Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Year in Review--2013 Part 2

Because I couldn't fit everything into one blog post, I broke up my year review into two parts.  Check back here if you missed Part 1.

Last post I wrote the top5 Spiritual Lessons I learned in 2013, so this post I will be sharing the top 5 Physical Lessons I learned.

1) Always have faith; don't ever loose hope.

2) 4:00am was the record bedtime this year.  Although there is something so wonderful about late nights, 4:00am is just a little too late/early.  My sister told me that I looked "half crazed" at that hour.  ;)

3) Never get in the way of a moving chicken coop.  You will get run over by it's force before you even realize what happened.  Trust me.

4) Don't ever tell anyone if you can swim down to the bottom of a 12-foot deep pool.  If you do, you will be constantly asked to retried anyone's personal items that were carelessly dropped into the pool.  While you're at it, don't ever try diving at an angle.  Okay, if you insist, don't blame me for the sore feet that slipped on the side of the pool and now feel blistered.

5) We couldn't live without those Violin Callouses on your fingertips, but they sure can drive a person crazy!

And just as a side note... I found out that if you play a joke on a group of people, they might just try throwing you out of the room.  In fact, I was told, "Cast out the prankster and the pranks will cease!"  However, they did not succeed in catapulting me out of the room.  ;)

July

Being that we love swimming, we started the little kids on lessons and us older ones on laps.  Shiloh and I went through our training and teach swimming (we still have to get our certification).
 I'm most likely telling this little guy to "tuck his chin and blow me some bubbles"!
Oh, and that weird scar on my shoulder was the remains of a nasty bicycle accident Eden got me into.  I came very close to breaking my collarbone (by God's grace I didn't!) and my shoulder was so messed up I couldn't play violin for quite a while (not to mention the road-burn I had in multiple places).

A highlight of the Summer was visiting a Civil War reenactment with come special friends.
Kathrina and I are trying very hard not to cook in the hot sun.  ;)

 "Directing" my team in the sport I am terrible at... volleyball.
(What can I say?  It's not a short person's game.)

 That awkward moment when you're the only one smiling for the picture...

After hosting a concert for the Winton family, us girls enjoy time with the Pelster sisters.

August

Impromptu dancing... a very normal activity in our house!

I wrote and directed a short movie (for a video contest that we entered) called, Him and Her.
Stepping back into the 50's... 
(This was before we started filming, so it was probably about 9:00pm.)

Jordan played our grandpa and I played our grandma.

Filming wrapped up at midnight.  That's how we roll!

We were thrilled and humbled to find that... by the God's grace, our movie won Grand Prize!!!  Wow!  We were so excited when we found out and could hardly believe it.  We won a 7 day trip to Florida which I am booking right now.

I have always wanted to try a viola out and I finally got to do that this Summer!  Do you think that viola can get a little bigger???

Possibly one of my favorite pictures from the Summer.

Trying out an electric violin... Truly a neat looking instrument!

Family bonfire!  These were special evenings where we talked, shared, prayed, and sang together around the flames.
(Oh, doesn't this bring back memories of the time I played that prank on everybody!  But that's a story for another time. ;) )

September

 We all went out to see Kirk Cameron's movie, "Unstoppable".

When you have the whole movie theater to yourself...

I can't remember exactly when this picture was taken, but I had to post it!

 We co-hosted a homeschooling picnic where we were in charge of putting together games.  The three legged race was a hit!

The four brave girls that did a sack race together.  And those tall girls found that they really don't have an advantage; I won this race!  ;)
 
 A late Summer dance.
(Dancing barefoot on the lawn is fun, but it does bring out your sloppy footwork!)

October

 "Serious" shoppers...
If you can believe it, the clerk announced to the entire store that those boots looked so "cute" on me.  My thoughts?  They look like shoes you would wear on the moon (not like I've ever been there before).

The best weekend in October was when we attending the Family Economics Conference and caught up with lots of good friends.

Eden and I enjoyed seeing Grace and Madi A.

Meeting the S. sisters was a blast!  We had such a fun time together.

Our "Polar Plunge" that finished off an awesome weekend!
I had been looking forward to swimming in the ocean for months in advance and felt so good to fulfill my dream.
(Yes, many people--more than less--thought we were crazy.)

Closing Conference Party.

 We closed October with a fantastic concert by the Josties.

