A Few of My Favorite Things

  When I was younger, a year seemed to take forever, but the older I get, the faster each orbit around the sun seems to go. This year seemed to wiz by for me; I'm still remembering the beginning of  2015; I was a high-schooler. Now I'm a college student.
 
   A year ago, I was frantically scrambling to get my application in, for dual enrollment and trying to figure out exactly what getting a degree through Verity would look like. Now I'm getting that degree.

 In January of 2015, I had no idea where I would get the money from to pay for college expenses. My income was at an absolute zero. Now I'm teaching violin and loving it. As for college expenses, the Lord has provided so far, and that, in wonderful ways.

  Our pastor always gives us an admonition each year. A litmus test, as it were, for our salvation. He says, "When you look back over the past year, can you honestly say that you love God more now than you did a year ago?" What a thought. Can you say that? I am glad to report that I can honestly say I do. I've had a lot of new temptations and tests hit me this year, but through them all, the threads which bind me to God have only grown tighter and thicker.

  I thought I'd share a few Highlights from this year. I've divided them into two categories: Firsts and Favorites.

    1. Firsts
  • Earned my first College Credits. ( I currently have 36!)
  • Taught Violin - I now have nine little students.
  • Caught Strep throat.
  • Climbed Grandfather mountain - The most aduous and rewarding hike I've ever accomplished. Daddy, Jeddidiah, Tobias, and I hiked the entire trail hitting all four peaks, there and back again.
  • Experienced my first time away from home without any other family members present.
  • Navigated the ariport and security checkpoints by myself, in spite of my alarming hair pins. ;)
  • Visited Indiana for the first time.
  • Rode in the open bed of a pickup truck. (Something I've secretly wanted to do for years.)
  • Got my permit and started learning to drive. (I nearly crashed the first time I took the wheel.)
  • Started Voice Lessons and sang in public for the first time. 
  • Completely memorized a seventy stanza poem. (Horatius at The Bridge by Lord Macaulay!)
 2. Favorites
Honorable mentions go to, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist" by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek,  Beethoven's fifth Symphony, "Finiculi, Finicula," "Catalunia" by G.A. Rossini, "You Mission" by Ellen Gates, and "What Sweeter Music," By John Rutter, and sung by King's College Choir.

   Finally, I have a funny anecdote from this year which I find most unusual and memorable. In July, as I was on the mend from Strep, I decided to step out and take a walk in the park for the first time since I had gotten sick. I was still immensely weak and had to stop to rest every few minutes. Well, along came a girl of about ten or eleven with someone who was either her older sister or nanny; certainly too young to be her mother. They saw me stop to rest a couple times, and probably noticed my slow step. Anyhow, a couple or minutes after I'd passed them, I heard the little girl running up behind me. I stopped and turned around, "Would you like something to eat?" She asks. Surprised, I thank her but reply that I've already had the chance to have lunch I just wasn't ready to eat yet. With a smile I was on my way. It was only have a minute later, I realized the girl must have thought I was a poor lady faint with starvation. It made me remember how many different assumptions can be made from a simple action. I hadn't thought twice about my situation. The idea that someone could mistake my convalescence for  hunger, never so much as crossed my mind. However, the little girl probably never thought that I could just be someone recovering from an illness. No harm was done, nothing but a good laugh, but the situation was a good illustration of the principle to keep oneself from all appearance of evil. There was nothing wrong in this situation, but there are other situations where one must consider all the possible connotations of one's actions.

  Anyhow, I must end this now very long post.

   We have a new year, friends, a new year to live for Christ and His glory.

 I'd love to hear about any highlights, favorites or firsts from 2015 which any of you can remember.

 As for the direction of the blog for this year. My readers have been unanimous in requesting music history, giveaways, and more about my life. So that is what I'll be doing.

  Let me leave you with one thought which was impressed upon my heart this year.

    If we trust others to follow through with what they promised, if we  trust our employer to pay us for our service; why should we trust God any less, to fulfill His promises, to provide for all our needs, to sanctify us and to carry us through our trials?  We know it, but how many of us really act like we believe it? For example, why should we worry about our lives being wasted if God has promised that He will make all things beautiful in His time? Why should we be concerne that the job we have isn't enough to provide for our needs when God has already said He would provide for His own?
  
  Though we are faithless He remains Faithful for He cannot deny Himself.

   ~ Happy New Year to You  All! ~

On The First Day

  Tonight and tomorrow are days for joy, and peace, I think. So instead of talking, I'm going to listen; instead of writing anything for you to think on, I think I'll just post a few lovely Christmas carols which I think any one of you, no matter your stance on Christmas will enjoy.

So, here goes....


