Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'm So Excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, in case you didn't get it from the title and extra exclamation marks, I'm pretty much ecstatic right now!! So ecstatic, in fact, that I had no other option but to blog and tell you "all about it"!!!!

"What," you may ask, "has happened to cause this great show of emotion?" Well, I'll tell you. Mark Moreland, as in, the Mark who who was General Manager and Shop Foreman of Schuback's Violin Shop for years and years -
The Mark who helped me and my parents pick out my perfect first violin - a sixteenth size - and second violin - an eighth size - and third violin - a quarter size - and fourth violin - a half size -
that Mark just opened his own violin shop two minutes up the road from me!!! We're talking less than a mile!! A violin maker and restorer, do you know how exciting it is as a violinist and a violin teacher to have a guy I can recommend who lives two minutes from me??

Mama saw a sign up a few days ago that said simply "Violin Maker," and told me about it, knowing I would want to stop by and "scout out the place." Then, this evening, on our way home from the store, I asked her to show me, and she obligingly pulled into the gravel parking lot. There was Mark, taking out the recycling, and he meandered up to us as we turned around. Down went mama's window, and in a few minutes he was telling us all about his shop, his experience, etc. As he went back to his shop to get a few flyers and business cards for me, mama looked straight ahead and kept saying, "Mark...Mark...." as though she was trying to figure something out.
"What's up mama?" I asked.
"O - nothing. I'll tell you later."
"Do you think he's the guy who used to work at Schuback's?"
"Yes! That's exactly what I was wondering!"
After Mark came back out, he mentioned the work he had done at Schuback's. Mama and I were thrilled!!!

Hooray! Hooray! Do you know how cool this is? Do you understand? Or will you chalk it up to simply another weird, violin-teacher quirk?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Operation Clean Out the Closet!

The other day, I made a list of summer goals. You know, things I would like to (or need to!) have done by the end of summer (which is in only two months, by the way!!!). Here are a few of the items that made the list:

- Create a student lesson plan of composer/musical era information for the 2011/2012 school year (because I want my students to learn more than just how to play songs - I want them to learn where they came from!)

- Finish reading So Much More, Kingdom of the Cults, and Bleak House (of course, I had to have a classic in the mix!)

- Memorize the Declaration of Independence (because I've always wanted to, and now seems as good a time as any)

- Finish all crochet/knitting projects...

...*ahem* And this is where the post title comes in. You see, I love to crochet, knit, and sew. Really, I do. But when, at the end of some project, it becomes necessary for me to make an executive decision (do I like the sweater this length, or should I pull it out and make it longer? Is this really the length I want the sleeves? Should I try sewing the edging on in a different way?), I often solve my dilemma by sticking it in the closet to sit while I "think about it." And...sometimes I start a new project and the old is left collecting dust. And sometimes this means the old project sits there for quite a while. And sometimes this happens multiple times, and I'm left with multiple "old projects."

But only sometimes, mind.

However, it has come to my attention that it may be necessary for me to, well, do something about it! Namely, dig all those "old projects" out of the closet and finish them up! Here are the nuggets that surfaced from my mining. :)

1. Crochet Wool Skirt

My puzzle with this was whether I wanted to machine-sew the side seam and sew a lining into the skirt, or just put elastic on the waist and call it good. I've decided elastic in the name of "easy," with the knowledge that I can always rip it out and try again if I hate it. :)

2. Knit Silk-Wool Robe

Now, I LOVE this project, and would finish it in a heartbeat, if possible. But the simple fact is, who has the $$ to buy 20-30 skeins of half-silk-half-wool yarn in one sitting? So, I work on it as I can...this may not be completed at the end of summer, but I had to show you!

3. 1800s Knit Wool Shawl

I got this pattern from Fort Vancouver. It was written out by one of the mistresses of a Young Ladies' School in Scotland in the mid-1800s. The reason this project is undone is because I'm not sure how to edge it. I don't know how to pick up the ends and knit an edging, and I'm hesitant to just crochet around it. Hmm...Still haven't decided on a solution yet, but I will by August!

