point! I'm just focusing on surviving! I have no deep metaphysical thoughts that are dying to be expressed through music. I guess this is when I manufacture such interesting thinks?

Oh, and then I watched myself in a mirror today while emoting my "Light in the Piazza" song, and I kind of scared myself.... I have huge eyes and very jumpy, very thick eyebrows, and with all the contortions I worked my face into, it was a little creepy. Maybe I should tone down the facial expressions...


On Stars and Dreams

I had a lazy weekend this weekend. I had a lazy weekend last weekend too. I just don't want to work anymore, I don't want to practice, I don't want to prep for Germany... I just want to sleep, or read, or goof off online.

That's bad, huh? :)

I think part of it is because I'm realizing how far away I am from the stars I so fondly call my own. Just like everybody, I have my fair share of big fat dreams that I hope to someday see in reality. But right now, they seem miles and miles away... and I'm despairing of ever getting there.

I'm pretty sure most of it is good old senioritis, and that come next week, I'll be feeling more like my peppy, hardworking self again. Until then... I guess I'll just make sure I pick good books to read?


Crunch Time!

So, I officially leave the country in 5 weeks. Oh. my. goodness.

You wouldn't believe the amount of things I'm going to do between then and now! Just little things, like graduating (+ grad party). Or vocal juries at the community college. And finals. Oh, and buying stage makeup for myself. And learning my opera. And dialogue {in German}.

How exciting! I get all hyper just reading that list. Ok, slightly nervous and stressed too. But mostly excited. I started memorizing my Bastien music today, and read through the dialogue a couple times... maybe I should be further along in the process? I have no clue. It's all firsts for me!

And my German homework is staring at me right now, looking so lonely and neglected that I really should pick it up. So tschüss!


Reflections on Holy Week

It has been a good Lenten season this year - I've been reading through a devotional book about the Liturgical year, and it has brought such a new depth to my understanding of Christ's Passion, and of my own spiritual condition.

On Good Friday, I attended a Stations of the Cross service at my friend's Catholic church, and I so enjoyed it. Lots of time for just sitting and contemplating the cross, backed by beautiful live music.

And now, it is Holy Saturday, and I am quiet. Good Friday was intensely fiery in my heart - lots of deep emotions. But today, a silence is reigning. I am waiting, trusting; practicing not-knowing and yet-believing.

The cross is a deeply wild, incredibly violent demonstration of the fullest love I could ever imagine. Thursday and Friday were heavy days, as I thought about the depth of the pain Jesus experienced for me. Emotional abandonment, physical anguish, mental strain - all at a level I can't begin to fathom. I'm glad I took the time to ponder the cross. Jesus' blood, His intercession on my behalf, the propitiation He became for me... these things show me so much about God and His love for me. I am so joyful to rest in His arms, basking in love.

And today, there is still sorrow in that love. It is a hard love, sometimes. A violent love, a love that seems unfair.

But tomorrow is Easter.

The the resurrection will right every wrong.


Introducing: Bastienne

I got my music for Germany! I'll be playing Bastienne in Mozart's one-act opera Bastien and Bastienne. He wrote it - get this - when he was all of 12 years old.

No wonder we call him an prodigy.

It's a common opera for very young singers to do, as the music lays in a very comfortable part of the singers' ranges, and is not taxing or really very difficult. It's all in German, and (like the Magic Flute) has spoken dialogue as well. So yeah, memorizing lines in German... that will be new.

Actually, this is the most amount of solo music I've ever had to memorize. I'm a little nervous - all that German, all those cues to remember, and all that singing to do all in a row! I mean, this is nothing compared to full-length, serious opera, but it's my first baby step.

But I'm super excited. I emailed in my measurements, etc to the costuming people over in Germany - they're already going to start making my costume! This is going to be so incredible. I can't wait.


Elegant Life

I secretly lurk fashion blogs.


I just love living in style - approaching each day with elegance and deliberation. To me, carefully choosing my clothing helps me to remember to keep each day grounded in order and beauty. And that's not a terrible thing at all.

