Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Awkward: 101 DTID--Straight A Student

When it comes to any type of class, conference, or concert, I prefer to sit in the front row.


Why?  Well, mainly because my twin sister (the one that wears glasses) doesn't like to be out in the open (if you have seen her, you have my permission to feel special!) and partially because there are less distractions when you are up close (maybe not everyone understands how frustrating it is to be stuck behind someone's tall head).  I once heard someone say, "Straight A Students sit in the front!"  Not like I'm a Straight A Student (well, I guess it depends on what I'm studying), but it works really well to say that when I'm trying to persuade someone to sit in the front with me! 
At one conference we attended, I found that the room the speakers held their session in was packed!  It was so tight in there that standing room only was left.  The workshop was excellent, but the room was rather stuffy and tight.  And we were sitting in the back.

After the session I got to thinking... there must be a way to get into that session and find seats in the front row... hm....  Suddenly I brilliant idea popped into my head!  When we had left the room, we went out the front of the room (where the speakers had their podium) and through a door that led to a stairway.  Since the room was long and narrow, people probably would be coming in at the back of the room.  Not wanting to walk all the way up the aisle to keep from being a distraction, seats would most likely be open at the front of the room.  And that is where I found the perfect loophole (by the way, I love finding loopholes).  My sisters and I would come up the stairs into the front of the room and quietly find a seat because there would certainly be some open ones in the first few rows that no one wanted to come all the way from behind to nab!

Somehow I manged to convince my sisters that my plan was perfect, my idea would work, and we would have stellar seats.

Unfortunately we were slightly late in coming to the session, but that shouldn't interfere with my strategy.  Finding the back stairway, we climbed the flight and approached the door.  Carefully opening it up I pushed it open to see...
...a jam-packed audience.

 And no seats in sight.

So what did we do?

Oh, we just walked all the way down the aisle to the back of the room, pretending like nothing was wrong and that we always entered sessions through the back door.
(Yeah.  Definitely pretending.)

I avoided any eye contact!

 Well, no worries... I mean, I'm sure my next idea of how to get front row seats will work out.  Better luck next time, right?!

 (And now that I shared this story, I'm certain no one will want to sit with me again, despite the fact that I'll try to convince them with that Straight A Student quote!  Well, maybe that's because I just proved that I'm not one...)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Celebrate Today!

And why should you do a think like that?

Because today is a very special day.  In fact, it is so special that I decided to post on my blog about it (and it better be special if I'm going to do that!).

I found out that today, January 17th, is "National Hug A Short Person Day!"

Now how neat is that?!

I was with a group of people at a conference a while back and a certain girl I know came up and starting singing the words to this song (she was never seen again... for some strange reason... okay, I'm kidding!).  (Disclaimer: I am not endorsing Randy Newman, the writer of this song, by posting this video.  I don't know anything about him or the other songs he has written; I just thought this song was kind of funny.)  My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to check out the song when I got home. 

At first I thought the song was poking fun at short people (and unfortunately my humorous side got the better of me when I chucked at some of the lines about the tiny hands, platform shoes, and such), but I found at that the song was actually written to poke fun at people poking fun short at people who are always poked fun at from the people poking fun at the people who are short.

Or something like that.

Anyway, the little guy that sings this sure makes the song!

Just remember to never underestimate us Short People.
Don't ask.
I warned you.

Someone told me I looked like a midget in this picture.  I am certain that the size differences had nothing to do with it.  In fact, the supposed midget look probably was probably from my messy hair...

Some fun quotes for today:

"God only lets things grown until their perfect.  Some of us didn't take as long as others!"

"Sometimes you've just got to hand it to short people... because quite often they can't reach it."

"Oliver Wendell Holmes once attended a meeting in which he was the shortest man present. 'Dr. Holmes,' quipped a friend, 'I should think you'd feel rather small among us big fellows.' 'I do,' retorted Holmes, 'I feel like a dime among a lot of pennies.'"

"And though she be but little, she is fierce."
~William Shakespeare 

And my all-time favorite...
"Dynamite comes in small packages!"

And really... if it were not for us Short People, you all wouldn't feel tall!