4. Crochet Merino Wool "Swing Jacket"

This project is undone because, sadly, I'm just a little short of blue wool, and consequently am in the midst of deciding how much to edge it with the burgundy. Another one I have yet to figure out...

5. Knit Wool "Bed Jacket" (aka, another sweater)

If nothing else, this post will inform you that I'm always cold, and like wool. :) Dilemma with this lovely pattern? I knit the edging a bit long, knowing it would felt, and planning to simply snip off the extra length. Just to be contrary, the wool didn't felt completely, and I'm consequently a bit wary about this cutting business. Guess I'll have to, though! If it doesn't work, I get to knit another five feet of edging - *groan* - so I hope it works!

6. Crochet Cotton Table Doily

This is my most pressing of projects, and one for which I didn't have to do any digging. It's a wedding gift for my violin teacher (I missed the wedding while I was in Utah...SO sad), and I am going to a reception in about two weeks, so it is first on the list to complete!

7. Crochet Chunky-Cotton, Super-Fun, Happy-Colored Pillow

Ok, so I really like this project! :) The front of the pillow is crocheted cotton, and for some fun texture-diversity I plan on sewing a satin backing. Procrastination point? I can't decide how I want the flowers! White squares? Green squares? Piled-up in a heap at the center? O-so-lame a reason to not have it finished, I know. But which would you do?

(No, the tails on the flowers are not permanent...they will disappear when the pillow is done!:)

And that is Operation Clean Out the Closet!

What's on your summer to-do list?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Father's World

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

          Day unto day utters speech,
          And night unto night reveals knowledge.


There is no speech or language
Where their voice is not heard.


Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world."

 "Praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD from the heavens;

Praise Him in the heights!

Praise Him, all His angels;

Praise Him, all His hosts!

Praise Him, sun and moon;

Praise Him, all you stars of light!

Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away....

...Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.

And He has exalted the horn of His people,
The praise of all His saints -
Of the children of Israel,
A people near to Him.


 Praise the LORD!" 

The sunset was absolutely breath-taking tonight...
 -Excerpts from Psalms 19 & 148

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm Home!!!!

"O wow. O wow. That is impressive!" The couple sitting next to me in the plane leaned forward, craning their necks to see out my little peep-hole of a window, while I leaned back, grinning in (senseless?) pride as they gawked and exclaimed at the beauty of my home. "Look at that mountain! O man. Wow."
"Have you guys ever been to Portland before?" I asked them, when their compliments began to slow. "Nope, first time!" they replied, "That is soo cool!" gesturing again to the mountain by which we were flying.

I just smiled. Over the past few days, the moment our fellow Instituters discovered where we lived, Lauren, Mika, and I were posed with the question: "Does it really rain there all the time?" "Well, I guess it does rain a lot..." we'd look at each other and shrug, "but you don't really notice it." (As a side-note, today is sunny and mid-70s.) However, if the truth be told, the Northwest is the most beautiful place known to man; even though, as one lady (who had actually visited) asserted, "It's the best-kept secret in the world!"

And I was home. Home where people know what the color green is. Home where rain is a thing you go outside and dance in, not pull out your umbrella for. Home where the sun shines on a million bright colors of pink, purple, and gold flowers; pale- and deep-green grass; dark, chocolate-colored dirt; and brilliant red bushes (instead of...well...brown everything). Home where the horizon does not stretch flat and endlessly, but where there are mountains and hills and woods and trees.

Yes, I love home. But what I love most about it, are the people who live here! To be tackled the moment I came into view by the three Littles, to be told by James that "Nothing was the same with you gone," to read yet another letter Maddy had written me, but hadn't had time to send - I am truly blessed by those with whom the Lord has chosen to surround me! Yes, I was sad Trip Utah was over. Yes, I loved chatting with and getting to know some of the amazing Suzuki teachers who rode the shuttle with us every day. Yes, I met some great people, and wish I could have gotten to know them better. Yes, I was challenged and sharpened and encouraged by those eleven days with my dear friends. But ultimately, I know this: God created and designed me to be here - in this home, older sister to nine siblings, living in the most beautiful state in the nation.