And today, while browsing the Sartorialist, I stumbled across these two images:

Aren't they delicious? I love the easy way they wear what we would now call formal clothes. This man and this woman just inhabit elegance, embracing respectability and presentability. And they give off such a demure, well-collected aura.

This is how I want to live life - calm, peaceful, and beautiful.


It's a most wonderful time of the year

So, wearing long skirts on rainy days with gentle breezes: definitely a yes. So romantical.

In honor of the beautiful spring weather, I wrote a poem! Here it is:

It's a silly time of year,
Raindrops dancing from clouds so sheer.

Boing! You can't help but laugh along,
As the sky sings its Spring-time song.

Somedays it's chilly, sometimes it's hot,
And inevitably you dress for what it's not.

But splashing in puddles and warming in sunshine,
Make March and April favorite months of mine.

Summer is nice with swimming and all,
But the giggles of Spring so loudly call!

When else can you skip and jump and hop,
And never worry about needing to stop?

Cause springy air makes everyone happy,
So here's to Spring, when no one can feel crappy.

:) Hope you have a day full of laughter and niceness.


Speaking of the impossible...

It's official - I got accepted into the music program at Arizona State.

So excited!!!!



sometimes i've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast ...

here's to the impossible!


Senior Picture - 2010

Taken by my lovely, and very talented, friend Kate.


Where I'll be this week

Lake Tahoe, Nevada, with my big sister K's friends from ASU.


the song is my lover

On Friday night, I did my last mic check on CGCC's stage, where I also did my first mic check ever. On Friday night, I had my last curtain call behind those curiously colored purple drapes in the PAC. On Friday night, I sang and danced my little heart out. It was a good Friday night.

So Pirates is over - and I'm kind of glad to be done with that ridiculous daughter that I was playing. Shrieking and giggling and swooning are all well and good, but it can make my social life a little awkward when the extremities of the daughter-ness start rubbing off into everyday life. Hopefully I'll resume my normal level of social interactions now.

Yesterday was a big day too - I had my senior pictures taken by the absolutely fantastic Kate, voice lessons, a huge farewell party at my house for some church friends, and a dance at a local LDS stake center.

Let me just say - I love dancing.

I'm a terrible dancer. I trip, and step on people, and talk too loud, and giggle too much. But I love every minute of it. And now I love it more.

Because last night - I got dipped.

I've never been kissed, but I think being dipped is like being kissed. The world just swirls around you, and all you know is that you feel beautiful and you should be sprawled on the ground, but instead you're being supported and protected.

I don't really know the guy who I was dancing with, and I'm not attracted to him or anything - and that made the experience even more special. Just a guy, being a gentleman and a good dancer, and no unwanted overtones to ruin the experience.

So spring break started off on a good note - full of singing and dancing and loving life.

Oh, and a great service at Praxis this morning!


Lace curtains

"How different are we who have grown used to [sunsets], who have become jaded with a satiety of wonder." ~ Thomas Carlyle

Wonder is the lace curtains of life. Wonder is the way a child smiles when the sun hits her face. Wonder is what keeps us going when life gets mundane.

I see it in the sky - huge, graceful hippopotamuses of clouds romping about miles above me.

I see it in the way my dad loves my mom - steadfast, unswerving, spontaneous.

I see it in a good picture - maybe with fuzzy edges and a pretty landscape.

I see it in a chord in a song in choir - when all eight parts resonate in a glorious dissonance that becomes consonant.

But mostly, I see it when I peer inside my heart and realize that I've been made new... that something (or really, Someone) is living inside of me and is changing me. Behold! I am a new creation. The old has passed away, and lo, the new has come.


On Tip Toe (and an update)

A new poem I wrote in German class last night!

The starry dreams of flickering skies,
shine so bright in your sea-foam eyes.
Staring into a wide, wild night,
the wonder in your face brings light.
Dance and laugh, sweet child of song,
And with your love make the world grow strong.

In other news, we have just two shows left of Pirates, both this coming Friday. We have been sold out for about half the shows, and about half full for the others. It's been so fun, and the audience just loves it. I love it too :)

We did pictures yesterday afternoon, so hopefully I'll get my hands on a few and I can post some!


