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German Arias

 So, I'm getting classical voice training at the University of Texas Butler School of Music to eventually get a degree in Choral Music Studies.  FIne and dandy.  I love music and singing and teaching others my passions BUTTT do I really have to go through 4 years of nothing but operatic arias??  Why can't I just belt my way through with some Sutton Foster classics??
ALSO, Most of these arias are just sketchy as can be!!
For my last voice jury (a vocal final in which the student sings for the Voice Professors who grade and critic them), I sang "Vergebliches Standchen" by Johannes Brahms a composer of the Romantic Era.

The text by Zuccalmaglio describes a scene between two lovers.  A young man is madly trying to enter a ladies house late at night.  He plays on the cold wind and his "unending" love for her to let him in.  He is unsuccessful, however, as the girl honors her mother's wishes and does not let him enter.
....So basically this kid is trying to get some and gets rejected.
And this is what I go to college to sing.
In German.

Ecclesiastes 7

 In my morning Bible study time today, as I read though Ecclesiastes, I came to this chapter.
"The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly"- Chapter 7
It is full of comparisons of the actions of the wise and those of the foolish.
Most prominent were verses like vs.3 (Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad) and vs. 9 (Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools).
...But the one that got me the most was vs. 10.  Here's a few versions of it:

"Say not, 'Why were the former days better than these?'  For it is not from wisdom that you ask this" - English Standard Version
"Don't always be asking, 'Where are the good old days?'  Wise folks don't ask questions like that"-The Message
"Is isn't wise to ask, 'Why is everything worse than it used to be?'"-Contemporary English Version


This verse is a common pearl of wisdom used in society today...It's not what behind you it's what in front of you or Get over the past and move to the future or Live for today!
To live wisely, choose to live in the present.  See the blessings God has given you and be happy with who you are and what you've got.  They is no sense in living with a longing heart.  Be contempt in your situation, trusting God in all things.  Even if you were in control of your life and could reverse time, you are human and would mess things up.  God's timing is perfect.  God's intentions are always pure.  God's plan is perfect.

Just go with it.  Ride the wave with a smile on your face and stop swimming upstream.  I want to be wise and the wise live with a heart that is contempt.  I will take each day for the beautiful potential that it has.  I will live my life in the moment and not in the memories.
God has blessed me in ways innumerable and I will glorify Him all of my days by taking joy in what HE has given me.

35 Days closer to God

 My church, Hill Country Bible Church UT, puts the congregation through a 35 day challenge each January in which all members are encouraged to give something up for a full 35 days.  It is intended for a person to give up something on which they are dependent, may take too much of their time, or is distracting them from their relationship with God.  Over the 35 days, all sermons, discussions, and Bible studies are geared to leading each member through the journey and to keep them focused on what God is showing them.

I gave up shopping.  Shopping for clothes, school stuff, SHOES, and even most food.  I gave myself money for one cheap meal off campus (luckily dorm cafeterias covered the rest) and that was it.  For a month, I have bought hardly nothing and God has shown me the difference between necessity and pointless wanting.  Along with this challenge, Pastor Denny started a huge push to raise support for Mission of Hope Haiti to meet the spiritual needs of those struggling in the aftermaths of the earthquake that recently struck in Haiti.  Each student was encouraged to raise as much money as possible to finally give something of themselves to others.

It seemed pretty evident how I could give back.  At the start of each  month, I give myself a budget sum of money from my savings to spend either on supplies, food, or clothes.  I saved $30 dollars for the entire month of February and gave the rest of my monthly budget to the efforts for Haiti.  With one week left, I can say I have no money for this week but God provided a way to take away the temptation of spending while giving to others.

Over this 35 Days, God has made it clear to me that I am not in control.  I have also seen that I am very glad I am not.  During the span of 35 days, my grandfather passed away and my mother has discovered/been fighting a malignant pancreatic tumor.  I have been scared, tested, anxious, and totally out of control of so many situations.  However, I feel like my giving was met with the blessing of peace.  I have peace in the knowledge that my grandfather now walks freely in Heaven.  I have peace in trust of God's will through out my mothers life.  

At times I wonder if there is something wrong with me for not being angered or frustrated by these events.  I think that I may be skipping a step but I know without a doubt that things will all be okay.  God has given me comfort and healing in such trials because I am trusting Him with my life.  I do not question why things happen but strive to learn through every situation.  

Through this situation God has taught me this:  He will do a much better job steering me through life than I will.  In more family, He has control.  In my money, He has control.  In my health, He has control.  In my whole life, He has control.
And so, I will happily let Him have just that.  I look forward to every day's opportunities to bring Him glory and live for His name.

Fear of the Fall

The more you give of yourself, the more you have to reclaim when it's all over.
The more you hope in one person, the more you stand a chance of disappointment.
The more of your heart that you put in the hands of another, the more of your soul you may have to put back together.
The fear is all worth it to experience just one day of true love.

"I know it's easy to say
but It's harder to feel
this way
I miss you more than I should
and I thought I could
can't
get my mind off of you.

I know you're scared that I'll soon be over it
thats part of it all.
Part of the beauty of falling in love with you
is the fear you wont fall.