November

Jordan placed with the top eight competitors at the 2013 National Bible Bee.  We were so proud of him!

At least some of us are expressive...  ;)

Girl Time!

A very fun Thanksgiving with the S. Family.

December

A big highlight for me was playing the Celtic Concerto with a group of wonderful musicians.  (Yes, I haven't got around to doing a post on that--but I will!)  I had a blast and the music was so beautiful.  I also fulfilled my dream of playing in a String Quartet during that same concert.  String Quartets are the best.  I can't wait till the next time I can play in one.

The whole Celtic Concerto group.

 The chapel that we performed in was lovely and the acoustics were wonderful.

Rehearsing the String Quartet.

 December is always a busy month of music, Christmas parties, and events, but we were excited to close to close the year off with a visit from some very special friends.

 The girls photobomb the guy's picture!


Wonderful memories to close a great year.


If you are reading this, it means you are still awake and I didn't bore you to sleep.  Congratulations!

 As we prepare to set out on a new year--closing this chapter of our lives and opening the next--let us remember to keep Christ as our center.  Without Him our lives are meaningless, worthless, and useless.  Our focus must be on the Lord!  With Him guiding our lives, we will be blessed and have true success.  Although we will have our hardships, God will be right there by our sides, leading us along.  I heard a sermon the other day and the pastor challenged everyone to search out the things of God more this year.  He said, "If you seek Him this year, you will find out things you didn't know about Him."  Let that be our main goal this next year: to seek the Lord and dig deeper into His Word as we are searching for hidden treasure.  

"I have one desire now - to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it."  
~Elisabeth Elliot

 "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
~Isaiah 40:31

"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."
~Ecclesiastes  3:11

May the Lord bless each and everyone of you in 2014.  

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Year in Review--2013 Part 1

When the year comes to a close, I like to sit back and reflect on all the things the Lord blessed me with, the lessons I learned (both Spiritual and physical), and the many wonderful memories I made.
 Just to forewarn you, I'm going to write this post as if I am talking with you; I'm going to share and reminisce the moments that made up this year, so it might not be very systematic.  If you find this post to be a little "here and there and everywhere", just realize that I already warned you.  ;) 
 And I also should add that it will be a rather long post because it's really not feasible to stuff my family in a small description.  ;)  However, I will put it into two parts so that you will have a chance to breath half way through...

I will start with the Top Five Spiritual lessons in Part 1 and save the physical lessons in Part 2.

1) God is always in control.  Even when you feel like life is falling down around your ears, unbelievable things are happening, and nothing is ever going to be the same again, He is there... working behind the scenes with His hand of mercy upon you.

2) It is amazing how the Lord orchestrates things!  Time and time again I was so surprised to see God open doors that I would never expect to open right in front of my very nose!

3) Sin destroys.  It rips families apart, crushes relationships, and leaves painful wounds that may never heal.  I have been deeply grieved to see many people turn from The Way and fall due to sin rooted in their hearts.  Check yourself.  Our hearts are desperately wicked so that we don't even know what is in them (Jeremiah 17:9)

4) God has given us the power to do what is right, we are the ones that must choose between right and wrong.  When you make the wrong choices, repent and ask the Lord (and who you may have wronged) for forgiveness.  And I'm speaking from experience (thank the Lord for His mercy!).

5) Friendship is so sweet.  Be thankful for the people that you can call friends.  I have been so blessed by some certain friends that come to mind and how they have impacted my life.  On the coattails of this, realize that God brings amazing people across our lives and each person you meet is a Divine appointment.  Sometimes it's to help them, sometimes it's to help us.  You can learn something from anyone, but we must be humble and teachable.

January

I started the year off with a few lessons from my other violin teacher (oh!  How did I do that to my hair?!).  She is a Scottish Fiddler as well as a Classical violinist that has a lot of training in Baroque interpretations.  Because I was competing in a concerto competition with a Bach violin concerto (no, not the best competition choice, but it was all I had ready at the time!), I took a few lessons to really get the Baroque style down.