Poem! (not by me)

My family was re-reading some children's books last night, and I stumbled across this poem that made me so happy inside. It's by Debby Boone.


Attention, all children! Now hear what I say:
Make sure that you've done enough singing today!

You've heard the old saying 'bout an apple a day
Well, singing can help in a different sort of way.

'Cause singing makes you feel really good deep inside,
So good that you'll smile and get all google-eyed.

You don't need a piano or need a great voice,
All you need is a song (and that's a matter of choice)

Sing songs that are happy, sing songs that are fun
Sing songs that you know, (or just write yourself one)

All children the world over: It's my wish and my prayer
That you sing more and more till your songs fill the air!


Another Opening of Another Show!

"I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes." ~ ee cummings

I'm thanking God today for legs that can dance and jump, for a voice that can sing and shout, for eyes that can see and perceive, and for a heart that can love and enjoy. I'm thanking Him for bright lights in my face, for a mic by my mouth, for a costume on my body, and for fake curls in my hair.

"I imagine that yes is the only living thing." ~ ee cummings

Singing. Dancing. Acting.


I feel alive - so alive, so happy. (so tired)

And I get to do it all again tonight.


Redeemed: what if?

"Eric, you are the proud possessor of many gifts. It is your sacred duty to put them to good use. Don't compromise. Compromise is the language of the devil. Run in God's name, and let the world stand back in wonder." ~ Chariots of Fire

This is my heart's cry, not for myself, but for the Christian artist everywhere. I have a vision I like to call "redeemed" ... a vision of a music world and a theater scene brought into submission to God's principles, and thus liberated to touch humanity in the deepest and most lasting ways possible.

A vibrant community of talented artists, hot in the pursuit of excellence, skilled and gifted - and with Truth to share. Their message is not always pretty, not always clean and tidy, but it is accurate, desperate to accurately represent the deeper spiritual principles that underly the sensuality and physicality of the tangible world around us.

And when we rise up together, carrying the banner of true freedom, true passion, and true ecstasy, what else can the world do, but fall back in wonder?


For the love of theater

more run-throughs.

more sore feet.

more giggles backstage.

more surreptitious naps when I'm not otherwise occupied.

more love. more laughter. more life.

I love this. I really do. And I'm exhausted... so tired. But I have promises to keep/and miles to go before I sleep...

Why would i want to sleep, anyway, when living is so wonderful?


Thinks I Like

Beautiful, cloudy mornings.

Shadowed mountains.

Silly friends.

Polyphonic chords.


German accents.

Bare feet.

Jesus :)


Chief Difference!

I have been thinking about this for a long while, and I think I have found the answer.
Mormonism and Classical Christianity share many similar tenets... so what sets us apart beyond relatively trifling matters such as eternal marriage, baptisms for the dead, etc? I believe that it can be found in this quote:
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! . . . I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. . . . He was once a man like us; yea that God himself, the Father dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did. (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)
Aha! So, LDS doctrine states that God did not exist from the beginning of eternity. I believe that God has existed from all time in the same form He exists in now.

Well that clears that up :)


It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late.

"Can't you see, my child? On Me must you trust and wait."
He gives His beloved sleep.
"Rest in my love, so sweet and deep."
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy,
"My work in you no man can destroy."
My mouth is filled with laughter, and my tongue with singing.
My fear chased away by the strength He is bringing.

written 1.16.10, based on psalms 126 & 127


Attention, World-Changers!

So you want to change the world. You're hungry for a new culture. You're eager to see a revival in America, in the global community. You're fired up and ready to go.

But where do you start?

Alex and Brett Harris of The Rebelution co-authored a book a few years ago entitled "Do Hard Things," sharing the vision for a new generation of youth who were willing to do hard things for a greater cause. And now, they're releasing a second book called "Start Here," which is full of ideas and practical suggestions for changing the world. Starting here. Starting now.

Hop on over to therebelution.com and check out more information about the book, as well as news regarding their Book Bomb on Amazon.


The roar of greasepaint and the smell of the crowd

Theater magic.

