Saturday, December 21, 2013

San Francisco here I come!

Before the semester ended, I took a trip to San Jose to visit my friends.  I had so much fun with them...and on Saturday they took me to San Francisco.  I haven't been there in 3 years so it was really nice to visit again. 
I just had to get a picture with these faces...
We were headed to Pier 39, and my friend put it into her GPS...well the GPS took us straight to the REAL legit pier...haha!

We had the WORST time trying to find a parking place...we drove for 2 hours around and around the blocks trying to find one.  When we finally DID find one, we were pretty happy...

On the pier, we visited the Krazy Kaps shop...

And saw Alcatraz from a distance...

And took a gazillion photos...

I got this picture taken with one of the silver street performers...he tried to kiss me.  haha
These are some pictures I edited...the first, from our freshman years, the second, our senior year.  Pretty crazy how much time has passed!!!!

Anyway, it was a wonderful visit and I look forward to hopefully doing it again sometime soon!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's cold in Southern CA!

I don't wanna hear anymore nonsense like "Oh, you love California cuz its so warm and sunny...." and "When you come back to Pennsylvania, bring me some beach!" what Southern CA is like right now :)
It snowed a few days ago, but I wasn't able to get a good picture of it on my phone. 
But this morning all of the fountains were frozen over.  :)
I'm completely prepared to go back to Pennsylvania in just 7 days!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Common Ground

Isn't it funny that as humans we like to identify with something or someone else? Very few people in this world enjoy being alone, taking a stand alone, or taking responsibility alone.  In fact, I don't know of anybody who enjoys taking responsibility for their wrong actions...
Three examples I have noticed this to be true are found in Scripture.  In Matthew 16:1-12, I noticed that the Pharisee's and Sadducees (two religious sects who completely disagreed in their beliefs) joined forces against Jesus, tempting Him.  The second (and more poignant) example of this is found in Luke 23...In this example, Jesus is on trial.  After going to a trial with Annas, a trial before Caiaphas, a trial before the Sanhedrin, and a trial before Pilate, Jesus was sent to a trial before Herod  Antipas.  Though neither Herod or Pilate could find anything to condemn Jesus, one of the saddest verses in the passage to me is found in Luke 23:12.  This verse says that "And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves."  How sad to think that Jesus' unfair trial and ultimately His crucifixion, led to these two men having political peace. 
The last example that I noticed was in Acts 9:1-2 where Saul(a Pharisee), was commissioned by Caiaphas, the High Priest (who was a Sadducee) to arrest all of the Christians and to bring them bound to Jerusalem. 
The Pharisees and Sadducee's did not agree on many things.  Yet, they laid aside their many differences in order to see Jesus "caught."  Herod and Pilate had great enmity together...yet they found friendship on the common ground of "washing their hands" of the guilt of Jesus' crucifixion. 
Simply something to think about: be sure you aren't "jumping on the bandwagon" in order to see someone else's demise (as in the case of Saul's persecution of the Christians, and the Pharisee's and Sadducee's joining forces against Jesus), or in order to feel justified in the responsibility you have to take (in the case of Herod and Pilate). 
If you are going to decide to do something, take the full responsibility of that action, AND the results that ensue.  The desire to have someone else to fall back on, or have someone else to blame, is strong.  But the more I've thought on this, the more I'm determined to quelch this desire. 
These are just a few thoughts I've had over the past few days...I'm certain these thoughts don't make complete sense since I just typed them as they came to my mind.
Until later! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Beauty in California

Two Sundays ago, I was able to go to a park in California where I saw greenery!  It may sound funny that I was so excited to see that, but in Lancaster, you see Joshua trees, dust, sand and not much else.  So when we were able to see green grass and a body of was beautiful!  My extension church took me and my two friends Kelsey and Josh to this park for the afternoon and a picnic. 

It was relaxing and beautiful!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving day!  I know I did!  I ate so much...and half-watched football.  My favorite part was when we all wrote down the things we are thankful for and then went around the room reading each other's "thankful" cards.  Some of the kids in the family got into it and filled up their entire card with things they were thankful for!  It was a little convicting to me...I have so many things to be thankful for that I should take the time to thank God for each one.  This trip to the park is just one of the things I was so thankful for. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

 A few things I am thankful for:
#1: I'm thankful for my family and for their support and love.  I think often about who I would be if I had grown up in a different family.  Every time I think this, I am reminded of how much I take for granted.  I need to always be grateful for the loving family that I have.
#2: I am thankful for the gift of music.  I'm thankful to my mom for teaching me piano, and I'm thankful to my two violin teachers for teaching me the basics of violin.  Music is such an integral part of my life and all too often, I take this gift for granted.