"One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much."
 ~Luke 16:10a (ESV)

Honestly, I have had way too much fun with my height (well, when I finally understand that being short was a terrible thing--yes, I did think that when I was younger) and someone once said about me, "Bethany might think she is short, but she sure has a big personality!"  You know, in the end--whether you are short, tall, midget, giant, or in between--it doesn't really matter.  What matters is how you show the love of Jesus to others, bringing them to Christ and living your life for Him.

 And whether you are short or tall, be faithful in the small things and the Lord will bless you with much.  (Sorry, but we really do win in the end!)

And to all my short friends: You are awesome!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Celtic Concerto

In December, I made a special memory of performing the Celtic Concerto with a group of wonderful musicians.  My friend, Janna Bisceglia, had always wanted to play this piece for one of their Whispering Roses Concert.  I was elated when she asked me to play violin in the ensemble!  The Celtic Concerto is such a beautiful piece that is built off of Celtic tunes; with different moods and movements, it was a blast to perform!

 Whispering Roses opened up the first half of the concert with Celtic Christmas music.
(Isn't this chapel gorgeous?)

 Rehearsing the String Quartet.
As if the Celtic Concerto wasn't exciting enough, I was so delighted when they said that they wanted to feature the String Quartet.  I love string quartets and it has always been my dream to play in one!  In fact, I was inspired years ago when I saw a sibling group play as a string quartet and I thought that was so neat that I prayed that the Lord would bless my siblings with a string quartet one day.  Well, God did indeed bless us with a quartet; it's just not a string quartet!  But that is totally fine because I know that what the Lord has given to my siblings and I has far exceeded my expectations!  I wouldn't trade the mixed quartet we have!  (Well, maybe we could add a cello... and a mandolin... and a cajon... ;) )

Playing with these girls--Kathrina, Ashley, and Maren--was so much fun!  I told them that we need to do this again.

Playing the Celtic Concerto.

Our harpist Janna, playing some of her solos.

 Apparently violinists move around way too much to get a clear picture...

The other side of things...
Ross, our saxophone player, somehow eluded the camera...

 The whole ensemble!

All the performers from the concert.

(Thanks to the Bisceglias for some of the pictures.)

Jordan took some videos for me, so I have a little snippet of the concert to share!
The String Quartet.

Excerpts from the Celtic Concert.

And so... I am blessed to have been able to play and am thankful to the Lord for this opportunity!
When are we going to do this again?!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Serious Shoppers

We know how to have fun... especially when we go shopping at the Goodwill--which, of course, is any big family's favorite place to shop!

The shoes section attracts us like a magnet and we always end up trying to find the worst pair of shoes possible.  (I really can't find a good pair of shoes anyway, because the average person doesn't have feet as small as mine!)

After church last week, we had too much fun browsing the always-eyebrow-raising shoe section and couldn't resist taking just a few pictures...

I really like this picture!  It ended up looking really artsy. ;)
 No comment about the extreme height difference.
 Which shoe would you wear?!

I'm wearing Italian Designer shoes, Jordan is wearing something, and Shiloh... what is Shiloh wearing?!

  The tallest shoes I've ever tried on.  And they didn't help after all.
They were also the most uncomfortable shoes I've ever worn.  Within seconds, my feet hurt and I probably would have toppled over if I tried to walk anywhere!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Stand Up and Speak

Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey with the shouts of “Hosanna!  Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord!”  People are throwing their coats in his path, waving palm branches, and declaring Him King with their cries of praise.  It is a joyous event as people outwardly proclaim the Kingship of the Lord with their mouths.  However, not everyone is festive; the Pharisees refuse to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and promptly ask him to rebuke His disciples.  Jesus responds by telling them, “If these are to be silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Even the rocks of the city will not hold their voice in declaring the glory and majesty of the Messiah!  Picture that! 

As Christians, we can learn so much from this tiny passage of Scripture (taken from Luke 19).  Often we forget or neglect to honor and proclaim God with our mouths and yet we have been given an unthinkable gift.  We are saved from our sin through the blood of Jesus Christ; we will spend an eternity worshiping the Lord; no longer are we bound by the chains of sin… but how do we forget to speak of these things to others?  Even the very stones of the pavement will cry out and worship the Lord and yet, it’s easy for us to go about our lives as Closet Christians.