It hasn't felt like this before
It hasn't felt like home
before you."
--The Fear You Won't Fall
Joshua Radin

Give to Haiti. do. it.

 Donate $10 to Mission of Hope Haiti in a hope to renew and transform the hearts of the people of Haiti with the love and hope of Jesus Christ.
THEN tell 10 of your friends to do the same thing.  Those 10 friends will tell 10 of their friends.  And those 10 tell 10 more.
HUGE amounts of money.  HUGE transformation.

Simple. Easy.  All through Facebook.
Click this link and keep the chain going:
www.facebook.com/pages/10-For-Haiti/286337443737

Beauty is an option

Beauty.  Not material, fake tan, bleached teeth, highlighted hair, "beauty",  but real, natural, imperfect beauty.  
Beauty is defined as "a quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind".  Nowhere in that definition is the word "appearance".  
So why does being beautiful have a connection to whether or not someone dresses up nice?  I don't know how the word got to that point, but I choose to reverse history's damage and see beauty as something else.
It is a quality.  A quality of what?  Of ANYTHING.  Any laugh, any passion, any smile, any horizon.  Anything has beauty potential.  Anything that is nurtured and grown and loved will shine with beauty.  Anything that is given antiquate attention and love will find beauty unknown.  
Think about it.  Pregnant women are beautiful because they are nurtured, they have a purpose, they are confident.  Mountains and oceans are beautiful because they were perfectly blue-printed and laid out by our Creator with a purpose of giving us "I love you" presents when we just look outside.  
A flower that is neglected and unfed will become shriveled and ugly.  A flower that is watered and given sun will bloom in beauty.
With all things there is the ugly possibility.  Any situation can go bad.  Any natural park can be destroyed.  
With all things there is the beauty possibility.  Any situation can go well.  Any natural park can be pruned into endless beauty.
The beauty option is a choice.  It is a choice to live in confidence.  A choice to open yourself and shine in your vulnerability and honesty.  A choice to be who you will be before taking into consideration the opinions of others.  
With real beauty there is not pressure to be perfect.  There is not pressure to be the best or to shine the brightest.
There is simply yourself.  Others opinions, looks, actions DO NOT MATTER.  
True beauty does not strive to be more but lives in confident contempt.  
It is raw.  It is real.  It is imperfect.  It is who you are without any forewarnings or barriers.  It is you.

The beauty option is a choice.  It is a choice of confidence and individuality. I choose the beauty option.

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You

 To be alone with You makes me loose it.  To be around You glues on a perma-smile that I can not control.
To be with You is the thing that I dream of.  To be Yours is the dream of my heart.  To have you near me brightens a darkened day.
To have my arm wrapped in yours makes me proud.  

You make my mind go crazy.  You make my heart go into super-speed.  You make me nervous.  You make me want to tell You "I want you".  You make my cheeks get hot and my eyes light up.  You make me want to share my deepest secrets.  Your smile makes me smile.  Your happiness makes me happy.

You are different.  You are fresh and awaken my soul.  You unconsciously make me want to dream even bigger.

You are different and to be with you makes me different.  Different is needed.  Different is wanted.  Different is You.  I want different.

I am the King. I will lead

 Describing a scene near the end of the film Anna and the King:
...When the feast is over and it comes time for the first dance, the king stands and extends his hand to Anna.  He invites her to dance with him.  He fixes his gaze upon her and is distracted by nothing and no one else.  He waits for her response.  She is clearly surprised, past the long table, the king's eyes never stray from hers, a smile playing on his lips.  Others are upset that he has chosen her.  Some watch with contempt, others with pleasure.  It is of no consequence to the king or to Anna.
  Anna came to the ball prepared.  She was beautiful in a striking gown that shimmered like starlight.  She spents hours getting herself ready-her hair, her dresss, her heart.  As they reach the dance floor, Anna expresses her fear of dancing with the King before the eyes of others.  "We wouldn't want to end up in a heap," she says.  His answer to her questioning heart?  "I am King.  I will lead."
  Jesus is extending his hand to you.  He is inviting you to dance with him.. He asks, "May I have this dance...every day of your life?"  His gaze is fixed on you.  He is captivated by your beauty.  He is smiling.  He cares nothing of the opinion of others.  He is standing.  He will lead.  He waits for your response.
  
  My lover spoke and said to me,
  "Arise, my darling,
  my beautiful one, and come with me." (Song 2:10)


From the book Captivating

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money

 Deciding to spend a lot of money really just makes my stomach turn.  I hate to think that every month I pay ridiculous amounts of money just for a decent place to live outside of a dormitory.  Let alone to put down such large amounts of money to just ensure a living space in HOPES that you'll like it and can handle it.
Growing up is scary, too much responsibility, and just down right hard....and I don't wanna really do it!

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decisions

 Decisions are hard.  They are big and important bullies that just love to multiply in stress-producing-ability.
They push out all possibility of relaxation and laziness and just add to the grumpiness of any situation.

Decisions are hard.  When made correctly they add joy.  The bully that fought so hard just to get your decision and an answer fights to defend your choice.  Decisions made right increase happiness, confidence and satisfaction.

Seeming message of life: "Decisions are hard.  Don't mess them up."

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