#3: I'm thankful for nature.  I'm thankful that God knew what He was doing when he made our earth!  I'm especially thankful for the seasons.  Recently here, the leaves have all been falling, so when I went on a walk the other day, I saw this.  It made me thankful.

#4: I'm so thankful for my nieces and nephew.  They're adorable, they love me, and I miss them so much!  I can't wait to be able to hold them and spoil them again in just 20 days!

#5: I'm so thankful for my extension church, Mountain View Baptist.  I have the privilege of going down to this church every Sunday with a team and I am able to play the piano for all of the services.  I love this group of people and they've already changed my life!

#6: I'm so thankful for my two closest friends in college.  I miss them soo much as they both graduated last year. 

#7: I'm really thankful for the wonderful roommates I have this year!  They are all such a help to me and they always have good attitudes about all the nit-picky things I care about in the room.  They are awesome!

#8: I'm so thankful for all of the music classes I've been able to take with Dr. Z.  I've learned so so much under his teaching.  This is a picture of the Music Theory 4 class last semester.  I learned so much theory in this class and I often felt like I couldn't make it through the class as if was very very difficult.  But I made it through, and I'm definitely experiencing real-life tests in teaching regarding music theory. 

#9: I'm so thankful for my job! I know, McDonalds is not the ideal job, and perhaps not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life, but I have a wonderful crew to work with, wonderful managers who seem to like me.  I am never questioned when I tell them I won't work Wednesdays or Sundays due to church, they respect my dress convictions, and they all are so friendly and kind.  I am so thankful for my job!

#10: I am so thankful for my dear friends Lois and Joyce.  I met them in my sophomore year and they have since been so kind to me!  They invite me over whenever I feel like, allow me to study at their home, take me to Alice's - the best steak and rice place in the world! :) And they are just so sweet.  I'm so thankful!

These are only 10 of the things I am thankful for.  There are SOOOOOOOO many others!  Have a lovely Thanksgiving Day!

Friday, November 22, 2013

A busy, but good week.

There's nothing like getting a late birthday package in the mail from your best friend.  :)  My friend Bekah mailed me a package of goodies for my birthday and she literally wrapped EVERYTHING.  It was fun to open :)

Last weekend, I was able to see my roommate from my sophomore year!  She drove down with her sister for the Saturday.  I had to work, but we were able to go out to Panera for lunch before she dropped me off at work.  It was so nice to spend a few hours with two of my old roommates (Mackenzie and Beth-Anne) and two other friends.  
From L to R, Mackenzie, Kayla, me, Justina and Beth-Anne

And then as a little side-note, I got my first piece of fan-mail!  My piano student made me a card and gave me a snoopy.  :)  It made my day...I absolutely love teaching and being able to influence my students in some small way. :)

Well, I must rush off to work, so until later!

Monday, November 11, 2013

I'm feeling old...

I had such a lovely birthday!  It was one of the best by far.  I went to my extension church and then after the Sunday School and morning services were over, we went over to the Pastor's house and they had birthday decorations up and they made a chocolate ├ęclair cake for me!  It was super good.

Then I got back on campus late, like 8:30 and my roommates were waiting for me with balloons, banners, a party hat and a red velvet cake. 

It was such a surprise, and both parties made my day.  I wasn't expecting anything for my birthday, so it came as a nice surprise :)
I'm officially 22 now....
I've only changed a little bit in 20 years...:)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Future

In this day and age, I find it increasingly more difficult to explain my "plan" for the future.  Now a senior in college, not a week goes by when I'm not asked "What are you going to do when you graduate?" I don't mind this question, as it makes logical sense to think that because I have nearly finished four years of training, I should know what I want to do.  That much is true, I know what I want to do.  I've known what I wanted to do for nearly six years now.  But whose idea was it that because I want to do it, it's what I should do?
In this day and age, it is becoming more and more popular to "follow your dreams" and "become who you want to be."  I know several people who I am friends with on facebook; nearly every day (or so it seems) they post a picture of themselves with the hashtags #lovewhoyouare #beyourself ...and so on. 
I have come to the conclusion that today's young people have been taught the opposite of the truth.  One of the most amazing books I've been reading on this subject is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. 

This segment in particular struck a chord in my own heart, where C.S. Lewis describes God's point of view regarding our lives.

“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self---in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.” 

This way of thinking is directly opposed to the world's view for today's young people.  Today we're being told to "Achieve your goals" "Dream big and your dreams will become reality", "Be who you want to be"- the emphasis is on "Do for yourself what nobody else is going to do for you."

