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

Monday, August 20, 2012

Young Artist World Piano Festival

Summer has been in full swing, and is just starting to wind down.  During this 10 day intensive piano camp, Michael was practicing hard and soaking it all up while I served as a full time "camp counselor," and the rest of the fam enjoyed attending some of the events.  It was a fantastic time of basking in music in a great "musical sleep over" and building new skills and relationships. 

Michael worked up a fantastic concerto for the camp.  Before camp began, he gave an excellent casual performance.  Check it out!

With tons of active grand pianos being diligently practiced upon, intense competitions, musicianship classes, masterclasses, and inspiring performances, the activity was full. But as a counselor that most kids seemed to think was their age - regardless of what their age was - I had a unique and incredibly fun time interacting with them. :) This included everything from straightening collars and fixing hair before they walked out on stage, to see God clearly at work providing for our needs, to reviewing the steps to a proper bow, to talking through the difficult things at any time of day or night, to sharing my faith, to playing ultimate Frisbee and 'round the world ping pong - which was affectionately called the "heart of piano camp" :)

But piano camp was more than piano - though the students often did not leave their musical discussions even on our outing at the zoo!

Me with one of my girls - one of the youngest there - 7 years old.

Michael and a friend in the bus en route to the zoo.  Piano was hard to stay away from - so it was brought along - via the Piano Guys...
Collaborating with one of the students - with all of those fantastic pianists, it was a great opportunity to jam a bit in our tiny amount of "free time."

Subway made some dough on our picnic...

A properly dressed and might bit silly (or shall I say excited?) group of ushers...

The students interacting with a group of older folks that attended their concert

Forum - a game of competing in musical history and listening

More of my girls enjoying a treat

The group of 'round the world ping pong champs.  I guess this time my competitive nature found me in this group...  How I loved their company and fun spirit!

My team for Ultimate Frisbee

Michael's team for Ultimate Frisbee

An example of the perfect way to "wind up" for the night!  It became the  routine.  We would start with about 25 kids, and it always gets exciting when you get to the last few...

Finish your summer strong!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

              Wow, our summer has been SO crazy busy, but hopefully we can update you bit by bit...

In June, we were thrilled to have my brother Adam, and his family come and stay with us for several days! He has been in the Army for several years, and recently just moved back to Texas after a couple of years serving in Germany.  This was the first time we were able to see all of our little nieces in person - even though we love Skype, it's just not the same. :)  They are all so sweet and so much fun!  We had a wonderful time together.

Calliegh is 4 and was quite shy in the beginning, but warmed up to me surprisingly well after she helped bake muffins for lunch!
Becca (almost 3) enjoying the muffins. :)

Mom and Dad LOVED having grandkids around... finally!

Becca and Calliegh couldn't get to sleep one night because they wanted to be in Lauri's violin recital somehow... even though they had no previous violin training.  Lauri comforted them by promising to include them somehow.  After considering it together, we had them dress up as butterflies and clack rhythms to a simple song - they did very well. :)

Becca and Sarah took interest in the piano!


We had all the little cousins in the area get together - what fun that was!

Kadie and Becca were so cute together!

They were delighted to get to play on a violin - Calliegh kept wanting lessons!

Enjoying a campfire in our beautiful backyard... the weather couldn't have been better during their visit!

Sarah (1) is so cuddly and such a good baby!

We all went to the Como Zoo in St. Paul and it was SO fun to watch  Becca's reaction to these seals.  After the seal swam by the glass near her, she squealed with delight, "He LIKES me; OH, he LIKES me!!!!"   

We went to the Mall of America!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Which is More Needful?

In the Bible, we read about things that are needful.  As I ponder our family's wonderful Easter celebration, I think of this - except this time I ask myself:  Which is more needful - children needing adults, or adults needing children?

Children need adults to care for them, to provide for their needs, to answer questions, to help make sense out of life.  But adults also need children - to help them discover, to remember that life is filled with songs, to learn that bumps and bruises can be as easily forgotten as they are gotten, that with a little faith and contentment in simple joys life can be alright, and that no matter what happens, tomorrow has got to be a better day.

As I grow older, I realize that there is a large gap between the perspectives of the young and the not so young, and I reflect back on the things that I learned as a young child.  Some things were from the Bible - the 10 commandments, the Golden Rule, Scripture verses and concepts.  Other things were learned from cereal boxes, commercials, friends, and TV shows.  The song from "Mr. Rogers" came to me the other day - a rough "grown up" sort of day no less, and out of my mouth came the words:  "It's just a good feeling to know you're alive..."  That day I wasn't so sure...  When it comes right down to it, it's just a good feeling to know He's alive!  

As we approach summer, that means that the youngest in our family will be turning 17.  Wow.  There are no children left here.  But we still need them.

So, we hang out with them.  We had my cousin, her husband, and their three children (ages 1,2,3) over for Easter - and of course - had a blast!

We were reminded of the joy of discovery...

The importance of discovering everything left undiscovered... :)

The importance of a clean treasure...

The value of good companions...

We were also reminded that...

It only takes a little snuggle to warm the heart...

It is good to take time to play in the dirt...

A ride from the tractor can settle your heart and be good for the soul...

Enjoyment this good is meant for all...

Age sets no bounds on friendships...

While one stick is good, a pile of logs is exhilarating...

We all need each other!

"But Jesus called unto him, and said, Suffer the little children to come unot me, and forbid them not:  for of such is the kingdom of heaver." - Luke 18:16