Saturday, July 31, 2010

Don't Miss a Miracle

In Crystal's Blog yesterday, she talked about belief and God being able to do above and beyond what we could ever imagine. Well, her thoughts have been rolling around in my head and have spurred some thoughts in me.

Most of you who read this blog know that I was told in 2005 that I had Multiple Sclerosis. It was a frightening time in my life and I was faced with a LOT of things all at once. It was frustrating and the medication they gave me made me more crazy than I already am and it didn't help. The one thing that I struggled with more than anything, though, was beliving - believing that God had a purpose in my current state, believing that God was going to sustain me, believing that everything was going to be ok regardless of what happened, believing that God COULD heal me if it was His will.

When we're talking about spritiual matters, belief usually means we rely heavily on faith. Faith means we probably don't see, but still believe. SO HARD! I think there are most certainly times when we are bound to be like the man in Mark 9 who begged Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief. He desperately wanted to believe because Jesus had just told him that "everything is possible for him who believes..." but there was still doubt - still unbelief.  Even the disciples were aware that there was room for their faith to grow - Luke 17:5 says, The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

There is one story from the Bible that stands high above all of the others for me, though, when I come to points in my faith journey when I am struggling with complete and total belief. Now, don't get me wrong, the MS story ends with God healing my body of the disease, so I KNOW THAT I KNOW THAT I KNOW God is able to do more than my human mind could even imagine. But just as the disciples knew that there was room for their faith to increase, so do I.  So, in those instances of struggling to belief with my entire being, I go back to the woman with the issue of blood. I never understood the size of a mustard seed thing (even after I finally saw a mustard seed), but simply having the faith to reach out...that's something I can identify with. She didn't even touch Him, just His robe! And she knew that's all it would take. So, when I need a 'burst of faith', I think of that woman - pushing through the crowd and trying desperately just to touch the edge of His garment.

Oh God, help us to believe - to simply reach out. We most certainly do NOT want to miss any miracles!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Randomness...

Warning: This is going to have some randomness...

What I saw last week:

Beautiful Limited Edition Camaro
ya...would totally drive this car!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bizarre

Has anyone else ever noticed how something that seems so incredibly bizarre through our human eyes suddenly and somehow makes perfect sense when God is thrown into the mix???

So, my dad has like a bazillion siblings. He hails from the hills of Tennessee and was born during a time when children were the closest thing that you could legally get to slave labor. If you had a lot of children, you had a lot of help. Well, that's the only reason that I can come up with as to why someone would EVER have that many kids other than being certifiably insane...

Most of my aunts and uncles live in Tennessee still. One lives on the east coast and one in Alabama. We live in Illinois, but everyone else lives somewhere in Tennessee. My dad LOVES his brothers and sisters and he had apparently been praying about God bringing them all together - unifying them somehow and drawing them all closer to Christ.

My mom and dad ride motorcycles and have for quite a while. They are active in CMA (The Christian Motorcycle Association). A few of my dad's brothers ride, as well. But the large majority of his siblings didn't. However, they decided to take this trip back at the beginning of summer to Gatlinburg...ON MOTORCYCLES! Good grief! One aunt and uncle bought a motorcycle for the trip.

Long story, short:  one uncle just bought a motorcycle - one aunt wants a motorcycle for Christmas - another aunt wants a scooter - another aunt already bought a scooter. WHAT???? Umm...totally bizarre.  Well, bizarre until you factor in the fact that God is simply answering prayers using motorcycles!  God cracks me up!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh, how I LOVE to shop!

So, I promised to blog about my most recent purchases. Some are MUST HAVES!

This is the Vera Bradly Metropolitan in Night and Day. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this bag! It's going to be my new bag for work. It has a place for my laptop and a TON of pockets! Did I mention that I LOVE this bag??? Because I do!

The Container Store a/k/a Heaven - I LOVE organization and this store makes it easy! I bought this new shoe tree. I am so tired of digging in the bottom of my closet looking for a mate to the other shoe. My closet is VERY small (more like a coat closet). Not ideal, but you have to work with what you've got, right?

