Thursday, July 28, 2005

Six white horses...

...on a rainbow.
Hey, hey, we're goin'
up tomorrow.
Up tomorrow is a rainy day,
so come on up to that shadow plain,
the shadow plain is a...
white banana (?)

All the rudd nieces and nephews have been raised (by their aunt gigi) on this wonderful nonsensical song.

And today it provided me with wonderful smiles, laughter, and even some singing from Will.

Monday, July 25, 2005

being a musician/teacher... becoming more exciting and full of responsibility.

Being a new teacher is difficult, but at the same time, great things are not expected of you. Though there is great responsibility in molding young lives and being a qualified professional, lots of people are willing to help, give advice, and patiently watch you grow.

I used to be a new teacher. I still feel like one in many ways, and some people would probably still consider me to be one. But the strange thing (at least to me) is that some people don't any more.
Both as a musician and as an educator, my Bachelor's degree in Music Education is nice, but I really should be starting my graduate work. I've been looking at programs online today, Michigan State, Western Michigan University, University of Michigan, Grand Valley... and I'm getting excited. I hope to start next summer.

As a musician, playing in a local semi-professional String Quartet is also nice, but I really should be playing in a Symphony. I haven't stretched myself musically in a while. Playing for weddings and special corporate events is very fun, and provides a nice check every few weeks,'s too easy. I *plan* to audition for the West Shore Symphony Orchestra this fall. I haven't had an audition experience since college, and the thought of it fills me with great fear. I also tentatively "planned" on auditioning last year, but didn't. So, by publicly stating these intentions, I hope to force myself into following through this time. At the same time, I'm excited about a very different way that I will be connected to the WSSO. I was just invited to be on the WSSO Education Board, and at the same time to serve (as a local music educator and alumni) on the West Shore Youth Symphony Board! I've never served on any kind of board before, but I'm excited about a new experience and the opportunity to contribute to two things that I deeply care about.
Because I teach all string instruments in the orchestra, not just violin, a very kind woman allowed me to borrow her cello, so that I could learn. Over the three years that I've had this instrument, I've fallen in love with the cello. Violin will always be my 'first' love, but the dark, rich beauty of the cello is very enchanting to me. Sadly, I had to give the cello back this week. Hopefully I will find a new one soon, because I will be playing the cello for a singer performing at the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts in late August.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

~a prayer for the Early Evening (The Book of Common Prayer)

moussaka & ice cream

Moussaka, a traditional Greek recipe introduced to me by my wonderful mother-in-law, is one of my very favorite foods (and also a fun word to say). I finally attempted to make it myself this week--a vegetarian, bean, feta & ricotta cheesy version. Ryan and I usually agree that it's not a good idea to invite dinner guests while expirimenting with a new recipe. But, simply because a dish of Moussaka is more than we can eat alone, we invited some friends to share in the adventure.

Ryan was able to sit so well during dinner! He sat up straight for well over an hour in an adult chair, just enjoying the company of friends. No crying or trying to leave the table. And baby Ryan did pretty well too.

And after dinner, we took a walk to Frosty Oasis for some ice cream...which both Ryans thoroughly enjoyed.

Notice the blank eyes and 'glazed over' expression. The sugar was a bit overwhelming.

Friday, July 22, 2005

inspiring friends

One of my very best friends from school, Rachel, has been waiting to find out where the Peace Corps is going to assign her to serve. She is one of those very thoughtful people that has beautiful ideals about learning about other cultures, about making the world a better place, about solving problems like war, hunger, poverty, and oppression, about spreading Christ's love and his message of hope. and she actually does it, really.

She just found out that she'll be living and working with artists and businesswomen, providing training and assistance in business skills, marketing, using the web, Morocco!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Some words from a fifteenth century monk that cut my conscience as I read them today...

Currently Reading
The Imitation of Christ (Vintage Spiritual Classics)
By Thomas Kempis

..."Study, therefore, to withdraw the love of your soul from all things that are visible, and to turn it to things that are invisible."

"...we quickly believe evil of others sooner than good. It is great wisdom therefore, not to be hasty in our deeds, not to trust much in our own wits, not readily to believe every tale, not to show straightway to others all that we hear or believe."

"Charity and not eloquence is to be sought..."

"Dreaming of a change of place has deceived many a person in religion."

" hear and take counsel is a more sure way than to give it."