And it's good to be home.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: It's Been a Week

Yes, it has. A whole week. I cannot believe there are only three days left of training...time flies when it's filled to the brim! :)

For this Wattch-It Wednesday, I have several videos! The first is from our outing I alluded to in this post:
(Drumroll pleasel) an Indiana-Jones-style dessert! (Actually, I’ve never seen “Indiana Jones,” so I’m really just taking other people’s word for it. I did see the Veggie Tales knock-off, “Minnesota Cuke”, though. It’s about as close to the real thing as I want to get…so it counts, right?)

On our way to the hotel our very first night here, we met a local who told us we ought to try "The Mayan" for dinner sometime during our stay. "It's very Disney," he elaborated, "kind of like a big tree house with a waterfall in the middle. And they have diving shows every half hour." A tree-house style restaurant? Yes please! Saturday night, with no early-morning classes the next day, seemed the ideal evening, and so a plan was made! We invited our new acquaintance, Marissa, to come with us, and climbed into our personal limo - er, I mean shuttle van – for a fun-packed evening out!
Lauren, Marissa, and Mikaela!
As we walked into the dark, mysteriously-lit room, looking for all the world like a network of mining shafts, we couldn’t keep the grins off our faces. Yes, this was an awesome place to be! Down one of shafts halls we were led, the end opening up to reveal (dum, da-da dum) the waterfall! Throughout the evening we witnessed some heart-stopping diving and climbing shows which impressed us greatly! Unfortunately, because of the dramatic lighting, I was unable to get many pictures, but here are a few!


For dessert, Mikaela, Melissa, and I ordered some "chocolate lava cake." Little did we know what we were in for!

How exciting is that? Sparklers on your cake? Too much fun. :)

Video number two is from our wonderful return to Gateway! Behold the great fountain and music, spoken of here and here:

Ok. I lied.
No video.
But I tried.
This video is, for some reason, way too large to upload
So I shall have to wait 'til I get home to compress it.
But it's the thought that counts, anyway.
So just try to imagine it.

The last video is one I received in an email yesterday afternoon. The Littles and Rachel put it together for me...SO SWEET!! Aren't they dears?

Note: I do realize that it is now Thursday. But better late than never! I did start the post on Wednesday...
For more pictures and another perspective on our trip, visit Lauren and Mikaela's blog!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quotes for a Quickie

My laptop currently has other demands on it besides here are some awesome quotes from this past weekend (I'm sure there will be more by the end of the week)! :)

"What does your imaginary friend smell like?"
"Rotten eggs."
"Ugh! That's terrible!"
"Smell it." - commercial
"The Suzuki method is the commitment to the ideals that the development of the character of the child and the heart of the musician is of equal importance and is the responsibility of the teacher, parent, and child." - Cathy Lee
"I bet the Idaho airport is stinky" *look of disgust* - Anonymous (but whose initials spell Lauren Elizabeth)
"...the Holy Spirit is a real and distinct person, and not an impersonal force..." - RC Sproul (Essential Truths of the Christian Faith)
"He gave me a shoe!" *sniff* - commercial
"When you close your eyes, you're seeing your eyelids!"
"No your not, your eyes roll back into your head and stop working." - little kids in the shuttle on the way "home".
"Who here's from Texas?"
"YEEE-AAAAHHH!" - our new friend, Marissa.
        "And that's all there is, there
more." - ??? I can't remember! :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Adventures of Three Violins

Once upon a time, there lived three violins. They were good, sweet instruments, who delighted in singing for the Lord and teaching other little violins to do the same. But these violins were not content to simply instruct from their own - sometimes limited - amount of knowledge, oh no! They wanted to be the best teachers they could be! So one year, they packed their bags and flew (what an experience! To fly!) to the mountain-edged city of Salt Lake, to learn how to better teach their own sweet little violins back home.

