Saturday, September 26, 2009

Piano Music

As most of my friends know, I just love to play the piano. It's always my way of letting out all of my emotions and refocusing myself. So I just love to play very expressive pieces. The piece I'm learning right now is called "All of Me," by Jon Schmidt. It's a bit more showy than what I usually like to play, but it's just so much fun that I'm really just learning it for me more than anything. (I don't really play for other people, anyway, except for church music.) If you click on the link you will see that it is quite a fast, difficult sounding piece--and I have to say that I don't play it nearly that well or fast! I'm still learning to not get my fingers all tangled up when I play the part where the bass comes in. I don't know if I will ever get it right but I'm trying!

I've been searching for good sheet music for quite a while, now, so I thought I would share my findings with y'all. For my friends who are also looking for sheet music, Jon Schmidt has a lot of good music available to purchase on his web site. Another muscian that I'd like to try is David Nevue. I found his site just yesterday, and I see that he has quite a bit of church music available. I've been needing some new pieces to play for our church services, so I think I will give his music a try when I have a little bit of time to practice it. Right now, though, I have decided that this is what I want to play next. I've never heard of Yirma before today [and just a heads up--a lot of his site is in Korean! haha], but one of my friends played this piece and I just loved it! Isn't it so peaceful?! This is just the kind of music that I love to play when I need to let everything from my day just come out all at once. I "talk" through my fingers when I play music like this.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Sullivan's

I found this blog through a friend of mine. This couple's story has really touched my heart. Sara Sullivan went to be with the Lord today. I gather from what I have read on this blog that she must have only been only about 27 or 28. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Two days before her mammogram, she found out she was pregnant. She received cancer treatments throughout her pregnancy and delivered a baby girl about 2 weeks ago. Last week, after they were able to take the baby home from the hospital, Sara unexpectedly started having seizures. She was hospitalized, and her condition progressively worsened. Yesterday the doctors told her husband that her brain had started to herniate (the brain pressure is so high, it begins to press the brain down, compressing the brain stem). There is not much any doctor can do at that point, and this morning they declared her brain dead.

Here is what her husband wrote tonight:
The reality of the situation has yet to sink in, but Sara is now with Jesus and for this I am thankful...and at peace! I will miss my best friend and am sorry that Chloe will not be able to know her mother, but Sara's legacy will live on through our MANY happy memories with her. Chloe will know her mother through the impact Sara had on so many lives. She was an AMAZING WOMAN who touched the lives of everyone she came in contact with!

Thank you to those of you who have been praying for us. It is completely clear to me that the Lord was calling Sara home at this time. No matter what her diagnosis had been, it was her time to go. She delivered our miracle baby and we spent a few days at home as a family. I have never seen Sara happier, and I feel as though those few days were like heaven on earth.

Please be praying for her husband, Brady, and her new baby daughter, Chloe. They have a tough road ahead of them. From what I read on the blog, Brady seems like a strong Christian. I know he will need the Lord's abundant grace to guide him through these trials!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bluegrass Memories

This morning at church my mom pulled out copies of some old photos she had brought to give to an old family friend, pictures were of us and our friends at my Uncle Alvin's farm in Mississippi. We sat looking through the pictures and smiling at the memories they brought back. At Uncle Alvin's we loved to go see all of his animals. He raised almost every farm animal you can think of. (I can still remember being thrown off of his donkey. Not too many people can say they were thrown from a donkey!! Thankfully I was only about 6 or 7, and he caught me before I hit the ground.) Aunt Sandra even raised sheep for the wool, because one of her hobbies was spinning her own thread and weaving it into blankets on a loom.

My biggest memory from his house, though, is sitting there in their big living room, windows open (they didn't have air conditioning), listening to him, Aunt Sandra, and their bluegrass band practice for their next performance. Uncle Alvin would usually play the banjo, but sometimes he'd play the guitar or another instrument. Aunt Sandra could play the fiddle, but I always remember her playing the bass. She usually let one of her grandkids play the fiddle since she was teaching them to play. The 12 year old fiddle player always made me wish I could to learn to play the fiddle too! We went up to Vicksburg a few times to hear the band play on one of the historical days.

I wish I could hear Uncle Alvin play again. He passed away about 3 or 4 years ago. Aunt Sandra and the band still play, so maybe sometime I'll get to hear them again. It won't be the same, though, without Uncle Alvin on the banjo. I can still picture him sitting there, looking down his beard and picking away. I really don't remember if they were good or not. The last time I heard them all play together was at least 6 years ago, maybe more. They probably were good, but I just remember how much fun it was to watch the band enjoying their music so much!

I was listening to some music yesterday and this song came on. Its such a good example of bluegrass. Isn't it so fun to watch them play?!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Believe

I have been thinking a lot about faith today. In church this morning, our pastor mentioned the faith that the robber on the cross had, when he believed in the Lord moments before his death. Isn't it amazing how the Lord chooses to open some hearts to His truth in childhood, giving some of them 90 years to serve Him, while with others He chooses to reveal Himself in the last stages of their life? Yet He is still perfect in His plan, in all of His ways. One of my favorite verses (one that has been on my heart all week) is Isaiah 42:16: "And I will lead the blind, in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them." Oh, when He turns that darkness into light, it is such a beautiful thing!! I can still remember being almost wild with happiness the night that He saved me. I lay in my bunk at that Christian camp and just wept and wept for joy!

Tonight after talking to a friend about some hard times she is going through, I remembered a quote that I first heard a few years ago. It was actually made into a song by the Christian group Barlow Girl. But I just love the story behind it. This was found written on the walls of a concentration camp after WWII:
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent.

The faith to believe, even when the Lord is silent. Even when He isn't shouting, making His presence known to us, He is still there, holding us and guiding us through every moment. I have been through some hard times in my life, and there have been days when I didn't even want to get out of bed and go on with the day. However I have never been through anything like the person who wrote out that statement. I can just imagine that person writing it there on that wall, for all to see and as a constant reminder to themselves. In a sense I do the same thing all the time--I write to remember. You can envision them reading it again and again: "...I believe in God...I believe in God." I don't have a clue what it is like to go through something like that, but I pray that the Lord would give me the faith to stand even through it. I want to live out my belief every day, even in the mundane tasks of daily living. I want to shout for the Lord daily, even if I don't hear Him speaking to me at that moment. Do I live like that in each and every day? I'm afraid that a lot of times it's easier to just walk through life with my head down and pick it up only when I walk into the church building. But oh, Jesus is everything to me. I want to live life shouting His name. Just before dying, Christ said, "It is finished!" Oh Lord, let my life say the same to everyone around me. Redemption is complete for all His children!