Friday, July 15, 2005

Currently Reading
girl meets GOD: a memoir
by: Lauren F. Winner

I'm still not finished. I'm enjoying the process of soaking it in. This is a book that I'm really glad I bought rather than borrowed. I want to go back and reread parts, to remind myself sometimes of what's important, about the beauty of our Faith...of Jesus' loving pursuit.

In this memoir, Lauren Winner shares a year of her journey as a converted Jew-turned Christian. Her perspective is so different from my own, having lived by choice as a devout Orthodox Jew, following ancient Judaic traditions, festivals, rituals, customs...all to worship God..and then being drawn by Christ. She desperately longs to find for herself, and bring her reader to see as well, the connectedness, value, and meaning in the writings, prayers, and festivals of the Christian Church.

She writes..."People think Judaism and Christianity are radically different from one another, and that the difference is straightforward--one religion has a messiah who has come, and the other religion doesn't. But on Ascension Day, I am struck by the deep similarity that lies just underneath that difference. Both Jews and Christians live in a world that is not yet redeemed, and both of us await ultimate redemption. Some of us wait for a messiah to come once and forever; others of us wait for Him to come back. But we are both stuck living in a world where redemption is not complete, where we have redemptive work to do, where we cannot always see God as clearly as we would like, because He is up in Heaven. We are both waiting."

I love reading about her memories of the loving community she left behind to follow Christ. I sometimes envy the meals, and recipes, and ceremonies passed through generations of Judaism. But don't we usually long for things we don't have, and ignore what has been given to us? ...the richness and meaning of sacraments and festivals, the ones that have been celebrated for generations of Christ followers...Advent, Christmas, Lent, Communion, Easter, Pentecost ...

But most of life isn't full of ceremony and clear rites of passage. It's mostly mundane, difficult, and void of clarity. I feel her struggle to get past shallowness, distractions, and be aware of the eternal, to be Christ's body.

At least for today, I'm more aware of my prayerlessness. my self sufficiency. my narrow-minded and short-sighted perspective of life. my sin. my redemption. my perfect Saviour.

"This earthly life, even for churchgoers, is a mere shadow land,
but soon we will live resurrected in the bright glory of reality." ~lauren winner (inspired by c.s. lewis)

more of my thoughts on books I'm reading

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

at 5:30 this morning...

...i woke up to bring Ryan to the airport. He's flying to Vermont then traveling to Montreal tomorrow. I miss him already.
We've had so much fun on vacation. The cabin was so peaceful. Ryan kept saying, "I really could live here....I could do this all the time." I wasn't quite as enthusiastic about taking up permanent residence in the middle of nowhere, but I could have spent several more weeks in that kind of solitude.
I think Ryan must have read my blog... about waking up to the sound of a crackling fire and peeking out of my room to see my dad. The first morning we were there, he woke up first, built a fire, made coffee, and waited for me. Sometimes I wish I could freeze perfect, contended moments like that. Live in them always. I do wonder how often I fail to catch those moments even while they are occuring...and don't reallize I'll miss them when they're gone.

Our time at the cabin was filled with canoe rides, long talks, lots of laughing together, dinner at sunset on the dock, biking around Mackinaw Island, driving the Scenic Highway, getting ice cream in Hessel, getting ice cream in Cedarville, more ice cream in Hessel, reading by the fire, reading in the sun, reading at the new library, reading in the car, reading in the hammock, and lots of rest. I could spend every day with Ryan. He's been my husband for almost three years, we've been together! But I don't think I've ever had more fun with him than now. I love dreaming and praying together about our future, what we hope to accomplish, what we value, who we hope to become, how we can be more authentic with our faith, what kind of parents we will be someday.

I don't like business trips.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

a prayer attributed to St. Francis

Make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

One of the many books that filled my cabin time...

Just finished
Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
By Donald Miller

Similar to Anne Lamotte's Travelling Mercies (a book that greatly impacted my understanding of faith), Blue Like Jazz is Donald Miller's written thoughts on life, faith, relationships, and culture. I identified so much with his frustrations with some aspects of fundamentalism, and the republican-supporting churches in his background, his desire to be authentic, and the honest perceptions of his own inconsistencies.
I was convicted and frustrated with myself as I read his words and saw my own selfishness described on the pages. Having a very similar church background, and going through some of the same changes in my though patterns and values, I was expecting to be annoyed with his overly wordy, liberal, Bush-bashing rantings and immature cynicism. I feel some of the same frustrations with the governement, with war, with Christians who blindly vote for one party, who would like to saint George Bush (he is only human), who think that the church exists to wipe out homosexuals and liberals. Yet I get tired of hearing people go on and on about those frustrations too.
After reading the first chapter, I was expecting the whole book to be just that. Cynical rantings and immature criticisms of the church without any personal introspection.
But it wasn't that.
After expressing his thoughts...he came to the conclusion that I have to face as well.
"I am the problem."
"More than my questions about the efficacy of social action were my questions about my own motives. Do I want social justice for the oppressed, or do I just want to be known as a socially active person?"