There's a boy in my cast at school who has magic. The kind of magic that makes you stop and look, that makes you laugh hysterically, that makes you feel from the bottom of your heart. And as a cast member, I can watch as the magic is born. A simple direction like "stand here, then walk to this point at measure 13" is turned into a hilarious routine promising to steal the show.

Make-believe magic.

I watched an old Judy Garland and Gene Kelly movie tonight. They had magic too.

Sometimes, I think I have magic.

That's a big claim. So I just whisper it to myself. Magic.

And it's not all the time. But every now and then, I will sing something, or look something, or say something, and I can feel the magic. Today, for four bars of my intro music at a studio class at school, I had magic. I'm savoring it, storing it up for when tech rehearsals are painful and my feet hurt from prancing about stage.

I'm singing a song for voice lessons right now called "The Light in the Piazza." Watch this video of it, and you will see the magic I'm talking about. But be careful.

Theater magic, once tasted, won't ever let you go.


The Moment that Is My Life

today i was happy.

i was happy because i got an incredible back massage from a friend at school. ahhh.

i was happy because it was a beautifully sunny day, and i wore a tank top.

i was happy because i got a good grade on a vocabulary quiz.

i was happy because Jesus loves me. and i know it.

it was a good day :)


How to kill a dragon

I guess I've always felt like if I pursue God, if I am a "good Christian," if I try my hardest to be set-apart and poured-out for Christ, I will experience some positive returns in my Christian walk.

Like killing dragons.

I mean, it's only fair, right? If I seek, if I strive, if I push towards a closer relationship with Jesus, I should experience victory over whichever sin I'm particularly annoyed with, or I should have blessings in my life, or I should be seeing my friends come to a saving knowledge of Christ, etc, etc.

But my dragons don't die.

So where does that leave me? What am I left with when - despite my persistent prayer life, despite the time I spend in the Word, despite the hours I spend in worship - my sins and problems don't vanish away?

Sunday at Praxis, I was reminded.

I am left with the cross.

I cannot judge my Savior's love on what He may or may not do in the future. He has already sealed me, shown me the deepest, most beautiful love He possibly could. I am broken inside. I have a very real evil in my heart. And yet, despite my ugliness and my rebellion, Chris has reconciled me with God through His sacrificial blood.

Praise Jesus!

But what about my dragons? Aren't we promised that we will become slayers of dragons?

I think to a certain extent, yes. 1 John talks at length about the fact that if someone "sins" (aka, is living in continual, unrepentant sin), he does not know God. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, His power will immediately start transforming our hearts. As far as dragons go, however, there are two things I've recently found out:

1) The dragon I want to kill right now might not be the dragon God is working on. I struggle with many sins, and while I might be especially ready to get rid of sin A, God's timing might be to work on sin B first. Am I ok with that? I better be.

2) Sometimes dragons are really thorns. My best friend E was telling me that there is a difference between a dragon that needs to be slain, and a thorn that needs to be endured. Paul begged God, much as I have been doing, for relief from a particular suffering. But God chose, in His wisdom and knowledge, to leave that thorn right where it was. And personally, if I didn't have dragons or thorns to remind me how helpless and broken I am, I probably wouldn't come running to the cross looking to Jesus for help and mercy and grace.

As we grow closer to Jesus, we have to remember that God is not a vending machine. If I put in x hours of prayer and Bible study, I do not deserve in any way to get a Victory over Sin soda in return. We have a vibrant, real, and changing relationship with Christ, and the direction it will take is different for each individual Christian. I cannot compare my walk to anyone else's, nor can I demand that God will deliver me in the same way He delivered someone else.

But what can I do?

I can rest in His arms, under the shadow of the cross, knowing that above all else, He loves me.

And that's all I could ever want, anyway.


Happy Valentine's Day!

It's Valentine's Day! How happy :) I don't have a significant other, but God chose this day to reveal His love and redeeming power to me in brand new ways, so I am feeling exceptionally cherished today despite my lack of a man. Plus, my darling parents got me scrumptious chocolate, so I've been cheating on my healthy food diet and eating little heart candies while finishing up some homework.

