Tuesday, September 28, 2010


One of the benefits of commuting every day...God allows me to see the most beautiful of His artwork in the sky. I often see the most gorgeous sunrises in my rear view mirror in the morning, and the amazing sunsets behind me as I head home. I had to stop and capture this one on camera tonight. 
I'm so glad to serve the one living God, the amazing Creator of ALL things. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Randomness in Letters...

Dear Pants, Thank you for fitting more loosely today when I tried you on than you have in the past four years and in previous seasons when I wore you. I am starting to notice those 23lbs that are gone now! Yet another pleasant surprise.

Dear Arkansas, I miss you. Like a lot. I'm homesick for my friends, family, college, and church there. I hope I can visit soon, but that budget thing might be a problem...we'll see.

Dear God, Thank you for that, "aha" moment today. Even though in my mind it didn't really make sense or seem possible before, maybe it really could be. Help me not to worry or overthink, but to give it to you and focus on the big picture right now, one day at a time.

Dear World, Music is a subject requiring instruction as well. When you request special events that occur during the school day to be during specials time so that "instructional time" is not lost...it kind of offends me. I have a college degree (with 201 hours!) and a curriculum to teach too, plus I do 537 common assessments every quarter instead of 30. I admire and am so thankful for the time you spend with one group of students all day and the hard work you put into helping them grow and succeed, as well as dealing with many stresses I don't (grading papers, parents, MAP testing, etc...) So, I will now kindly leave my soap box. I typically take these comments with a grain of salt and know they aren't meant how they sound...but I do firmly believe Music is an important and worthwhile subject as are P.E., Art, Guidance, and Library and have a passion for using interdisciplinary teaching as much as possible!

Dear Sleep, I like you. A lot. We should meet more often and visit longer. Every morning I count the days until Saturday, when I can visit you, uninterrupted by the annoying ring of an alarm clock.

Dear Africa, You are part of my heart forever. And part of my heart is yours. I have faith that one day I will be back to visit the people, culture, and continent that I fell in love with four years ago.

Dear School Year, I really do love teaching. I love that I get to see 537 kids every day and hopefully make a difference in their lives. This year is a challenge, but one day at a time I am facing you, with God's help. He is faithful to renew me each morning and gently shape me into the woman He has created me to be. I have a complete peace and contentment in knowing I am exactly where HE placed me this year. But...will I ever feel prepared or ahead? I feel like I'm barely treading water, every day, and I'm getting tired!

Dear Fall, You are my favorite season, although when Spring comes, I sometimes almost count it a close tie. I love your colored leaves, cool weather, jeans and sweatshirt days, football games (ok, mostly marching bands!), holidays, pumpkin cookies, bread, and coffee creamer (ok pumpkin everything!), and Saturday morning yard sales. I hope you'll settle in soon!

Dear Band and Choir, I miss you too. A lot. I secretly long for the chance to sing a Mozart Requiem in a 100 person ensemble again with hours of practice and amazing voices surrounding me. Sometimes "Down By the Bay" and "Zudio!" just don't cut it, although I enjoy singing those with my kids too. I miss those hot afternoons and early mornings marching around with a ten-ton (ok almost ten-ton) drum strapped on. Those are some of my best memories!

Dear Friend, I'm listening to God, and I know He has plans far better than any I could ever make. I just wish I didn't try to make so many anyway! But you are one of my favorite people ever!

Dear Blog, I really love to write, though I don't claim to be great at it. I promise to think of something else/make time to write about something more meaningful soon. I hope. Maybe I shouldn't promise. Until then, these letters will have to do!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Laffy Taffy...

That's what I feel like.

As I recently spent time reflecting over this year so far, I was amazed at the many ways God has been stretching me. Molding me. Pulling me. And shaping me into just what He wants. He has challenged me. He has allowed me to be shaken and taken out of my comfort zone. He has shown me the need to depend on Him every day. All of these things, more than ever before.

It's challenging. It's uncomfortable.

It's peaceful. It's joyful. I feel content.

But I feel like there is more to come. No, I know there is more to come.

He is writing my story, every day, one page at a time. He is the author...the perfect author.

