Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gathering together

I live in a town that is home to a small Christian college. Every Sunday night there is a chapel/church service for the students. I'm not a student, but I go anyway along with several other friends from Bible study. I really enjoy it. It's a bit of a unique experience for me because it is held in a small cathedral-like church and the service is rather traditional. My college services that I went to were very contemporary and modern...the culture here is different. And I appreciate the differences in experience very much.

Anyway. In addition to teaching there is also a time of singing and praying that is led by students mostly who sing and play instruments. Singing in church or gatherings has been kind of a confusing thing for me lately. Sometimes I feel that I'm being performed to instead of led in singing. Sometimes I feel that more emphasis is placed on the singing than on anything else. That's really not what this post is about, I just felt like getting it off my chest. But back to what this long winded post is really about...

The last couple of weeks the selection of songs we sang happened to be songs that really ministered to me lyric wise. And I have to be honest, the people who lead the singing and playing of the songs are very talented people. But no one was trying to be the one was upstaging was simply a chance to worship through song. The music is beautiful. In the midst of all my anxiety about corporate song worship these last few weeks have been opportunities to step back and revel in the chance to come together with others who love Christ and sing to him. I think of how He created music...and the chance to come together and sing to Him is's so right. I guess it struck me in a way that it hasn't ever before that this is what it was for to begin praise Him. So even more lovely than the sounds of the music is the chance to view people using it for its intended purpose: to sing praises and glory to God. In fact, it didn't matter whether I knew the song or even thought the song itself was beautiful...seeing the music be used the way it was always intended to be made it all seem like the most beautiful music I'd ever heard. This doesn't just happen to me while singing in a group or a church. And I'm grateful for that experience because worshiping through song is usually difficult for me because I don't know if it's meant more for my entertainment or more for God's praise. Tonight while listening to the the sounds of all our voices singing to Him, I thought about how in the Bible it says around the throne the angels will be saying, "holy, holy, holy is the Lord God" and thinking of the day that all those throughout history together with the angels will in unison sing and cry praises to God. It just was a glimpse this week...someday we will see that though.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

It doesn't get much better than this...

Friends, this is where being a live-in-auntie gets fun(ner). Cause not much can top winding down by snuggling a little baby, can it?

On Making

I made a New Year resolution. It was to make at least one thing a week for the year of 2014. Small or big...the goal was just to be creative. I've already failed in a big way! I haven't done very much. I've started some stuff but haven't finished. And the burst of creative energy and enthusiasm that I was hoping for...yeah, still don't have it.

And I'm okay with that. Mostly. It's relieving to be able to not make things if I find it more stressful than fulfilling. It also makes me feel guilty too. In school I would just push through feelings of unmotivation and complete assignments. In school I also had a community to bounce ideas off of and share work with. I think that is part of it. Not having people to share art making with makes it lonely. And even though I've been here for about 7 months now, I'm still new and figuring things out. I am trying not to be lonely. I'm trying to get out there and do new things and meet new people.

However, even though I haven't made a lot of stuff personally, I did teach a two week ceramics class in January and am lined up to teach another next month. I really liked teaching! It's a little scary, but so fun to share something you care about with other people. Like I said, sharing art with a community is inspiring and helps me want to make. I want to teach more as opportunities present themselves. Also, I have lots of ideas planned out in my sketchbook and have pinned tons of ideas on Pinterest of things I would like to learn, try, and make. It's funny, teaching that class made me more inspired to make pots and other art. Probably because I felt a bit of that community again. :)

I suppose the real thing I'm trying to say right now is that I see myself in a place right now where it's hard to make art or craft. It's easy to feel like a failure. I finished art school and haven't done anything to speak of since then. But I am trying to think more long-term. I got hugely burnt out by the time I graduated. I've gone through a lot of changes...I am sure I have changed in some ways. I think I need this time to learn other things and have new experiences. And I'll count any little thing as an effort toward living a creative life. Even if it's just making and decorating cupcakes for my the ones pictured above. :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Happy 2014 and Winter

It's been a long time. A lot has happened. The new baby niece is here. I've been sick off and on for a long time now. I'm told it is the result of working with kids.

This has been the snowiest winter of my life. Hello, Michigan. I must say that it has not been the worst experience. I can't help but think looking at all the tons of snow we have that it's amazing that each snowflake is different.* And I tried ice skating for the second time in my life. It was as painful as I remember it being, but I'm feeling a bit stubborn and kind of want to figure it out.

With the new year I have some new goals. None of which I've started working toward. That's typical, right? I guess having the new baby come and being sick a lot has set me back. But each day is a new beginning and a chance to start again.

*I began to get skeptical of the idea that no two snowflakes are identical after all the snow we have been getting. I mean, with as much snow as is still out there on the ground and all the snow we get almost every day, how much possibility is there for variety? So I did a little resesarch, and while it can't be proven that nowhere, ever have there never been two identical snowflakes, it has been proven that it would be so hard to find identical ones that it's safe to say they're all different. Whoa! That's the kind of amazing God we serve. One who can create endless shapes for little frozen water that can make each person unique and's quite miraculous when you stop to think about it.