Monday, July 31, 2006

Flute Lesson

I had my first flute lesson tonight, and I was a little nervous before I got there. However, that didn't last very long. I arrived early and the student ahead of me was finishing up his guitar lesson. This kid must be no older than 10, and he is so good. It turns out his guitar teacher is my flute instructor.

I knew going into the lesson that my teacher would be male because when I signed up for the lessons, the person I was talking to told me what his name was. However, I don't know what I was expecting age-wise; maybe someone in his thirties or forties I guess. That wasn't the case. I think this guy is in his early 20's, not more than 25 I would say (he looks younger than 25 though). That's not a problem though, just wasn't what I was expecting.

Tonight's lesson was the basic beginning type. He told and showed me how to breath properly, how to sit, how to hold the flute - making sure my left elbow is up and out and not down, how to put the flute together correctly which I think I was doing. He also showed me which keys were what notes, from E to E (I knew most of these already from my practicing so far). He showed me how to achieve the higher range notes, as well as the lower range notes, and where they are on the lines of music (which I knew - at least for the basic octave). I think this is all that I can recall offhand. He wrote everything down for me though so that I would have the info. I'm going to keep all my sheets, anything he gives me for practice, in a binder or something to keep it all together. That way I won't be apt to lose it.

I am to practice 15 - 30 mins a day with what he showed me on the flute and next week he said we would start doing some tunes. I am expecting simple songs - probably like Mary Had A Little Lamb or that sort, though he never said anything about this. I don't mind though, because I have to start somewhere right?

Anyway, I'm off to finish working on a chapter that I am contributing to a book that several of the people from Faith Writers is working on. Gotta get it submitted tonight - though tomorrow is probably when I'll get it in. The one in charge said that submitting it a day or so late is fine though. It's not the final submissions, so she said not to worry too much about getting it in late. I've got most of it done though, just hoping to add a little more and do some tweaking first.

Hope you all have a Christ filled day!

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Sound of Music

Ok, it doesn't sound like music yet, but I have been practicing on the flute all week (except yesterday because I was out of the house til late). I am following that book that I got that teaches the notes and what fingers to hold down. I now know the B, A, G, C, F, and E notes. So far the "music" is just a simple one line of several notes that doesn't sound like any song at all type of thing. You know, the practice lines that help you learn which fingers to hold down for the right notes. I'm still rather slow and reading the music, but it is definately improving and my goal is to not stoop to writing the note letter above it in the book.

I also called for flute lessons on Wednesday and set up an appointment to start. I will be going on Monday evenings from 7 til 7:30 (it's only half an hour, but should the student want an hour you can schedule still have to pay for it though, so basically it would be double the cost of the weekly 1/2 hour lesson). The guy that teaches is away until next Thursday and he doesn't do any teaching on Friday's in the summer so that he can go away on the weekends if he desires to. That's ok with me though, but I had originally wanted to go on Fridays. I could probably change the day once the summer is over though, should I choose to do that.

I start on July 31, and the next week is a holiday here so the place is closed. I think I might see if it's possible to book for Tuesday evening that week so that I can get one in. I don't know if he'd give me double the practice work for the two weeks, or if I would just be a normal amount to practice and just do that for the two weeks.

What I mean is if, for example, in one lesson I learned two notes; that week I would practice those two notes and the next week learn two more. So, would he give me four notes to practice instead (since I would be missing a week because of the holiday). I am thinking probably the first one. But like I said, I'm going to see if I can get a class for that Tuesday or Wednesday so that I don't have to miss a week. It all depends on what they have available.

I can't wait to start the lessons - I'm psyched! I just wish it was this Monday I was starting and not next, but I can't do anything about that. I'll practice these few notes though and work on recognizing the notes on sight and not having to pause to figure out what they are first. I also have to practice counting the beat better. That is slowing me down because I am finding it difficult to think 1-2-3-4, and play the note while counting and trying to think of what the next note is. I know, it will come with more practice though. I just wish I could practice a song...just need to find some that have only the notes I know so far lol.

So, I'll leave it here since this has turned into a longer post than I thought it would be. Have a Christ filled day!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Make A Joyful Noise

Yesterday I did something that I have been thinking of doing for the last five or six years. I bought a flute. It's second hand (much cheaper than a new one) and it works fine to the best of my knowledge.