This thing is amazing! I found shoes that were lost in the bottom of my closet and I forgot that I had! I am wearing a pair today. I suppose if I don't see something, it simply doesn't exist in my mind...you would think that I would remember every shoe and handbag I own. Apparently not. However, I can now find all of my shoes...check this out! 

I also bought a scarf holder. I tried the plastic shower curtain rings on a regular hanger, but they kept sliding from one end to the other every time I opened the stupid door. This is much better...I kept the rings, but this is a MUST HAVE if you own several scarves. ($10) 

Another great purchase was this tie rack. While I do NOT have ties, I have a ton of necklaces that end up in a tangled mess in my current jewelry box. This is a great solution for your necklaces. ($10) 


For my studio, I have purchased a couple of new items lately. I am hoping my friend Julie will agree to help me out by using this as a centerpiece for a wreath! 
It's in a lovely frame now. It's an actual 5th Anniversary Playbill. Notice that they changed the Playbill background to green for this special night! I <3 Wicked!!! If Julie agrees to the project, I'll post pics of the finished product!

I also purchased these 2 new songbooks: 

So, one of my students asked me to find a song for her. I knew nothing of these ladies, but as I was researching, I found out that they had written several other HILARIOUS songs like Taylor, the Latte Boy and Alto's Lament. I can't wait to dig into these and find out what's there!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Weekend Away

So, I promised a friend that I would take some "me" time this summer. I did that in the form of a weekend away in St. Louis with this hottie:
We had a fantastic time! We left on Friday morning and drove straight to Kaldi's Coffee Roasting company. We have 2 friends that worked at Grace Cafe' in Cape and then moved to St. Louis. They now work for this company. They were doing a 'cupping' that day and we were invited to join them. Exciting...well, except for the fact that I had NO idea what a 'cupping' was! Apparently, it's a pretty common occurrence around the roaster and it was FASCINATING! They put you in a room with a high wooden table that has a LOT of little white cups with coffee beans in them. Come to find out, there are several cups of the same coffee (10 different coffees in all). They grind up the beans and pour hot water in each cup. The grounds rise to the top and form a crust. Everyone walks around the table, taking a good sniff of each one, then you break the crust with a spoon and sniff again. As the grounds get stirred, then fall to the bottom. You then go around the table and taste each coffee by slurping it violently from the spoon. (not kidding...there were 14 people in that room and everyone was slurping - HILARIOUS!)


It was a great time for Ronnie. Great coffee. Good company. Learning something new....OK, I had a great time too! Kaldi's is one of the top coffee companies in the US. They are proud of their product and their employees are SO happy! They LOVE their jobs! We got a tour of the roaster and were able to talk to just about everyone: the guy who bags the coffee (and tea - earl grey the day we were there), the guy who loads the trucks, the guys who roast, baristas who were there for the cupping. It is quite an amazing company! It's always nice to see people who really enjoy their job and are proud of the company they work for because they really believe in the product. It was refreshing!

The roasters were so fun to talk to. They answered just about every question I had ever had about roasting (and a little more that I hadn't even thought of). Ronnie got the down-low on their vintage roasting machine. I think he wants to make coffee roasters now. They roast 150 lbs of beans at a time and can roast up to 2000 lbs of beans a day!!!! They actually go to origin to find their beans and deal with the farmers there, abiding by the fair trade act. Did I mention that they have GREAT coffee!  Have I turned into a coffee snob?? Afraid so. I know the difference between good, better, and best and I know that 'bold' is NOT an acceptable term when attempting to describe what you taste.

This is what Ronnie wants when he grows up...his very own espresso machine. I'm supporting his goal. I think I will reap great, caffeinated benefits from this lofty aspiration!

