Wednesday, March 27

For Ruth

Happy birthday Ruth! I hope your day is wonderful, special, beautiful, fun, bubbly, colorful, and all those other appropriate adjectives! I'm so thankful that we became friends and you are such a blessing and encouragement to me! <3

Saturday, March 23

Public pianos for Pensacola

So guys, there's this thing happening around town and I'm sooo excited!
It's a new project started by a lady who teaches piano (and harpsichord and a whole truckload of other things) at the University of West Florida and I'm not sure all of the technical details of the whole thing but let me say this, I am so jitterigimously ticklefied! I absolutely cannot wait!!
This lovely thing is that there are going to be pianos all around Pensacola!
PUBLIC pianos!
As in, ANYBODY can play them!
And I played one of them today! As far as I know there are only two thus far and they aren't at their final locations as of yet, but I think this is just the coolest thing! This is something that I've heard about before that I think was done in New York and I was so jealous but now it's happening here! I think I may just hog the piano from the world so nobody else can play and only me.
Anywho, these are like old pianos that have been somewhat restored and painted up really cool! Here's the one that I played today!
 Okay, Geoffrey played too...but that's the cool thing: anybody can do it! Even if you've never had a lesson in your life (which honestly could be somewhat painful in some cases...but I digress)
See the lovely Spanish man photobombing my picture? ;)
It's a gorgeous piece of art, although I can't say it's a particularly lovely piano musically speaking...
This is just getting started but I'm really excited! So keep an eye out for these pianos around the town!
I think this one is going in the Maritime Stadium and there's another one destined for the airport.
Also I played Pirates on this piano today.

Thursday, March 21

A birthday story

Once upon a time there were two girls. They were very good friends, and they liked to laugh and tease each other and talk. The girls were together with their friends for classes one day. The church where they met was surrounded by mysterious woods which begged to be explored. The girls knew that it would be a very bad idea to go in the woods, and they never did. But one day, the girls were tired of not being able to talk just the two of them. Wherever they went, people would follow them. They needed to be off by themselves so they could talk. The first little girl suggested that they go into the woods. The second little girl agreed. And so, despite their better judgment, the two girls started into the woods. They discovered what looked to be a rotted out old chair, probably devoured long ago by termites and raccoons. They continued on through the woods, stepping barefoot over moss and leaves. The girls avoided broken glass and thorns, wasps and spider webs, simply being happy of their opportunity to talk without worry of disruption. Unfortunately, the girls forgot that the adults in charge of them would be very worried that they could not be found. The two girls ventured back around to where the other children were playing in the sunshine. They spotted a very worried mother advancing towards them and walked as a pair condemned. The mother lectured them briefly and put the two girls in timeout together to think about what they'd done. The two girls are very sorry today for what they did, although they don't regret the memory that they made together.

Happy birthday, Bria! Thank you for sticking with me in timeout, and everything else! <3

Wednesday, March 20

After every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul's indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer.
    -William R. Alger

Monday, March 18

I knew you were a goat

Dealing with Dudes

In order for this post to be appreciated to its maximum capacity, there's a few things I should make sure you all know about me first.
1. I'm homeschooled.
2. We go to a homeschool co-op with a bunch of other homeschool families.
3. I like to be in charge of everything.
4. I am kind of a stickler for spelling and good handwriting.

I'm taking a world literature class at co-op this year and currently we're reading The Count of Monte Cristo. (An excellent book, by the way) Our teacher assigned us a project where we have to either defend or prosecute the main character. There are about twelve or so kids in the class, so we had to divide into teams. And I got a team full of guys.
Don't get me wrong, I love them and all, but goodness...this project is going to be a test of my patience (which is limited). So here are some lessons learned from my literature group thus far.

When dealing with dudes, you must NEVER...

NEVER EVER mention bacon. Or meatloaf. Or cheeseburgers. They will never shut up about it.
NEVER EVER let them write stuff down. Unless you are different from me and can abide abominable spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and handwriting.
NEVER EVER allow yourself to be the only girl on a team of guys. 

When dealing with dudes, you must ALWAYS...

ALWAYS manage to sneakily be the boss. (Although I know I'm the boss of all those boys anyway.)
ALWAYS throw an elbow once in a while to keep them in check.
ALWAYS stand up or sit on your knees or something so you're bigger than they are. It earns you instant respect.

Stuff I will never understand when dealing with dudes...

They like to argue. About everything. And if you're not currently arguing about anything, they will create something to argue about.
Pretty much everything about them actually. This is going to be an interesting project.

It's a good thing that I'm friends with all of my teammates, cuz otherwise someone might get hurt.

Thursday, March 7

On David

I heard a very good message last night in youth service about David.
It was from Psalm 78:70-72, which reads, "He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands."
That is just like the coolest thing, and the pastor emphasized this to us, God CHOSE David. 
The creator of the whole world chose a boy, just a lowly boy. Why did God choose him?
The reason why God was able to use David was because David was in His will, even though it wasn't anything spectacular. He was doing what God meant him to be doing, and because of that God blessed him and gave him glory.
Right now, generally God's will for me is to be in school, submitting to my parents' choices for me, because they know better than I do. And if I'm doing that and seeking God with my whole heart, I know that when the time comes for me to move on to doing things on my own, everything will be alright because I'll be in God's will for me.
David may not have wanted to be a shepherd and he may not have liked always being passed over because he was younger, but he knew that God expected him to obey his father. Because he submitted to God through his father, he was blessed beyond belief. He submitted in the small things, so God knew he could trust him to lead Israel. 
And ultimately his humble childhood was for the best. The training David received and the wisdom he gained and the closeness to God that he achieved while watching the sheep prepared him to be king, and more important than that, to be called a man after God's own heart. 
That's the title we all should seek to claim.