"...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:6

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


A couple of years ago a friend shared this song with me. A group called Watershed Worship sings it, and he knew it would make me smile. Today I remembered it and decided to see if there was a Youtube video of the song. This just made my heart smile...(I can't seem to get it to post the video directly on my blog, but here is the link!)  :)

"Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of His name; make his praise glorious!
Say to God, 'How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.
Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man's behalf!
He turned the sea into dry land, they passed us through the waters on foot - come let us rejoice in him.
He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations - let not the rebellious rise up against him.
Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard;
He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.
Come and listen, all you who fear God; et me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.
...but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!'" - Psalm 66:1-20

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Standing In Awe...

I think my eyes and mind are often closed to the truth of just what a sacrifice Christ really made when He died on the cross for my sins. 

I can believe it. I can say it. I can think it. But do I really embrace the full story? The meaning? The fact that it wasn't a pleasant event. He DIED. God gave His Son. Jesus humbled himself...to death - ON A CROSS. 

For me. For you. For every single person to the ends of this earth. And when I think about the many millions of people who don't yet have the chance to know or grasp that truth, my urge to go and share only grows deeper. He loved us...even to the point of giving up His life to save us from sin. 

But how can I share the truth if I haven't grasped it myself? I pray for open eyes. I pray for a heart that not only hears, believes, and says the truth, but fully accepts the love our Heavenly Father put forth that day. I pray for a life that LIVES that truth every day. I long to be humbled every time I think of my Savior and His amazing grace.

I am singing this song in worship this Sunday with the praise team. When I watched this video I was awestruck. I felt captured by the reality that Jesus really did humble Himself to death on a cross. I had to turn my eyes away, and I was moved to tears. And I wondered...why shouldn't I be moved every time I think about his captivating love for us? It is hard to watch, but so very real and true...and sometimes I need to be reminded that His sacrifice wasn't "pretty" and the sins He died for are covered and forgiven by His blood. 

Here is a video of the song, "Jesus Died My Soul to Save"

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in Heaven and on Earth and under the Earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father." -Philippians 2:5-11

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not to us (me), but to His name be the glory!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that a friend's mother who writes freelance for a local newspaper asked to interview me about some of my experiences and where God has taken/is taking me on my journey. I was pretty excited today when I found out it was in the paper. It takes up almost the whole back page of the A section in the St. James Press and is really colorful. I feel thankful and humbled that she chose to interview me. Honestly, God is so good, and I pray that I will give Him all credit and glory for the ways He has allowed me to grow and serve. Here is a link inside the picture! :) Thanks to all the encouragement and support many of you have given me over the years or even in recent days and years!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Flood List...

It's hurricane season, which means...lots of rain here!

All this rain made me think of my junior year in college when Katrina hit. I went to a college in Southern Arkansas, only about an hour North of Louisiana. As a result, two things happened. One - our community opened up as a major relief center for many families traveling North to evacuate during/after the hurricane. Two - We got rain. LOTS. of. RAIN.

One Saturday morning (Yes Saturday...morning...as in...the prized day of the week which involved much sleeping in, playing outside, and avoiding all homework and other pressing issues - please note the time of receipt which was 6:38 a.m. on SATURDAY!), I got a phone call from my mother. Sounding a bit frantic, she quickly informed me that it WAS going to RAIN without stopping for days - and to check my e-mail as soon as possible because she had a list of things for me to get at Wal-Mart. (Yes it was so good I saved a copy in my e-mail just in case I ever need it again either for reference during major rain storms, or to send to my children one day!)

So without further ado (Is that how you spell ado? Oh well!) I give you..."The Flood List!"

From: Randy & Kristin [mailto:randyw@fidnet.com]
Sent: Sat 9/24/2005 6:38 AM
To: rockindrummergirl15@hotmail.com; Alicia Whitaker (whi38966)
Subject: Very Important

