On graduating for realz, to-do lists, and Christmas!

Everybody: I’m done with college.  I’m filling out job applications and stuff, but I’ll believe it when I hold a diploma.  I don’t quite believe it yet, and I feel like I’m holding my breath.  What is my grade?  Did I remember to do everything?  I didn’t forget anything, did I?  I feel like I’ve been forgetting a lot of things lately.  But, this uneasiness shall pass.  Not knowing what all the future holds?  Not knowing what I’ll be doing next semester or next year when I’m in Kentucky?  For the first time, not knowing is….exciting.  I’m beginning the process of teacher certification in Kentucky, and there are so many things that I also want to do besides be a music teacher.  Maybe I’ll be a writer and give lessons.  Maybe I’ll get to be the chaplain in a nursing home and pray with residents and share the hope of Christ (granted that I don’t actually have to be a pastor to do that) and get paid for it.  Maybe I can do something else in a church where I’ll make money enough to live.  Maybe I’ll do a little bit of everything I love…and still make money.  I may or may not be procrastinating doing bullets on my lengthy to-do list, but I have decided that I can stay here an extra day to get things done before I go home.  (I also put “write blog post” on the list, so there’s my awesome excuse.  ‘Cuz I want to keep you lovely readers up to date on Anna’s life.)  There is something super satisfactory about checking things off of a list.  I’ve also been talking with Doc Wile E. Coyote about organization and stuff, and I keep encouraging him to write a stinkin’ list.  Then he’ll get to check it off and feel that satisfactory.  A tip for others who struggle and have stuff to do: write smaller things on your list.  I have a smaller checklist for each day, and they include things like “Drink coffee,” “stretch,” and “read the Word.”  Now, these are all things I do every day, but these daily checklists both help me to remember things, PLUS I get to check things off.  It’s pretty awesome.

Somebody asked me yesterday why I haven’t been going to first service at church.  Seriously.  I’m done with school.  Pretty soon I’ll be a “real” adult.  I’m sleeping in a lot while I can.  And soon, Sundays will be the only day I CAN sleep in!  I must take advantage.  As the Christmas season approaches supes fast, I pray for safe travels for all who are traveling (and then I realized that I’m driving a lot of places, too), and I pray that it will be a good holiday season, where we’ll remember the reason for the season.

God chose these average-Joe shephards to share the good news with first.  They weren’t anything special.  But neither am I.  Or you.  But God chose YOU to share the good news with, and he is holding out his arms, waiting for you to run to him.  He holds a gift of salvation, and he is waiting for you to take it and rip it open and accept the gift and be greatful.  Then, as we do with gifts that we don’t so much like, re-gift it!  Because the cool thing about the gift of Christ is, once we receive him, he will never be taken away.  This is what the sermon yesterday was about.  So re-gift this amazing gift and share it with people you don’t like that you’re going to re-gift that fruitcake and those awful-smelling..whatever.  Re-gift it and share it with people you love that have received it already because the gift of Christ can go around and around and around.  Anyhoo, I’m babbaling.  Have a merry Christmas, everyone!

Anna

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20+ Things I’ve Learned So Far This Summer

I have been learning so much this summer, and I’ve had incredible opportunities to give music lessons, write, compose, and even read from the stack of books I’ve held since Christmas. As I was reflecting on all of this, I, being the kind of person I am, made a list. So here it is. 20 things I’ve learned so far this summer:

1. If a student is willing to do a lesson every week, give them a lesson every week, even though it’s summer.

2. How to tell if a student has practiced, no matter what they tell you.

3. Mothers have a lot of power over their kids and love to hear that their child is improving.

4. I can teach students, no matter their level (yay confidence boost!).

5. A student will practice more if: they were humiliated by lack of knowledge at a previous lesson (unintentional on my part), they like their instrument and know that they are getting better, they have a nagging mother, and/or teenage hormones that want them to impress their young female instructor (who looks younger than she is).

6. I’m a good encourager (already knew this, but now in a new situation, I guess).

.7. If our neighbor, Tim Louwagie, cuts hay, it’ll rain (no matter the forecast).

8. Pongo (our dog) isn’t as bad as I thought, and talking to him instead of myself is deemed socially acceptable, even preferred.