But! Even happier news! Last week I brought up three of my grades from Bs to As, *and* I hardly have any homework this weekend. So I've been relaxing, chilling with family and friends, getting on facebook (guilty look...), and watching Olympics. It's been good.

Did I mention yet how completely in love with Jesus I am? It's been really special this past week. :)

And, I've fallen in love with something else, too - Praxis Church! It was my fourth time going this week, and it just keeps getting better and better. It has challenging, Biblically sound teaching, incredible music with passionate and intelligent lyrics, friendly and energetic people, kind pastors, and a deep-rooted intentionality that marks every decision the church makes. I just love it there, and am looking forward to getting more involved.

And, mark your calendars - Pirates of Penzance is running the first weekend of March and it will be absolutely hilarious! Do come!



I just got a poem published on a fantabulous webzine called Bloom, designed to encourage young women seeking to live a poured-out life for Christ. It was created by a few of my friends, and is really incredible. They have interviewed some pretty big-name people in the Christian world, and regularly post very inspiring and challenging material. Do go check it out! (And not just to see my poem :P)


Much much to busy for you!

I'm ornery. And I wish I could say that as cutely and wonderfully as my dear friend A can. But I can't. I'm just plain old, unromantically, and completely ornery.

I won't regale you with the long list of to-dos I'm facing, but it involves work, school, and music. I won't tell you all about each and every one of my classes, but I will say that my grades aren't as peachy keen as they should be. And I most certainly won't tell you about everything I'm singing these days (what? Me? Talk about singing? ha!), but somehow I sing and sing for hours every day and still haven't practiced everything I need to know.

Part of me is in love with this life. I relish the wonderful new things I'm learning, I enjoy dashing about from place to place feeling full of purpose. Singing, especially in choir, every day is a pure delight, and I wouldn't trade it in for anything else.

But, the other part of me is worn-out, anxious about GPAs and scholarships and futures, annoyed with circumstances that are out of my control, and ready to call in quits.

No! I won't give in! God and I will soldier through this stressful time. You know, I'll look back on my senior year and I know I'll only remember the wonderful moments.

Like, I'll remember the thrills I get in choir whenever we sing an incredible arrangement of How Can I Keep from Singing.

And I'll remember the laughter and general warmth I share with my music friends at school.

I'll remember nights spent writing poetry and laughing with my sister.

I'll remember how God revealed Himself to me in brand-new and exciting ways, even while I was completely looking the opposite direction.

But for today. tonight. tomorrow.

I'm ornery.



Audition: Check

Well, it's over. I've auditioned.

And it feels so good!! I just got back from a trip with my little brother to indulge in one of the most-forbidden foods for singers - ice cream! What a nice reward for all my hard work.

The audition itself was only 10 minutes long, though I was at the school for around 4 hours this afternoon. Lots of anxious waiting! It was a day full of God-moments, from praying in the car with my dad before we stepped foot onto the campus, to finding out my collaborative pianist is a Christian, to the encouraging texts my friends kept sending me.

Right before I entered the audition room, I remembered a quote my dear friend JG had sent me a few weeks ago - "Enjoy this moment: this moment is your life." I breathed in for a moment, relishing my nerves and the excitement and the thrill of it all. Then, I breathed out and walked into the recital hall, where I sang my little heart out for a few minutes.

The sightsinging test did not go so smashingly, but the rhythm test did go quite well.

I feel peaceful, fulfilled, and content. Even if nothing comes of it all, what a wonderful experience. What a wonderful moment. I plan on savoring it for the rest of my life.


The audition this weekend has cast into sharp relief all sorts of ideas about who I am, who God is, and what my purpose is on this earth. Call me dramatic, or what you will, but I take big moments very seriously :)

I mean, if I don't get into ASU as a music major, then what happens to the past 3 years of my life? Did I waste those thousands of dollars, hours of practice time, forsaken foods, missed parties, and on and on the list goes? Big dreams are beautiful when accomplished, but I, in a way, have gambled my highschool years on the possibility of getting accepted to a reputable music program.