Am i really interested in meeting the needs of people around me? Am I doing that? Or am I just talking about it, and criticizing the church for not doing it?

His deep longing for real connection with God confronted me with my own self sufficiency. Lately I haven't been really longing for God. I sometimes don't need Him. I mean, I do. But I don't recognize my need. I just sometimes think I'm bored, or lonely, misunderstood, empty, and I do something to feel better- like read, or eat, or excercise, or BLOG!!
I don't go to my Maker who already knows my emptiness and longs to fill it.

I did learn alot about myself reading this book. But now I'm reading another recently written memoir, "Girl Meets God" and find it even more provoking. The author is so full of depth. I could just keep reading and reading her thoughts--while "Blue Like Jazz" kindof just seemed to go on and on.

more of my thoughts on books I'm reading

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

tranquility far away from the chaos

Tomorrow, I will stand at the end of this dock and not just see, but actually feel, hear, and smell this view.

It is one of my favorite places on earth. Ryan and I are driving north tomorrow morning to Cedarville. Not the Ohio college I attended, but the small town in the upper penninsula of Michigan-to the cabin.
Mornings at the cabin are some of my happiest memories. Waking up to the sound of a crackling fire and the smell of coffee, and peeking out of my room to see my dad, reading by the fire.

I think I can imagine the cabin more vividly than any other place in my past. I can almost hear the sound of the hinged screen door swinging open and banging shut, and feet crunching accross the stones in the driveway, crickets chirping, the smell of cedar and grass and smoke...

Soon, I'll be there. I hope your week is as life-giving and peaceful as I anticipate ours will be.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

She didn't catch it...

...despite her valiant effort. But she still got engaged within a week!
Allison, my dear college friend, who once founded the man-hating "Hearts of Stone Club," has given her heart to Mark, a jazz musician in Chicago. She is so in love.
Happy Engagement, Al!
So next year, there will be another wedding/college reunion. This time we won't drive through several states to get there. She's from Ohio.

Today we celebrated... mother's birthday. Isn't she beautiful?
She's 59! Even with no make-up, she looks like she's in her forties, but she is actually the mother of four adult children, and six grandchildren!

Yesterday was her real birthday, but it was too full of drama--not the fun kind--to celebrate then.
My mom called us very late on Friday night to tell us that Will, my baby nephew, Isaac's twin brother, had been taken to the ER. He's okay now, but he really scared his mom and dad. I'm sure father Daniel will explain the story at some point on the boy's page. So we went to bed, praying and worrying. Then around 6:30 AM in the morning, my mom called again. This time, to let us know that my Grandpa was also going to the same ER with chest pains. He has been home for about a week now, on medication. The doctors have basically said that there is not much more that they can do for him. His arteries are too clogged and his veins are too thin and weak to operate. So he has been resting and hoping for more time with his wife. They sit very close together and kiss often. They've been eachothers' best friend for over sixty years.

So that my grandpa could come home from the hospital to a peaceful house, Ryan and I took Emma, Jaelyn, Liam, and Addison to the Harmson (Ryan's family) 4th of July celebration. We drove a minivan.
It was weird.

We had tons of fun playing down by the creek, blowing bubbles, snapping "poppers"--(those loud, firecracker things), lighting smoke bombs (Uncle Ryan did that part...not the kindergarteners), playing with hoola-hoops, making sidewalk chalk art, eating, soaking eachother with water balloons and water guns (adults and children), getting very dirty, swimming in Lake Michigan, enjoying a campfire on the beach...

So, if we suddenly became the parents of four children ages 4-8, we could survive. I think.
Fortunately, that isn't likely to happen. We love being "Aunt Gigi" and "Uncle Ryan" for now.
After we dropped the kids off, we went home. And I enjoyed a long, peaceful, hot bath, and finished Life of Pi.
Which has a great ending.
You should read it.