Our weather coverage shows Katrina heading north, through Louisiana, and hitting La. and Ark. with torrential rains.
Don't get out in super-windy/rainy weather, but if it's not that bad there yet, go to WalMart and use your charge card and get the following:
* 2 strong bags, canvas or whatever, or an extra backpack to put stuff in if you needed to go to the roof.
* ZipLoc gallon size bags - 2 or 3 boxes to bag up super-important items
* 20-30 chocolate/other candy bars, preferably the kind wrapped in plastic
or look for bags of minis and grab 3 or 4 bags
* 2 rolls/packages of clothesline cord, preferably not the metal kind
* 4 or 5 packages of granola bars/snacks wrapped in plastic
* 2 additional flashlights with 2 extra sets of batteries
* 5 or 6 large pool toys, inflatable, if they are available...the tougher skinned, the better...easy to blow up kind--you could link these together with the cord, and make a circle that would hold up 2 or 3 people if necessary, or throw them to someone who needed them, etc.
* Gallon bottles of water if available (or juice drinks in plastic bottles that don't have to be refrigerated...plastic bottles could be emptied and used for flotation devices if you had to) get 6 or 7
* drinks (juicy juice, etc.) in smaller bottles, several packages
* a small fire extinguisher like the kind we have in the kitchen (don't worry about cost) try to get one that says ABC if possible
* candles in jars, and matches
* radio--battery operated, with at least 2 extra sets of batteries

Don't worry about the cost, just get what you can find. Keep the food and candles, etc., in your room in a plastic tub or something, just in case you had to evacuate to somewhere in a hurry.

Did I mention I love my mom LOTS?!  :)  I think I also failed to mention the rain storm actually never happened, (possibly some sprinkles!) and my room mate and I ate well for the next few weeks with all the new snacks and drinks! Maybe this list will help you make it through all the rain this week...or at least give you a good belly laugh to brighten the dreary days! 

Here's a picture from college taken when my mom and dad came to visit on a weekend - at a football game during my marching band days! :) 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grape Stompin' Fun!

Style - either you have it or you don't! :) 

Today was full of fun and memories. You would think, having grown up in this community, I would have the grape stomping down to an art by now. I'm still working on it, although I was a two-time returning champion when I stepped into the barrel today. Unfortunately I have more of a running "loss" record than winning, but that's ok!  My college friend Emily who recently moved to St. Louis came for the weekend just to participate in these famous festivities. She almost won! I wish I could post more pictures, but they take forever to upload, and all that stompin' wore me out! Happy Fall Festival Weekend! :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

I was unpacking some boxes the other day, and I found my "world stuff" box with some things I've collected from around the world and my picture c.d.s. I found this one on my c.d. from Brazil, and I really loved it. These children were precious. And they stole my heart when I was there. In the background is the boat that I called home for 10 days. Our team slept on the top deck in hammocks each night while traveling down the river then stopped on the shore at different villages each day or couple of days and got off to meet the people there. We served through health and dental clinics, VBS, and construction work. Our pastor baptized over ten people! Some new believers were baptized on the very beach where head hunters made sacrifices just fifty years before. We met Indian people groups who had never been visited by a group of outsiders before. I swam in the Amazon (long enough to get a picture and then hop back on the boat!), I walked in a jungle. I went alligator hunting one night...like for real in a little motor boat in the dark with some native Brazilians and a couple team members. (Thank goodness we didn't catch anything!) I saw piranha (from a distance in a bucket!), and I experienced amazing joy and fullness from the Lord as I served each day. I pray I will continue to be filled with the joy and fullness of the Lord...no matter where I'm serving!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Every Vote Helps!

Hi Blog Friends!

This month, Sonic is again sponsoring a contest through Donorschoose.org and Limeades for Learning. Every day you can vote for your favorite project online using your e-mail address. The projects with the most votes receive funding. This year it is easier than ever because rather than collecting stickers and entring codes, you can just log on and vote each day...you can even receive an e-mail reminder to vote!

I have listed a project for my music classroom attempting to receive mallets for our Orff instruments! I have so many wonderful learning experiences I want my students to have this year, and one of them is using our classroom instruments...but we don't have the right mallets to play all of them!

If you have a minute, please go to limeades for learning.com, search by location for Missouri, then Ft. Leonard Wood, and click on "Silence to Success..." my classroom project, to vote! Every vote counts, so even if you can't vote every day, I would really appreciate any help you can offer! Also, pass the word along to your friends if you can...the more votes the better! The contest will go until September 30.

This link should take you there...
Silence to Success - Mallets Make Music!

Thanks so much for your support!