Then today in choir, we were singing a song called Pasture, and the music touched my heart in a way it hasn't been touched for a long time. It felt like God literally reached down and held my heart in His hand, relieving my fears and just wrapping me in His love. Music brings me close to God in a way nothing else can.

And so it hit me.

If this was the last week I was ever able to sing, it was worth it.

If the last note I sang was the last note I'll ever utter, it was worth it.

Because when I sang, I felt His pleasure.


I audition for ASU in 8 days. Oh. My. Goodness.

I met today with the collaborative pianist who will be playing for me, and it was so reassuring. I realized I actually do know my pieces, I can sing them on pitch, and I am entirely and completely ready to go. I've been working on my two songs - and only these two songs - for the past three months (and I'm not even kidding), and I am so excited to finally get to show my stuff to the audition panel.

But on the other hand, I'm so extremely nervous that I will sing terribly, not get accepted, and will never be a singer after all. This is a huge lesson in trusting God, and I don't think I'm getting a very good grade! My whole family will be relieved when the audition is over - we're all on edge here in my house, and my brother's cold hasn't helped anything. (What will I DO if I get sick??? Why did he have to pick this week to get sick??) I'm officially quarantined from him, actually - my mom won't let us go near each other.

I'm working on some lieder to sing for Bill Reber and Eckart Sellheim (who are both involved with the Germany program), and it's so much fun! I love Schubert, and I love how German feels in my mouth - it's a very forward language, and it does good things for my vocal chords. I had to call them both today, and it was so intimidating! I'm such a greenhorn, and they are both such excellent professionals. But they seem so nice, and they really do just want to help students improve.

In my non-music thoughts... I am so ready for church on Sunday. This week at school was tough, and I am failing in a few areas I really wanted to excel in. I need some serious, focused Jesus time this weekend to get me back on track.


One week down!

I survived my first week of classes! And what a beautiful week it was - we've been having incredible weather here in the Valley, with absolutely torrential rains, tornado watches morphing into tornado warnings, huge puddles to splash in on the way to class, and gorgeously overcast skies to marvel at while driving from college to college.

I'm really liking my classes this semester - I'm taking Music Theory at community college #1, and my teacher in that class is my Sunday School teacher from church, who I've known for 13 years now. Then my German teacher at community college #2 is really hilarious, and strict in that good way that makes you work but gives you awesome results. Of course, jazz choir, regular choir, and the production of Pirates of Penzance I'm in at community college #1 are all going smashingly, especially because I have a wonderful group of friends there and it's basically like a third family, after my church family and biological family. Tuesdays and Thursdays are really tough for me, though, because I literally have 10 straight hours of classes, with my biggest break being when I'm driving from cc #1 to cc #2.

I have maddeningly fallen back into some patterns I had resolved over the break to rid myself of, and that's just frustrating. I'm working on self-discipline, both in my actions and thoughts, and it's so hard to be constantly on guard, especially when I come back home from school and don't want to be careful about anything. I bought a fantastic worship CD by Travis Cottrell called "Alive Forever," and having that playing in my car all the time is so helpful to center my thoughts on Christ (I find if my heart and mind are completely captivated in Him, my actions tend to follow, which is nice!).

Well, I'm off to lunch at my favorite pizzeria with the family, so bye for now!


When all you can see is Him

I did a little church hopping this weekend, first going to Mass with a Catholic friend on Saturday, then tonight (Sunday) going to a little service near ASU called Praxis. I love worshipping God with new faces, different brothers and sister in Christ, and in various settings with people who emphasize different parts of the gospel.

My friend's Catholic church has a beautifully passionate carving of Jesus nailed to the cross hung at the front of the church, and as a Protestant, that's not something I see all too often. As such, the image has lingered with me this weekend, and as I worship God, I am reminded in a visual and striking way of His pouring-out for us.

Tonight at Praxis, the pastor spoke about pressing into Christ - when we stumble or fear, to look toward Him and to make Him are all. It's like when you're looking through your camera, and some crazy little brother comes and sticks his nose right in the lens. Let Jesus fill up your lens, so that He is all that is consuming and enrapturing you.

