Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Remembering. Sorting. Tossing.

Remembering. Sorting. Tossing. That’s what I’m doing today. Today is my “go through my room” day. Not that it’s messy or needs to be cleaned, but I’m ready to sort through everything and get rid of the things I don’t need or use.

Unneeded papers, clothes that don’t fit, and lots of random...stuff. I don’t know what else to call it. It’s just a lot of stuff. Stuff that I don’t want or need. I’m not even sure where all this stuff came from! But, after 22 years in the same room, stuff accumulates.

I’ve lived in the same house and in the same room for my entire life. 22.5 years in this pretty purple room!

When I was in Livermore over spring break, after being here for about a week, the “ah, I’m home” feeling still hadn’t hit me. And it never did. Summer break has been the same way. Still waiting to feel like I’m home.

This is not my home anymore. Yes, I occasionally live here with my parents, but it’s not “home”.

This is not my home anymore.

There’s no anger, bitterness, or resentment within that statement. Just maybe a little sorrow.

There are people I feel at home with. Some of the girls at Moody feel like “home” to me. When I’m with Robert I feel like I’m “home”. Being with Danny, Kendra, Trina, and Viola is “home”. Time with Alicia feels like “home”. Home is not necessarily a place for me right now, but more of a feeling.

It’s been made evident to me in the past few years that Chicago is not my home, either. I will never feel completely at home somewhere other than with God.

This world is not my home. Heaven is my home. God is my eternal home.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. -C.S. Lewis

PS. If you visit my family sometime, you should ask to stay in my room because it’s WAY cooler than my sister's! It’s a Princess Rockstar kind of a room. I'll post a few pictures once I'm done sorting and it's back to it's normal state of organization... :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You lead worship? Then this is for YOU!

**disclaimer: This blog was inspired by Psych, a late night, lots of caffeine, and maybe a little frustration.

Have you ever practiced like this?

To have your congregation respond like this? (Just wait for the end of the clip.)

Because we have. A few different times.

You put in lots of time and effort to be torn apart.'s not fun.

Alicia and I have both taken classes on church music and conflict in church music so we’re writing this blog together! She's studying music at Azusa Pacific University and I'm studying Communications at Moody. We realize that we're just students with limited knowledge and experience, but we are studying and have had some experience. So here we go...

Though it would be nice, the Church is not exempt from the conflicts that come up in the world. And often a significant amount of these problems and criticisms are directed at the music department for an array of reasons. The music is too loud. Too quiet. Too new. Too old. Too planned. Too spontaneous. Too...anything.

Our encouragement for you if you find yourself in the middle of this conflict is to... NOT GIVE UP!! Remember that’s it’s God you’re serving. Now, we’re not saying that if you go to a traditional church that you should bring in electric guitars and drums with the excuse that God will be pleased! Remember your setting and the people you’re facilitating in their worship experience. But also know that you can’t please everyone. It's just not possibly in any area of life. Especially areas where there are so many different personal opinions and beliefs.

We thought we would reminisce for a few moments about a few of our favorite times on stage together...

Alicia: Alicia’s memorable worship leading moment was back in high school. We finished out our senior year in the youth group under not so favorable conditions. Our last Sunday leading for the youth group we ended the set with Blessed Be Your Name. This was a favorite song of the youth group and was a "go to" song. The bridge “You give and take away, You give and take away, my heart will choose to say, ‘Lord blessed be Your name’” stuck out to us that time. We were standing just a few feet apart but we looked at each other and repeated the chorus and bridge. It was a great reminder that all the challenges that we’d been through and all the hard work we put in to be prepared to lead was for a worthy cause. It wasn't in vain.

Andrea: I wrote about singing BarlowGirl’s Psalm 73 and how it impacted me. God used each duet Alicia and I sang to teach me a lesson, to reveal something about Himself to me, or to put words to what I was going through. Although I haven’t always enjoyed the songs we’ve sung, there’s always been a line or a phrase that caught my attention and made me think.

Together: We communicate in a variety of ways. (That's what happens when you've been best friends for like...forever.) On stage when we can’t exactly interrupt everything to have a conversation, it’s mainly through our eyes and body language that our messages to each other are transmitted. We've grown closer to each other through being in a leadership position together. We've learned a lot about working with other people as well as with each other. And all the communicating that has to happen when two people are working together.

It’s been such a wonderful experience for the two of us to lead worship together! Although we’ve both been through times of trials involving church music stuff, we both say that it’s been worth it. We wouldn’t trade any of our experiences, as miserable as a few of them were, for anything. On the flip side, most of our favorite memories at church were created while doing music related things together.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Keep Dreaming, Sweetheart.

I've had some outrageous dreams. I've wanted to be a train engineer. I've wanted to be a fashion designer. I've wanted to be a secret CIA agent. I've wanted to be a rockstar. I've wanted to be an astronaut. I've wanted to be a photographer. I've wanted to be a writer. I've wanted to be a news reporter. I've wanted to rule the word.

Funny, because all of these things are people or leadership oriented. I love people and I love being in charge. That’s just how it’s always been!

Before flying back to California for the summer, my mom and I took and afternoon and went to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The first exhibit we walked through was a space one so we were off to a good start!

My mom and I wandered around the exhibit for about an hour and looked at many different pictures, flight simulators, model space shuttles, and model missiles. As I gazed at the row of shuttles, an older man that had been admiring the exhibit stopped next to me.

This talkative older gentleman informed me that he worked hard to get into NASA’s astronaut program but was disqualified for a few minor things near the end of the course. He told me that he had devoted his entire life to this dream and was so close to reaching it! But he didn’t. He never got to fly into outer space.

He asked what I was studying and my answer surprised him.