Ten enlightening, mind-spinning, exciting days later, they returned home. Overflowing with new ideas, theories, and techniques, they dove into the next year of teaching with renewed enthusiasm and energy. But always, in the back of their mind, they longed to return and learn yet more from the wonderful older violins at the Suzuki Institute.
A year slipped by, then another, and once again, the three violins found themselves in the brown-but-beautiful state of Utah.

They had returned.

As they basked in the warm sunshine (the violins' girls even got sunburned!), experimented with new techniques for good tone, and watched with grins as their bows and girls did multiple, silly-looking exercises together, they marvelled at all the wonderful things to be seen and heard at Suzuki Camp!

What a crazy, information-packed three days we've had! But in case it wasn't clear from the violin's perspective, I should explain. I'm sitting here on a comfy red sofa with Lauren and Mikaela, in our air-conditioned hotel "suite", just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. We are here to attend Teacher Training for Suzuki Books 2 & 3, but at the moment we are searching for cute lunch and shopping stops to drop by tomorrow (our one day off). We have just had two and a half days of classes, and were I to go home today, there are already so many things I would change in my personal playing and teaching methods - it's great!

Ordering Burgers and Fries Online

We got in Wednesday evening, late. Quite late. In fact, by the time we got to our room, we were hard-pressed to find a restaurant that was still open to satisfy our crying stomachs. Finally, we discovered that "Five Guys, Burger and Fries" (which we had never been to) allowed online orders, and by the skin of our teeth we ordered some dinner and picked it up 15 minutes before they closed. Wheh!

 Thursday we didn't have to be at the Institute until 3, so we slept in, began our Bible study on the Holy Spirit (more on that later) and went grocery shopping for the week. We discovered last year that, if we have a plan for meals, we save tons of money! And yet... this looks like quite a heap of food for three girls, dontcha think?
But we have quite the sophisticated menu, of course. Thursday we had the "European" dinner - brie cheese (yum!), sausage (yum!), french bread (yum!) grapes (yum!) and sparkling juice...yum. Yesterday we made chicken Alfredo, tonight it was tacos and sweet potato fries... For some inexplicable reason, food takes up quite a bit of our time evidenced by the fact that we've spent the last 2.5 hours looking for a place to have lunch tomorrow. *ahem* You'd think we were boys, for all the emphasis we place on this subject! :p

Of course, food is not all we're doing. So far, we've had fourteen hours of classroom time (we've worked all the way through Book 2), a few hours of soaking up the sun on lunch break (we're talking in the 70s...have you ever wanted to just hug the sun?), a few hours of Bible study, gone shopping at Forever 21, and talked with some great Christian girls (how cool is that? Last time we came, we did not meet a single Christian!). I will have to save tonight's experience for later ('cause I am tired), but it involved...chocolate, hysterical laughs, sparklers, divers, and...safari themes. There now, aren't you curious?

But tomorrow, our one day off, we will do our study time and then head off to Salt Lake City for a day on the town! We plan to hit a Bible exhibit to see pages of the Gutenberg Bible, find a cute lunch spot (if we can), and spend some time with our favorite haunt of two years ago, Gateway.

Ta-ta, and goodnight!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Picture to Write Home About

I'm sitting here in a four-man tent in our side yard, flanked on either side by a Twinkle, and knowing Gracie is somewhere along the far side in the darkness. We're listening to snippets of Chris Rice's piano-arranged hymns (the kind of snippets you get on "preview" through iTunes), and I'm reflecting on the pictures that have made this day.
Though this week's beginning was rather grey and overcast as a whole, we had some spectacular sunset colors during "Daddy's Favorite Time of Evening," which, since a picture's worth a thousand words, is better shown than explained:


 Before that, we all went to see Ben awarded the "Oswald Award" at the community college, which basically means he got a paper saying he's awesome - yah, yah, tell us something we don't know! Still, it was fun to cheer for him! :)

 But even before that, I met Ruth from Journey of Faith for lunch and lots of catching up - and I received some wonderfully-beautiful note cards!