What would happen if we all realized that someone is wanting to take care of your future? That you don't have to do everything all for yourself?

I loved this illustration from C.S. Lewis:

 “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” what am I doing when I plan my entire life out myself? Am I refusing to allow God to build a palace in my life?  I'm settling for the "cottage" that I could potentially build for myself.  God wants more for me.  There is nothing wrong with dreaming big for the future...but when you shut the door on God by saying "This is what I am doing; I am fulfilling my dreams" rather than saying "God, here is my life, in exchange, I want all of You", you are limiting your effectiveness for Christ.  He will not force you to give yourself to Him.  God wants you to surrender to Him so that He can use you.  As for me, my plans are undecided and they will be determined by Someone much more intelligent.

Anyway, all that to say this.  If you ask me what I will be doing after I graduate, I'll smile, shrug my shoulders, and tell you what I tell everyone: "I'm not sure's all up in the air still." :)

Birthday Time!

When I was young I remember being fascinated by the thought that my sister Lydia had a birthday the day before me, but that there was supposedly a two year gap between the time of our births.  I never understood how that could be. 
It's hard to believe that now, Lydia is 24 today and I will be 22.  It seems like not long ago, I was 13 and wishing I could be older!  

So this post is dedicated to Lydia, my twin who was born 2 years before me.  :)

I wish I could be in Pennsylvania for our birthdays, but I'm excited that there are only 39 days left until I'm back in Pennsylvania!
Happy birthday Lydia!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hard Times...

    Who enjoys a challenge that doesn't simply work out...but has to be WORKED out?  Nobody.  at least, not me.  In my piano lesson on Tuesday, my teacher could tell that I have been having a rough week.  He asked me what I was feeling overwhelmed about.  I told him that the figured bass assignment and scale sets (which I CHOSE for myself) were too hard.  I expressed how I think I am unable to accomplish all of it within the next couple of weeks.  I explained that I thought I went in over my head and chose a subject that was too much, too difficult for me to do.  He looked at me and said "Virginia, hand me your Bible.  I want to show you something".
    He took me to Genesis 1 where the Bible says that God created Light and the evening and the morning were the first day.  He said "We usually say "Morning and Evening" but the Bible says Evening and Morning."  My teacher then  went on to explain to me that he believes that a Bible-application could be drawn from the passage.  He explained that the application we can make is that evening (dark) comes BEFORE the morning (light).  Dark symbolizes the dark and down periods in our life, while the light symbolizes when everything is going just as we would have it to go. 
     My piano teacher pointed out that he believes in every area of our life and particularly in our learning development, we must go through that time when we feel lost or we feel as if we are treading water and not getting anywhere.  For me, this is a period of dark.  I feel as if I cannot accomplish everything I am supposed to accomplish and I am stressing over it.  He pointed out to me that he went through the exact same time in his life when he was young and in college.
It isn't just me.  Often, when I get bogged down or am going through a 'dark' period, I feel as if I am the only one going through it.  This is a sign of the pity-party syndrome.  I need to grow up at this point and realize that I am NOT the only one and in fact, there are many others going through the exact thing.
    I thank God that I am at an institution where my teachers can encourage me by using the Bible, not common sense...I'm glad that I can walk away from my piano lessons not only encouraged and ready to tackle the week, but also, meditating on God's Word.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Catching up

My deepest apologies for not posting anything recently!  Life has been...hectic to say the least.  I'm working nearly 25 hours a week now and it seems like projects and classes are getting tough to keep up with!  Midterms were the week before last week, then last week I had four big projects due.  This week I am working every day...things like that.  
The best part is that I was able to work my hours, and still finish everything that needed done. 
This is just an idea of how my schedule looks.   
Thank goodness Saturdays I don't have to work til the afternoon so I have all morning usually to do stuff in the room.  The other week my roommates and I re-arranged our room.  It was fun and refreshing. 

I had to take this picture of Sierra up in the overhead storage spaces.  She's goofy :)

One day 2 weeks ago, I had off work!  So my roommates and I went shopping for a few Christmas things!  We stocked up on Christmas lights, and now my roommates are dying to decorate!  The Grinch in me came out and I am insisting in waiting for a little longer, so that we don't get "tired" of the jolliness of Christmas.  I may end of giving in to their pressure and we might decorate next week.  Or perhaps right between my and Sierra's birthdays.  As a celebration. :)

So that's what has been going on in the past three-ish weeks.  I will try try TRY to keep up more with this blog and posting on it! 
SO until next month- I mean, next time I have a chance to post....;)