Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Journey to the Heart

My heart can't even begin to explain all that has happened this summer, or even this fall already!  God is so good.  No, you don't understand.  He is really good.  Always.  Still have questions?  Read again.  He is good.  If you don't believe it, talk to Him about it - the problem lies in that your faith is small, not that He is small.

I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be heading to a Journey to the Heart as an assistant leader this September.  But God's plans brought me there, and I still cherish every ounce of it that my memory retains.

When you attend a Journey, you go there to seek God.  But when you go there as a leader, you go to seek God about 10 times as much - you go to Him constantly for the needs of the girls on your team and others in leadership.

I was blessed with seeing God so much clearer these last couple of weeks.  I felt Him draw near to me in a way that asked something more from me.  Would I live all sold out for Him?  For reals?  As in not fearing to speak up when others are silent, to strike up conversation about the Gospel when others dared to hold on to their right to remain silent, to spend my time dedicated to His work, to make disciples, to hold to the truth even when stepping back doesn't seem so sinful, to reaching out with a smile when others distance you with their ear buds in.  In a word, going out of my way to show God how much I honor and cherish Him.  Isn't that what you do with someone you love?   

As I debated between a quick nap and a kayak trip across the lake, I felt like I needed the alone time with God to hear His voice - I can never get enough of it.  Tearing across the lake with my paddle, I spied an eagle soaring effortlessly above the crimson forest, and I felt God tugging at my heart to settle in and listen - He had something to tell me.  I was called to be that eagle.  Letting go of the "safe" footing of the earth and soaring heaven bound - not near the trees, but in the clouds.  I had been playing it too safe - not venturing too far spiritually to face rejection.  Watching how easily this eagle sailed through the air, caused me to realize that as we stay close to the ground but lift our feet off a little, we don't catch the currents that make our "yoke easy and burden light."   It was time to take flight and leave it all behind - so I have.

The pictures in the slideshow below will give you a small glimpse of our time there.  We had crazy times, we had focused times, but most of all - we cherished time with God Himself.  The Duggar girls were part of our leadership, and you will see some photos of the live webinar that featured our Journey with their input, us team leaders hiding a stuffed bear on the trails that the girls were to walk alone with God :), and lots of hearts bound together as we sought the Lord.

Journey to the Heart

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Summer is coming... Are you ready?

When you walk down the path, squinting to keep out the sawdust from the roarin' chainsaw, smell manure going into the garden, gasp in awe over the sparkling new budding leaves, you know that summer must be on its way - and for us in Minnesota, that's finally!  Here at our home, it also means staying out of parts of the woods because the bears are cranky coming out of hibernation...

But one thing is for sure, for our family, summer means camp!  Yes, the vibrant Sforzando String Festival is budding rapidly like the underbrush, and we are anticipating an exciting time.  Check out the new website for the camp:  And, if you're a violinist, it's time to register for camp :) 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fall Workshop

This fall, we had an amazing time at our "Your Wits on Fritz" workshop!  It was more like a full day party... :)  Earlier in the fall, I did some research, as did a friend of mine, and preparation for the event began.  I read some great material on violinist/composer Fritz Kreisler, and put together a 63 question quiz based on some insightful - some wacky - information about his life.  And the students got the quiz and started the open book test.  They were on teams, so they could collaborate and search for answers.  As the day drew nearer, I began sending out some of the answers myself.  And since I had access to information they didn't - yay for music libraries at University! - I knew that they needed some help.  Mr. Bauder also did his homework, and put together a great presentation for us all about the life of Kreisler, the time in which he lived, and the influence on his music.

As the competition began, students put away their papers and drew from their memory and teamwork.  Nearing the final rounds, the wagering of points began...  They did so well - and enjoyed the process!  Of course we had to include a moonlight forest walk, Lasagna dinner, campfire, video documentary, games, tractor rides, and s'mores :)  Maybe you want to teach violin... It's too much fun!

Oh, and by the way, did you know that Fritz Kreisler's wife once bought 2000 pairs of shoes?  Any idea as to what she was planning on doing with those?  Comment and ask if you want to know - and I'll give out the answer!

Fall Workshop 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Truly Thankful

Have you found yourself receiving many things, responding with a sincere exclamation of "Thank you!", only to realize you are still desiring more?  Longing.  Waiting.  A hope deferred.  I have.  Maybe we don't really know what we have - or could have.  This Christmas, drink from the fountain so that you will no longer thirst, but live a life - the abundant life - quenched and fulfilled through the gift of the Gospel.  The following video is a must watch - no matter where you are at in life.  I was truly blessed.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sforzando String Festival

God is truly faithful!  If you ever wonder, just commit to more than you can realistically stretch yourself to do in following God's direction, and you will find out just how much He cares about His purposes.  You will also discover how much He sincerely desires to use us - just normal people - to accomplish His ways.

I had a refresher on this truth as I decided to organize, produce, and launch a brand new string festival this year.  It was scheduled to begin only two days after piano camp climaxed to the end.  But I was not alone. My violin teacher from New Zealand added more ideas and sent some great music, an amazing local violinist came in to do a Master Class, Mom taught the theory classes, Analisa taught violin classes, Michael was the camp accompanist, Benjamin led some of the games and activities as well as being our cellist, and Dad provided the use of the "camp lodge" (our home) and acreage and recorded the final concert.  God's faithfulness shone in many ways, but seeing Him orchestrate a camp involving our whole family was such a blessing.  The students were a blessing as well.  Oh, how I love those kids!  I had all 11 of them for 4 whole days.  Then, they were gone.  But they still have a place in my heart ~ and most of them are still "mine" (they are in my regular studio throughout the year).

I think that I learned more from camp than "my" kids could ever have.  Some of it was found in the preparation, some of it from their needs, most of it from who they are.  The joy of discovery.  The art of expression.  The need for laughter.  The importance of age integration.  The fuller story in life.  The need to press on toward an "impossible" goal to accomplish your dreams.  The desperate desire to learn and grow.  The necessary cultivation of camaraderie. The adrenaline rush of the "moment"~ when the challenge is overcome.  And I learned about life ~ zest for life, love of life, enjoyment of the moment while forgetting the future.  Thanks to all of you who invested in my life those four completely awesome days of camp!  I care so much for each of you!

 Thanks also to my faithful parents who pursued this journey with zeal beginning early on in my life, and continue to support these endeavors; to God who is fulfilling His purposes in my life; to my family who have joined in and supported these "big ideas;" and to my violin teacher, Dr. Thomson, who has believed in me and given me the tools necessary to release my heart to dreams great dreams in life and in music ~ with the technique needed to make them a reality!  Soli Deo Gloria!

If you would like to "get in" on the fun, check out the videos below.

This is the "Tornado Twirl" (Song of the Wind) led by Analisa's group
Here is the Twinkle Variations and Theme - each section is led by a different student
The Can Can!  Correographed by the group, and learned strictly in those four days.
La Rotta ~  a piece sent in from my teacher in New Zealand just for camp :)
Pirates of the Caribbean ~  a full orchestral score reduced to work for the older group allowing for only one or two people on each part.
The whole group put together the Orange Blossom Special