So that's one of my prayers for this semester, that I would learn to look toward Jesus in everything, to allow Him to overcome my heart in incredible and lasting ways.


A Dream Come True!

So remember how right before Christmas, I thought my world was going to cave in on itself? I didn't get one long-cherished dream, and then the next week I found out I didn't get that particular scholarship... and now everything has righted itself and is so wonderful and beautiful!

I'm going to Germany this summer! I'm going to spend 7 weeks in Freiburg, singing in partnership with James Madison University, the Universität at Freiburg, and the opera house there. We'll be doing Die Zauberflöte and a musical theater show called Cabaret, plus a lieder course! I'm beyond-words thrilled.

I'll be living in a dorm-style apartment, with some roommates and a kitchenette, and I'm responsible for all my own shopping and cooking. *gulp* I've learned from my German 101 class that people go shopping very frequently, because most of the food is fresh and without preservatives. I'm going to be getting a little bicycle when I get there, so I can just picture myself biking around the open-air markets picking of veggies for dinner.

I can't so much picture myself actually cooking the veggies... help??

I'm so thankful for this opportunity, so happy to be going, and so excited I don't know how I'll wait till May!!

This does mean I'll be missing my own graduation, but what the heck? I'm homeschooled anyway, so a graduation ceremony is a bit of a joke anyway.


Some Inspiring Quotes

Here are some quotes I've stumbled across recently:

""Who are you?" Asked Shasta. "Myself," said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again "Myself," loud and clear and gay: and then the third time "Myself," whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it." ~ C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

My spirit quivers when I ponder who my God is. One Being, three Persons. The mysteries of the faith are so profound, so necessary, and so beyond what I can fathom. Kudos to Lewis to incorporating such a deep element of Christian theology so masterfully in a children's book!

"The thing that needs to be censored is not the length of the kisses but the egotistic, selfish, and self-flaunting here; not the relative proportion of undraped breast but the flippant, vacuous-minded, and also egotistic heroine. Let us not worry about the jokes of dubious propriety; let us rather object to the whole story, with its complacent assertion of the virtues of materialist society." ~ Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences

I love the attitude here. Our lifestyle should not be merely morally good, safely conforming to all the rules. No, no, we should be breathlessly pursuing Christ, doing everything we can to please Him more. That's convicting, but so challenging in a good way.


Once Upon a Dream

A few nights ago, I had a really interesting, and actually quite convicting, dream.

I was at a crowded party; the room was filled with my acquaintances and brimming with laughter and joy. Across the room, I saw my friend, who I'll call Danielle. She was alone, staring at me with a woebegone and helpless expression, holding out an empty paper cup.

"Can you get me a drink of water, Becca?" Her eyes burned into mine.

I hesitated. I didn't particularly enjoy Danielle's company, and I was anxious to join in the joking and witty conversation swirling around us. Danielle spoke slowly and thoughtfully, and could be rather clingy.

"I'm kinda busy, Dani," I said, edging toward the door, eyeing the water cooler across the room. "You can go get one."

"No, Becca," She pleaded softly, "You need to get it for me."

I shook my head. No, I had my own needs, my own friends, my own life to live.

Suddenly, a group of people surrounded her, handing her cups full of water, asking her questions, fulfilling her needs. She didn't even acknowledge them, but continued to stare at me with that haunting expression.

And so the dream ended.

It's a good reminder for me as I enter the next semester at school. Too often, I neglect the real-life Danielle, and those like her (those who don't know how to forge their own way in a group situation, and who need advocates to pull them into conversation, to be an ear, a support, a confidence-booster).

Too many people who don't function well in group social settings are just ignored, or worse yet, ridiculed, and I must not stand by and let them walk this life alone. God, let me be the friend to the friendless. Let me fill paper cups with Your love.


One of the few...

This is actually an essay I wrote for a scholarship application, but I ended up really liking it :) The prompt was basically just to discuss a favorite quote... so here goes:

In Elizabeth Elliot’s biography of Amy Carmichael, she writes, “The preoccupations of seventeen-year-old girls – their looks, their clothes, their social life – do not change very much from generation to generation. But in every generation there seem to be a few who make other choices.”