Wednesday, March 6

On musical nerdship

I think that generally I would be classified as a music nerd. After ten years of piano lessons, the last few of which have been with the most amazing teacher I could have, music has become a huge part of my life. Honestly until I had to go without it for a few days I didn't really realize how important it is to me.
I don't like to practice the piano very much, as you probably know, and those of you who do know me probably could guess that. 
I have attention deficit hyperactivity dis - OOH SHINY!!
But I actually missed practicing when I didn't have a piano at my disposal 24/7.
So yeah. But let's see if you too are a music nerd.

  1. If you know the proper way to pronounce Chopin's name.
  2. If you can name more than five composers besides Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach without batting an eye.
  3. If one of your favorite games is Guess the Composer.
  4. If you know that one does not simply leave a piano unplayed.
  5. If you hear wrong notes in Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter's performance of Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto.
  6. If you've ever heard of Shostakovich, Scarlatti, Cimarosa, Kabalevsky, or MacDowell.
  7. If you practice chromatic scales just because they're fun.
  8. If you recognize the importance of warming up before performing.
  9. If you can tell that a piano is out of tune.
  10. If you like to guess what note random sounds you hear are hitting.
  11. If you know that Beethoven was considered the last composer of the Classical era and the first composer of the Romantic era.
  12. If you know NEVER to clap in between movements.
  13. If you're nodding your head and smiling right now, you might be a music nerd.
If you too are a music nerd, hold your head up high and be proud.

Tuesday, March 5

On Grandpa

My grandpa passed away a few weeks ago.

Even though we knew that he was close to the end I can't say that we were ready.
Although, is anybody ever ready for a loved one to die?
I love all my grandparents but I have to say that I had something special with Grandpa Stemen. He was always making me laugh and embarrassing me. (Like the time he had everyone in Cracker Barrel sing Happy Birthday to me)
I got him back though, one time in WalMart I loudly declared that he had coffee breath and told him to get some gum for his breath.
He taught me a lot about a lot of things. Even though most of my friends never got to meet him, he still influenced them through me.
If I've ever teased you or picked on you, that's Grandpa. He picked on everyone he loved.
If you've ever seen my tomboy side, that's Grandpa. He took me fishing and watched baseball with me and showed me that I can still be a girl while having fun.
If I've ever told you a joke that just makes you want to lose hope for humanity, I probably heard it from Grandpa. He loved to laugh and make people laugh. (Even if that meant stooping to the obscenely lame)
That was one of my favorite things about Grandpa: he made me laugh.

One time I was fishing with him (I was probably nine or ten) and he had to put the minnows on my hook because I didn't like to touch them. I walked down to a spot underneath a drooping tree, checked my hook, and flung my line. I was a little overambitious, however, and my poor minnow flew through the air and got caught in the tree. I hollered at Grandpa that I needed a new minnow. He laughed and baited my hook again. I cast the line, and once again, the minnow flew off the hook and into the tree. Grandpa was cracking up by now and told me that we should name the minnow Tarzan. He gave me yet another minnow and once again, its final resting place was the tree. Grandpa told me that my minnows had earned enough frequent flier miles and told me to move to a new spot.

I don't know that I'll ever be able to go fishing again without remembering my minnows and their frequent flier miles.
He taught the whole family to laugh. Even at his funeral, there were smiles and jokes exchanged. Perhaps that was because we realized that Grandpa wouldn't have wanted us to be sad. There's a hole in all our hearts now that won't be filled until that day when we see him again, but we don't grieve without hope.
At the funeral Geoffrey and I were the only family members in the room when the coffin was closed, and I have to say I don't feel bad for those who missed it. It was awful having to see my grandpa, who was always the life of the party, closed up in a box that was destined for some hole in the ground. It felt so wrong to see him, but not him (because he's in Heaven now) lying there, not really there, only a shell. The family came in, people said things, we cried...Geoffrey and I played the piano (I barely kept it together because Grandpa loved to hear us play) I played the piano (like a true church pianist) for one of Grandpa's favorite hymns, To God Be The Glory. I went up to the piano and picked up the hymnal from the side of the piano. Holding true to my luck, I dropped another hymnal on the keyboard somewhere in the nether regions of the lower keys, creating a noise more horrible than anything I ever knew a piano could make. I was mortified but I know Grandpa would have laughed.
The scene at the graveside was morbidly picturesque. It was exactly the kind of day you would expect for saying goodbye to a loved one. The sky was the palest grey and the wind was cold and biting. We gathered around and I wondered if anybody driving by and seeing us would care how greatly this affects our lives. Things will never be the same. We'll always miss Grandpa, but he's having a grand time with everybody in Heaven and we'll follow him soon.

Heaven got a whole lot more awesome a few weeks ago.