Ruthie has been following the Lord's will for her life in Uganda for the past year, working with SHIM. Leading girls' Bible studies, teaching computer classes, encouraging those of us at home through the anecdotes on her blog - she blesses and challenges all who come in contact with her by her sweet spirit and "keepin' busy" attitude. Since she came home on furlough in May, Ruth has launched the "Suubi Project" to raise funds for the Lingira Living Hope Secondary School (LLHSS). Using pictures she took in Uganda (and wow, are they amazing!), she has put together some fantastic sets of stationary, the sales of which will benefit the school where she teaches - and I thought you should know! :) So many of us have been blessed to grow up in homes where Christ and His words are taught as truth, and education is a right. LLHSS is a place where students, who otherwise may never be given the opportunity, are offered both. A set of ten lovely notecards are a mere $8, or $10 if you have them mailed to you. Please consider supporting this ministry, and grab the button from Ruthie's blog to spread the word! Who knows how many young men and women will come to accept Christ in the years ahead for LLHSS? I don't. But I do know this: if there were only one soul saved from this day on because of the funds received through this project, it would be something to write home about!

For more info about the Suubi Project see here, for more info about LHSS, visit here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


"One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time." 
-- John Piper

Is it just late, or is that actually quite funny? At any rate, it made me laugh! :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday: Words and C.S. Lewis

"Those hills," said Lucy, "the nice woody ones and the blue ones behind -- aren't they very like the Southern border of Narnia?"

"Like!" cried Edmund after a moment's silence. "Why, they're exactly like...."
"And yet they're not like," said Lucy. "They're different. They have more colors on them and they look further away than I remembered and they're more...more...oh, I don't know..."
"More like the real thing," said the Lord Digory softly.
Suddenly, Farsight the Eagle spread his wings, soared thirty or forty feet up into the air, circled round and then alighted on the ground.
"Kings and Queens," he cried, "we have all been blind. We are only beginning to see where we are....Narnia is not dead. This is Narnia."
...."it's all so different," said Lucy.
"The Eagle is right," said the Lord Digory. "Listen, Peter. When Aslan said you could never go back to Narnia, he meant the Narnia you were thinking of. But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here....You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or a waking life is from a dream." His voice stirred everyone like a trumpet as he spoke these words....
I've been thinking about this passage from The Last Battle a lot lately. Particularly, as I've been memorizing/studying John 1.

Rabbit Trail: Oooo, the wonderful first five verses are simply mind-boggling. Did you know the Greek word for "Word" means "the Divine Expression"? To think that God's expression of Himself became a human being is...incomprehensible; as Martin Luther said, "The mystery of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding." End Rabbit Trail.

Anyway, what I've been thinking is this: Many things in life are, as C.S. Lewis pointed out, a foreshadowing, a shortened version, a muted color of what exists in heaven. Life here on earth lasts only an average of 78 years (in the U.S.), yet, in heaven, there will be no end of life. (Actually, this is also true of death. While the moment of death is an instant here on earth, it too lasts for eternity for those who have not accepted Christ).

But words...words. If Jesus Christ is the incarnated Word, then the words we speak are only a foreshadowing of something deeper...something we will only fully understand when we stand before the living Word.

What are words? What are they in their real, bigger, brighter colors? 'Til we see God, I am not sure if we can understand, but this I know: If, somehow, the Son's Word had such power that He became a Person, I can finally understand why we, as Christians, must guard our words so closely. Our words are to parallel the Word, and all those which don't are nothing short of blasphemy. Because words - real, bright, shining words, the true words that the sounds we speak foreshadow - have a deeper impact than we realize.

It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried:
"I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!" - The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis

CIA World Factbook 
Photo Credit

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: The National Anthem

On Memorial Day, Gracie-girl had the honor and opportunity to sing the national anthem for a service in Amboy. She has not sung in public before (unless you count the 3-year-old singing "You're My Honey-Bun, Sugar Plum" at camp as "singing in public"), and has not had voice lessons of any sort. But she does have a sweet voice, and despite her nerves, did quite well! :)

Video taken with Daddy's phone.