I want to be one of the few.

This is a wide, wild world that we live in, with despair and agony ironically juxtaposed with hope and ecstasy. And yet, it is so easy for the majority of American young people to turn away, to choose to ignore the great injustices of the world, to instead care solely about the relational conflicts within their comparatively small circles of acquaintances. Their often sub-conscious decision is understandable – why should we choose to dirty our hands in the affairs of a violent and menacing world when we can so readily tune out financial, political, and spiritual dilemmas with our iPods and PSPs?

My generation, perhaps more so than others, has been placated by material comforts and physical wellbeing. We – and I am no more innocent than the rest – are too used to having everything handed to us on a gilded tray. Why should we risk anything, why should we embark on any dangerous adventure? We are not acquainted with the reality that some beauty, some truth, and some goals are worth potential disaster, are worth staking everything for.

A child’s murder, a family’s emaciation, a woman’s ravishment – these things are inherently evil and must not be tolerated. My relatively wealthy peers and I have the potential to enact so much reform in the world. We have money, we have educated intellects, we have political freedom, and we have a rich history of entrepreneurship and true leadership. What is holding us back besides our own self-imposed ignorance and apathy?

My heart’s desire is that my life will mean something. Perhaps I won’t recreate the political arena abroad, but perhaps I will help to bring healing to a battered woman’s heart. Maybe global poverty isn’t something I will solve, but maybe I will organize a food drive to keep those in my community well fed.

This desire cannot be accomplished, however, if I sit on my couch and read, or go on the computer and check my Facebook page. This desire, if it is to mean anything, must be equated with a series of practical, real-life choices. I must choose to give up certain endeavors and instead focus my time on others. I must choose to educate myself as best I can, to read extensively and to be informed. I must choose to act in a mature and responsible way, to help solve problems and to not create them.

In short, I want to be one of the few that re-ignite this world with wonder, beauty, and hope.


Who knew dreams came with paperwork?

So college stuff has been pretty consuming lately, just trying to figure out scholarship apps and FAFSA forms, and all that jazz. It feels kinda surreal - I don't think I've realized yet that one season of my life is having a sunset, and that a brand new sunrise is about to peak out. I wonder when the aha moment will come - graduation? My first day of classes?

I've been walking about lately with fuzzies in my brain. Am I really about to major in music? Me?? Becca?? Am I really good enough/dedicated enough/driven enough for that? What in the world do I think I'm doing? What in the world do I really want, anyway?

All the question marks in this post aren't even close to representing the giant question mark that has been following me around lately, dancing on my shoulders and jumping up and down on my head.

I sat down today and made a list of goals, purpose statements, and dreams - it helps me to kind of re-orient myself and put things into perspective.

But I'm so enjoying this season of life - so many ideas, so many opportunities. As much as I can't wait to see how it all turns out, I'm thrilled to just stand here in the flow of it all, taking it in.

Hello, life.


It makes Allah love me...

I suppose we all know what it feels like to long to be loved. We all want to be cherished, to be protected, to be enjoyed. There's a wistful ache some of us know too well, the ache of a soul that cries out to be completed by love.

I read a news article today that quoted an Egyptian elementary teacher named Rokaya Mohamed, who refuses to remove her face veil because it "makes Allah and his Prophet love me."

Her spirit made my heart cry - this is a woman who has made a very hard choice, to wear constricting and ridiculed clothing because she covets the love of Allah more than she covets the approval of mankind. But even in her sincerity, even in her self-discipline and her moral rigidity, she has missed by so much the truth God so wants for her to know; the truth that God loves us with unspeakable passion no matter what we do. Even while we live in complete rebellion, spitting in His face, he loves us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Oh, how sad a thing this is. Her heart will never be satiated, for Allah's "love" can never satisfy, can never fill the void in her heart. She will keep feeling that desire for love, no matter what she dresses like or how she behaves. I pray that you, dear reader, will know Christ's love in a way that conquers all your wistful pangs and longing glances.