Three days before the competition, the back problems that I had been having for about a year totally climaxed and left me almost unable to stand up.  It was insane!  I will never forget what it feels like to try whip through a Bach concerto that sounds terrible because you are only focusing on standing up!  After my brother told me that I was sounding really bad (that's always great to hear three days before you have to perform), I hobbled off saying that I could barely stand up... my siblings were kind enough to offer the services of a wheelchair they don't have (no thank you!).  Thankfully I was able to get squeezed in at the chiropractor's office and praise God, I could stand without having too much pain by the day of the competition.  He is so good!
Jordan and I afterwards.  I do remember that it was very cold that day...

 Shiloh and I are Glock Girls!

 It was a huge blessing to go from this...

 ...To this!
The Lord blessed our family with a "new" van.  Because it was a Federal Detention van, there were bars on the windows and a heavy metal divider between the driver and passengers/criminals.  Before Jordan redid the van, we had fun putting together a video about... well, why don't you just watch it here!

And just as a side note, quiet moments on one of our car rides is rather rare...

Sharpshooters!  (Well, sorta.)
I love how we all have two rifles.  ;)

Helping this guy get a bull's eye.

February

I took over Directing for our World Changing Production movies!
 This was probably taken at 10:00pm when we started filming.  ;)  No, you don't get to see the picture of us wiped out at midnight when we finished!
This was such a fun movie to write and make: Terrific Results


Jordan won a concerto competition and played with the Jewish Community Orchestra.
This picture is Shiloh and Jordan after the rehearsal, while Eden and I...

 ...Are home alone and getting ready to have some treats...
(And the sign in the back is asking if it has a Kingdom purpose.  Yes, it does.  We are having sister bonding time!)

Jordan played a fantastic concert!

Quick!  Everyone is dressed nice and at the same place and the same time... Get a family picture!  (The story our of lives...)

This boy just melts my heart.

We took a family mini vacation up to Seattle Children's hospital to have Judah's heart checked.
Apparently this is the expression I make when I try to convince people that I'm not married...

Judah with one of the many test and heart monitors he had/has to have.
 Praise God, his heart is doing very well!  He also celebrated his One Year Anniversary of his heart surgery.  We are all so grateful for the Lord's care and protection over Judah.

While on the hospital grounds (Seattle Children's is a spectacular hospital!), we had fun hanging out and trying to look artsy.  ;)

Ballet pose!

 Spending time with special friends!

This is how we watch livestreams from the various conferences across America.

March

 Random picture after filming an audition.

Jordan played Saint-Sean's Piano Concerto No. 2 and I accompanied him on the other grand.  We had such a wonderful time doing this competition together and it was the first time I had an adrenaline rush before a competition (due to the fact of a not so good stage hand).  What do you do in a case like that?  Keep smiling.  Your audience will never know.
 I was so glad to have an excuse to practice piano again!  And I was totally thrilled when the Director of Piano Performance (at the university were the competition was held) asked me if my brother and I did piano duets "all the time"!

Jordan wins the Oregon Symphony's Wiscarson Competition!!!
(And we still need to film that piece...  I won't forget!)

 Playing Celtic prelude music with our Choir Director.

The highlight of our choir performance was getting to sing a trio with my sisters.

Enjoying the company of friends at a party after our closing choir concert.

The life of an Extrovert is awesome!

 Impromptu singing with friends.

April 

We officially name our sibling quartet: One Accord.  And we got to play our first big gig!
 Mic check.  (Yes, I look guilty..)

One Accord!
 
Irish Ceili Dancing!
The dance events are the events that our family will not miss.

The event of the year is the annual Christian Heritage Conference.


Singing in the chorale is the highlight of the conference!

 At the conference I got to meet my special friend, Madi A. in person!  It has been such a blessing getting to know her.

It was great meeting Susi K. as well, who I have enjoyed being "email pals" with.

May

Out on the town with Judah.

Maybe May was a slower month?  Naw, we were just too busy to take pictures!

June

Hiking seemed to be the theme of June and boy did we see some spectacular sights!
 Siblings at Beacon Rock.
(The best part about this picture is the illusion that my hands are much bigger than they really are.)

Eden and I braving the waters of Lake Oswego!

A massive tree that we saw on our hike through the Lake O territory.
(By the way, this was when I found out that hiking in flip-flops isn't the best idea, but climbing trees barefoot is.  However, I managed to make it through the whole way without stepping on poison oak.  Just kidding!  There wasn't any.)

Do Not Disturb!


Part 2 will be coming before the year is out!  (In our house that means 11:59 at night...)