Fear is something that can keep up from speaking out about our faith.  The devil doesn’t want any more people to come to Christ, so he will do anything he can by putting his icy grip of fear around your neck.  We listen to the devil’s lies and feel that we might offend, anger, or even not reach a person if we talk about Christ.  However, usually the exact opposite happens!  I have found that when I do state that I am a Christian to a nonbeliever or share something about my beliefs, I am empowered by the Holy Spirit.  The Lord has commanded us to share our faith with others and He will open the ears and soften the hearts and give the strength; it’s just up to us to speak.  As Matthew 28:19 says, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”

The other day I was listening to some Christian music and was comparing Keith Green with Steven Curtis Chapman.  As a songwriter, I want to listen to lots of music so I can learn how to bring the flow of words to the flow of music.  In my opinion, Steven Curtis Chapman is like a modern day Keith Green.  Both write songs with convicting and joyful lyrics and both sound like quality music from their time.  While listening back and forth between the two of them, I realized that I heard two songs that were very similar in content.  It was from those lyrics that I began to see that this topic is something that every Christian needs to heed.

Consider the similarities (these are just some sections and not the complete songs):

Now think about this, if we really have been given,

The gift of a life that will never end.

And if we have been filled with living hope were gonna overflow,

And if God’s love is burning in our hearts were gonna glow,

There’s just no way to keep it in.
Every corner of creation is a living declaration,

Come join the song we were made to sing.

Wake the neighbors, get the word out

Come on, crank up the music, climb a mountain and shout

This is life weve been given, made to be lived out

So la la la la, live out loud

Live out loud!

~Steven Curtis Chapman, Live Out Loud

Thank You Jesus, for what you're doing for me,

Thank you Jesus, I want the whole world to see,

That you're not just a picture on the wall in my room,

That you're faster than lightning, and you're coming back soon.

Thank you Jesus, for all the good things you do,

Thank you Jesus, I wish they all could know you,

That you're not just a book collecting dust on the shelf,

And if they don't want to read it, you're gonna be back to tell them yourself.

Thank you Jesus, for all the good things you've done,

Thank you Jesus, I really want to tell you Lord,

I'm having so much fun, loving You.

Thank you Jesus, for this here smile on my face,

I really want to shout it to the whole Human Race,

That you're not just this building on the corner where we meet,

They can know You in person, You're a pleasure to meet.

~Keith Green, Thank You, Jesus

Both of these singers proclaim the excitement and overjoy that is bursting from their hearts.  They aren’t a bit afraid to overflow with praise to God and it’s contagious to those who listen to them.

It should be the same with us.  I have found that just jumping out and doing the thing that feels like it might end up in a explosion usually ends up being accepted by those who don’t believe.  Of course this isn’t always the case and I have had many personal attacks from atheist and pro-abortion radicals through a pro-life ministry I work with.  They might call me horrible names for naming the name of Jesus Christ, but what does it matter?  If I stop proclaiming the Truth and that I believe in Jesus, I will give in to cowardliness.  If I shy away from naming the name of Christ, I don’t deserve what I have been given.  If I don’t speak, the rocks will.  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”  Romans 10:14-15

Not only is it fear, but also I think there is a misconception of the presence of God.  Where is He?  The Lord is everywhere.  He is not somewhere "just up in heaven", dislocated from the constant on goings of ours lives.  No, He is right there beside us.  Forgetting that God is omnipresent can bring us into silence regarding Him.  We wouldn't want to live our lives like our best friend is always in the other room, but not right there by our sides, and so should it be with our very Best Friend; He is always by our sides, which gives us all the more reason to be bold as lions.  As it says in Jeremiah 15:3 “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”  This should make us realize that not only is God watching over us, but He is also watching for us to proclaim His goodness.

Going back to Matthew 28:19, the next verse says, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Why should we fear others?  "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  (2 Timothy 1:7)  Why should we slink into the dark corners of cowardliness?  "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf."  (1 Peter 4:16)  We don’t have to do either!  "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..."  (Romans 1:16)    We have a command to speak and our hearts should be overwhelmed with thanksgiving that looking straight into the eyes of a nonbeliever and saying, “I am a Christian” will fill us with power from God.  If the rocks can cry out and proclaim the majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ, then how much more can you?  Stand up and speak!