                      


                      

         


                             

I wish you all, Friends, Enemies, Good and Bad alike, A very merry Christmas.

On the Second Day

    Bells give a sound that is very evocative. They are rung at both funerals and weddings. Bells can promote either sadness or joy. They either peel mournfully, or sound merrily.

   One of my favorite Christmas carols, "Ding Dong Merrily on High,"  speaks of the bells which are rung in honor Christ's birth on Christmas day. I don't know if there are anything like bells in heaven, but if there were, the song suggests that they would have rung on that most joyous day, as also the sky was riven with angels singing. The song goes on to say that even so here on earth let the bells be rung and the people sing.  Finally, the writer urges the ringer to ready his chime, and the singer to beautify his rhyme.

   If I am to be frank with you all I must admit I don't have anything else to say to you all today, but as you get ready for Christmas, do enjoy this joyful carol!


Enjoy Christmas eve eve!

On the Third Day

  What is the one thing that makes winter beautiful and fun, good people. The answer is contained in one word: Snow!
   I believe I've mentioned before that Christ was probably not born in the bleak midwinter as the songs tell us, however, I think Winter a fitting metaphor to blend with Christ's birth. The air is cold, the ground is hard; all the world is a slate gray and a drab green, until the snow falls. One, dazzling white flake at a time, the bleak grayness is frosted over. Each misshapen branch is clothed in raiment which makes it beautiful. So too when Christ, falls upon our hearts. All our ugly, bare, misshapen sin, is covered over with His dazzling beauty. So it was also on that normal night, winter or no, in far away Bethlehem. All the world was sighing over the bleakness in which sin held it in an ever downward spiraling orbit, but when the virgin gave birth to a child and laid Him in a feeding trough, it was then that all the bleakness vanished, in the dazzling brightness of the hope of the world. "The people that sat in darkness saw a great light, and the people that dwelt in the shadow of death, upon them a light shone."

  This season, as you are tempted to look out the window and sigh because of the gloominess of it all, remember that the snow has fallen in your heart and taken away the much more frigid bareness within you. Then go make yourself a cup of hot cocoa!

  For those of you who live in the upper united states and have snow, thank God for its beauty and for His even more beautiful gift to mankind as you tromp through the glorious powdery whiteness.

    Friends, all of us have hearts of bleak winter with no snow and no Christmas. Christ sends his righteousness which covers us like a comforting fleece blanket, and one day spring will come when He resurrects us to new life.

   Enjoy this lovely Christmas carol by Christina Rossetti.



                            

       Christmas is almost here. I'd love to hear your thoughts about what you look forward to most about this beautiful holiday.

On The Fourth Day

   To say that the shepherds were frightened at the appearance of the angel is an understatement; they were terrified. I've often wondered what it was like, on that night for the shepherds, but I can be sure of one thing. When that angel first appeared it was heart stopping moment for everyone present.

  It is interesting to note that in the scriptures, whenever angels spoke to men, they had the exact same greeting. "Do not be afraid." Angels are unworldly, fearsome creatures, unlike the "Raphaelite" image most of us have in our heads of beautfiul ladies smiling sweetly and playing softly on harps or lutes. Of course none of us can know for certain until we've seen one ourselves, but from all evidences, it seems that angels and fright go together.

  The word angel literally means, "Messenger." Angels are God's announcers, they carry His dispatches from heaven to earth, and, perhaps, other places. The only other job we see angels performing is that of guarding, such as in Genesis where and angel with a flaming sword came down to guard the way to the tree of life.

  This image of reality definitely clashes with the idea of hearing angels "sweetly singing o'er the plains." However, one thing that is momentous about one particular angel sighting, is that it was the one instance where it seems angels revealed a bit of emotion.

 Read this familiar passage, Luke 2: 8-14, with me.

 "In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;  for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”"

 Though it doesn't explicitly mention, it, the event seems to imply that even the angels were excited about God's redemptive plan coming to fruition. 

  We do know for certain that the Shepherds were pretty excited, they immediately got up, left their sheep, which is a big 'no, no' especially at night, and went out to seek the King of the Jews. 

   The bouncy old carol, "Angels we have heard on High," very well expresses what the Shepherds must have felt, after they had gotten over their fright and the angels had left. 

 In the first verse, the Shepherds express their excitement over hearing angels singing. In the second, a skeptic would like to know exactly what they're rejoicing over, and in the third verse, the Shepherds respond with an invitation to come and see the Christ, the wond'rous child of whom the angels sing.


                            

As we remember the Angel's legendary sally to "certain poor shepherds in fields where they lay," let us, like the shepherds immediately drop what we're doing and seek out our Savior who is Christ the Lord.