9. No texting while driving tractor.

10. I’m more like my dad than I thought.

11. I can’t cook unless the food item was frozen and/or came from a box.

12. Whomever I marry must be able to cook or like frozen dinners.

13. I really love a lot of things and can’t wait to graduate and dive in to life.

14. Though many have a hard time understanding me, my mom usually knows what I mean when I say something.

15. My parents get credit for my humor. If you don’t get any of it, I don’t think you qualify as much of a friend, sorry.

16. Mowing lawn affects allergies, especially if it’s a bit windy outside.

17. Mowing lawn going fast isn’t the smartest thing if you don’t want it to be sloppy and you get paid by the hour.

18. This farmyard can hold 50+ cars at a time, if needed.

19. MS is super annoying and sucks a lot, but I am way better at dealing with the heat than I was a couple years ago.

20. God’s plan and his timing are perfect, no matter how grumpy I am about it.

I’m pretty sure I could make this list 50 and would still have things to say about what I’ve learned so far this summer, but I’ll only give you some. I’ve also been learning and experiencing a ton how God hears us and answers our prayers. Some much sooner than others, but it’s a great thing. I prayed about giving lessons at home, cuz it didn’t sound like there would be anyone. ¾ of my students get lessons from my house. I prayed about getting this story I’ve been working on published, and I’ve received tons of assurance and encouragement from others on the journey. I also have decided on seminary after I’m done with undergrad at Augie, and I am super excited to begin the search process and see if I can’t teach at the same time. I told a friend that it’s like I metaphorically got earwax removed, cuz I’m hearing God tons. It’s great. That would be 21, probably. God is awesome—period. What are you learning this summer?

Anna

Beauty: The 7 Wonders of the World

Beauty is defined by dictionary.com as “the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).”  To end the class I took for j-term, we looked at apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic narratives.  We read The Road by Cormac McCarthy and watched Children of Men, among others.  The commonality in all the apocalyptic narratives is the lack of beauty; lack of hope.  The road is bleak and full of violence.  The narratives end in the death of an important character.  What do you find beautiful?  I have listed some things (because I love lists a lot) that I find beautiful.  These are what I consider the “Seven Wonders of the World.”  I also commented on them.

7. The human body:  It seems that people are always trying to improve their bodies.  And yes, they should be taken care of.  The body is a temple of God.  But can you pause a moment and wonder about its complexity and utter beauty?  God paid special attention to it when he created it, and breathed life into humankind, unlike every other creation.  Whoa!  And it’s just beautiful.  Some of my friends to use the excuse when they’re looking at somebody attractive that they’re just “admiring God’s creation.”

6. A smile and laughter: It is amazing how a simple smile can brighten a day.  Laughter, too, is something beautiful.  A real laugh, not just a polite laugh.  Both smiles and laughter are encouraged daily.  Find something to smile about every day!  They’re beautiful!

5. Art: Beauty can be found in the paintings and sculptures of artists.  A theater house, a cathedral, the pyramids?  Beautiful.  Beauty can be found in the art of creation.  A Midwest sunset or sunrise?  The Colorado Mountains?  Simply beautiful!

4. Words: I am quite taken with words.  They are simply a different medium that artists may use.  A poem, a novel, a journal– beautiful.  The most beautiful words ever are found in the Bible.  And if you don’t read directly from the Bible everyday but only read people’s comments about what is written in the Bible?  You should check it out!  Because, yes, beauty is found there.  (It’s the word of God!)

3. Music: Music can be found in many things, not just a college band playing great music (I say that as we leave for tour today).  The music of nature, the music of the soul, the music of praise to the creator of all.  I can’t even express in words the beauty of music.  It is found everywhere!  Sound in general, really.  God SPOKE the universe and everything else into creation.  Sound.  Music.  When a parent reads to their child before bedtime, music.  Spoken word; daily conversation.  Music.  Beautiful.

2. Love: Without love, I don’t think there would be beauty.  Love is beautiful and it ultimately points to the most beautiful being in the universe: God.  His love is infinite and beyond understanding.  And he gave us the ability to love, as well.  Love in relationships between a parent and child, relatives, friends, significant others, and so many more.  God’s greatest command is to love.  He has given us this beautiful gift.  What more can we do, but pass it on?

Beautiful Cross

1. Christ: Christ is the ultimate beauty and love and sacrifice.  All the other beautiful things are found in him.  Christ paid the penalty for our sins even as we were his enemies.  He loved us THAT MUCH. It blows my mind every day.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19)

Where do you find beauty?

Anna 🙂