Meet my new favorite little boy. In this pic, he has just picked up the corn with his teeth and is showing everyone. What a HAM! "Look Mom! No Hands!" He and his sister are two of the cutest, most well-behaved and creative kids I have EVER met! They belong to one of our friends that works at Kaldi's. They were kind enough to invite us to their house for dinner (Domino's - if you haven't tried it lately, they aren't kidding...it really IS better!) We had a wonderful time visiting and playing with the kids! What a great family! I am SO glad that we were able to see them!
On Saturday, we had breakfast at the hotel. This was the beautiful flower on our table...does anyone know what it is? I really liked it. (Breakfast was yummy, by the way!)
Saturday we spent the day shopping...stay tuned for recommended purchases (maybe tomorrow). We went to St. Louis Galleria, The Container Store (HEAVEN for a girl like me!), and The Loop! What fun!! I didn't take a lot of pics, but we ate at Fitz's root beer bottling facility. The food was really good! Then we walked and shopped and had ice cream from Ben & Jerry's! So yummy! I had never been to The Loop, but I do have to say that there are a LOT of fun little shops there! If you're looking for a unique gift for someone, you could probably find something there!

After a lovely time of trying to find an on-ramp to I-64E since every single one was closed for like 15 miles, Saturday night found us at the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner and The Big Bang afterwards. The Big Bang was recommended by Crystal and Chris and I must say, it was a GREAT recommendation! $6 cover for hours of entertainment! Duelling pianos! They take requests and play the craziest things and are REALLY great musicians! While we were there, they played Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' - no really...they totally DID and it was AWESOME! This place come highly recommended if you're in downtown St. Louis and need something fun to do!


Sunday we braved the Metro and went to a Kaldi's Cafe' for breakfast.
Back on the Metro and to Union Station. We looked around for a while and headed to The Tap Room - ran by Schlafly's.
It was a great trip that ended with this (enjoy!): 

video

Take time to relax and enjoy life every now and then.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Birth of a Studio

This is going to be a blog of pictures. I just realized that I keep directing people to my blog to see the the renovation process of my studio, but I never posted the finished product here...just on Facebook.

So, here goes...the renovation blogs in order and the finished product pics.

#1        #2        #3        #4

(drum roll........)

My mom was having a little too much fun when we started painting. I had to include this beatiful artwork.








My dad and mom spent a massive amount of time helping me. I am SUPER proud of this space and I hope that seeing the pics from beginning to end always reminds me of what is possible with a little hard work and support from family and friends.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sucky Blogger...Open House

Oh good grief! I stink at keeping up with this blog thing. Hopefully, I will learn from Kate and Crystal and become better sooner or later.

So, Open House for my Voice Studio was Tuesday night. If you haven't read Kate's blog of the event, check it out. It was a great evening. There were quite a few people who showed up. I was able to see some of my former students and some long-time friends that I hadn't see in quite some time. I was also able to make a few new friends.

I feel very blessed to have this opportunity. I LOVE to teach voice! I feel like this is what I was born to do. This studio was just the icing on an already delicious cake.

So, here are a list of presents I got that night....WOO HOO...PRESENTS!

1. A beautiful clip board and pen from Julie...LOVE her!


2. And it came with this gorgeous bow, which now hangs on my memo board













3. Kate got me a cool zebra box...not sure what I'm gonna put in it yet, but I'll figure it out!
4. Ronnie bought me this beautiful Willow Tree Angel. Her name is Irish Charm.
5. Aunt Sandy found an oh-so-perfect green vase! And the yellow flowers really stand out against all of my green.

6. Sarah and Megan came bearing this beautiful plant! Kate and Ronnie are taking bets on how long it takes the poor thing to die, but I've made my mom promise not to even look at it! I really DON'T have a black thumb!
7.  Crystal gave me this frame (which matches my light switch plates)...and a gift certificate to Hobby Lobby with which I purchase the other 2 items.
8. And my mom bought me this beautiful clock (don't hate...you can get your own at Bed, Bath, & Beyond!)

It was a good night. My studio was full of life. It is, after all, the most awesome place on Main Street! Holla!
 

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