“Bible and Communications won’t get you into anything NASA’s doing,” was his response.

“I know. My dreams have changed.”

“Keep dreaming, sweetheart,” was the quiet comment that followed.

It was a bittersweet comment.

I’ll keep dreaming of being an astronaut, but I’ll keep dreaming new dreams, too.

Sometimes reality just sucks.

Not everyone will walk on the moon. Most people won’t. Only a very limited group of men and women will.

My dream of being an astronaut wasn’t exactly a reasonable one. However, I’m still working towards my dream of being a journalist. It’s a more reasonable dream and one I’m willing to fight for and work hard to achieve.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

We're Noisy. Get Over It.

What do you get when a music major is best friends with a communications major? A lot of noise. No doubt.

Sunday morning at church this week was no exception. And neither was the week before...or the three weeks before that one, actually. If you thought we were loud without any help, just wait to see what happens when there are microphones, a piano, and a guitar in our hands. And any amount of caffeine. Watch out, world!

This morning was our last time on stage together until Christmas time. I know it's only 5 months away, but...well, it just seems like a long time.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Patience Required. Officially.

Before I started dating Robert, I was told by a friend that my forgiveness had to be endless and that Robert’s patience had to be unrelenting.

We’re both easy-going and even-tempered people, so I thought it would be no problem whatsoever. I couldn’t require that much patience and Robert couldn’t require too much forgiveness. Right?

I wrong. Apparently I require patience. And a lot of it.

So this one time...

We drove to the San Francisco Airport to pick up two friends and drove their car. I let my anxiety win that evening. I panicked about being too early or late. I panicked about getting lost on the way. I panicked about...everything. And that all happened before the car battery died! We finally made it to the airport and I was so relieved that Danny was taking over the driving. Robert and I sat in the back while Danny drove and Kendra was in the passenger seat. I fell asleep on Robert’s shoulder before we got to the freeway and don’t remember any of the drive home. Apparently they all had a lovely conversation. Without me. But Robert was patient.

Last summer I spent many hours working on my photography portfolio. I retook a few pictures numerous times. And Robert looked over and critiqued the pictures who knows how many times as I was striving to make each one absolutely perfect. I couldn’t find perfection, but found frustration. But Robert was patient.

In December I got sick and almost had my appendix taken out. I couldn’t do a whole lot and was fairly helpless for a few weeks. In between trips to the hospital, I mainly just slept and watched movies. Robert was with me for a lot of that time. And I wasn’t too much fun to be around. I was in a lot of pain with any prescription painkiller to help. But Robert was patient.

I dragged Robert to the 4th of July Parade in Alameda (and now owe him a lifetime supply of lemon bars...ha ha) and we had a hectic morning/afternoon of driving around, taking pictures, babysitting, and chauffeuring the director of the parade. I had a blast! But my responsibility was for Trina and taking pictures. Robert had to keep track of all of us as well as not run over people in the golf cart. But Robert was patient.

And on a more regular basis...

There are numerous days when I can’t decide what to wear and I’m late for things or end up making him wait for me.

Although I can write out my thoughts and feelings quite easily, I can’t always find the courage or accurate words when speaking to describe what’s going on inside my head. We've often sat in silence as I'm frantically searching my brain for the right words.

Generally speaking, I’m not a cuddly person and there are days/moments when I just don’t want to be within 3 feet of anyone. Even Robert. (Physical touch is not my love language.)

And this only scratches the surface of how much patience he’s had with me...

All that said, my initial reaction to the first statement has evolved a little over time...we’re both easy-going (Robert so much more than me), but I do require patience. And a lot of it! Officially.

AND, we (eventually) went to Santa Cruz today! Here are a few pictures...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Alameda 4th of July Parade!

I finally got through all the photos from the parade! Better late than never, right?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Double Birthday - Grandma and Dad!

My Grandma. My grandma’s been the encouragement and compassion that I’ve often needed to keep moving forward. She’s been interested in my dreams and passions for as long as I can remember and has done everything she can to help me achieve my goals and to be apart of them with me.

My Dad. My dad and I have traveled around the world together. Well, he dragged me to Niger, Africa and in return I dragged him along to Nicaragua a few years later! My love for adventure and traveling came from him.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Endings and Beginnings.

It’s the beginning of things ending. Which means new things eventually beginning.

Lots of changes.

Lots of hope.

Lots of smiles.

Lots of tears.

Lots of challenges.

Lots of choices.

Lots of reflection.

Lots of dreams.

Lots of opportunities.

Lots of possibilities.

I’m not anxious. I’m not afraid. I’m not alone.

Psalm 16
(written by David)

1 Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.

2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.

5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful[
b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A little creativity...

...never hurt anyone!

Stationary Making

Flower Arranging

Pottery Painting

Sunday, July 17, 2011

This is where I see You.

God's existence is evident to me in the ocean.

Powerful. Uncontrollable. Fierce.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Did I just join the fraternity?

That was my first though after I was "pinned". Apparently that's not what it means...

The pin lives on my guitar strap whenever I'm back in California.

PS. It's been 1 year since Robert pinned me!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mac n'Cheese, Please!

The three of us had fun making and eating macaroni and cheese today!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Baby, You're A Firework!

Confession: I've listened to way too much Katy Perry this long weekend for the sake of listening to her song "Firework".

I love fireworks. What a wonderful way to celebrate freedom! I personally think freedom, regardless of the type, should
always be celebrated with fireworks.

AND, I got to watch fireworks with Robert. Livermore did not have fireworks this year, so we went to Tracy. Kind of. We were outside of Tracy and could see the whole valley and the multiple firework shows going on. I was so excited and the fireworks were beautiful!

I'm a happy girl! :)