I love flute musice and I especially love when people at church get up and play. That is where I tend to hear most flute music - though I have heard some classical music on the flute and enjoy that too.

I also bought a finger placement chart so that I will know what keys to hold down for each particular note - though to be honest, I am finding it hard to understand. I'll need to ask someone who knows the flute to explin it a bit to me. I think I know how it works, but I'd like to ask for confirmation sake.

I got a book to learn to the notes and all as well. I know the main notes on the staff, but not by sight. I have to stop and figure out what each one is using the Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge saying, as well as the FACE for the ones on the spaces between the lines. I want to learn to read the music by sight better as well (I know, it comes with practice) so that I don't have to write the corresponding letter above each note.

I've practiced last night and tonight (about 45 mins each night), and if I am doing things right, I know which keys to press to get B, A, G and C. I'm still slow, but that is because I'm just learning.

I'm going to call and see if there are music lessons offered in the summer and sign up. If there aren't any, then I'll have to wait until the fall. I hope there are summer lessons. A friend of mine was taking guitar lessons and she was able to take them during the summer, so I hope the flute is offered this time of year as well.

I was also looking on line last night for free sheet music for flutes - preferably Christian (worship and praise, hymns, etc.) music. From my understanding (one of the youth at church plays flute and she told me this) you only use one line of music, unlike where you use two for playing the piano. I don't know then if I could use any music, or any music writen for other instruments or if it has to be specifically for the flute.

So, this is my new learning adventure. Right now it doesn't sound like much - the music that is, but it's a joyful noise in my mind. I want to play for the Lord and glorify Him through music. I guess it's never to late to learn something new. I just wish I had started before now so that I could play right now...but I just need to give it time and I'll soon be playing! I am not musical but that is because I've never really played anything. I know I need lessons because I do bettter when I am under the pressure of having to have something done by the next week, and know that I need to practice for then. If I do it on my own, I tend to procrastinate and stuff...

Hey, I just thought; practice the piano and I'll practice the flute and someday maybe we can play a duet during the offering at church, hehehe!

Hope everyone is having a Christ filled day!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I'm A Director

My friend Kristina and I will be the new directors (I think that is the unofficial title) for our church's mid week kids program. She is really the main one and I am helping her. This is new to both of us and I know that I am apprehensive because I don't know exactly what is involved...

We have gotten together with the lady who was in this spot for the last couple of years, and she had helped us in letting us know who (at least so far) has agreed to be leaders and helpers for the next year. We'll have to contact these people again to make sure they are still going to do this, as well we will probably have to contact new people to see if they can also help.

We are going to have to decide on special events (maybe things like skating, swimming, a fun day, etc.) that we might have. Those aren't all that often though, just two or three times a year I think. Anyway, when the time comes we will have to get these events together.

The other thing is that we are looking into possibly getting a new curriculum. We (as well as the other director) have heard both positive and negative feedback with regard to the one that is in place currently - though the negative feedback seems to be out weighing the positive in my opinion.

I've gone online to look at possibilities, as well, I have some info from one or two companies that have created curriculums (or is that curricula?) from when I attended a weekend Sunday School teacher conference type event last fall. It should give us some idea of what they have though. The only thing is, I'm not sure if any of that would do for a mid week program or not.

Anyway, Kristina and I are going to be getting together to go through all of this. Now, here's where you can hopefully help. Do you have any thoughts/suggestions on a good curriculum for a mid week kids program (ages 2 to grade 5)? Our program has a mix of both churched and non-churched kids, and this is our primary outreach program to kids in this age bracket. Also, what kind of things do your kids programs do? Crafts? Fun events? Plays?

Basically, I am just trying to get an understanding of what works and what doesn't (since all churches and programs are different). Our group has been as large as 45-50 kids I believe, though numbers are usually lower than that...but I could be wrong. Anyway, it's a round idea of what the size is.

Oh, and we are looking into things, this post is just a "c'mon I'm fishing for comments so please respond and give me some ideas as well as boost up the number of comments I get" type of post, hehehe. So, how about it. Got some links or thoughts or ideas or anything?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Another Big Sigh

Well, in regard to my future, I am back at the "I don't know what to do" phase - though I don't think I ever left it. Every time I feel like I'm on track and am heading towards something in particular, another penny gets thrown into the pot and causes ripples on the surface.

I thought I had it figured out what I would do. Then, within the last couple of weeks someone throws an idea my way that is another possibility of what to do. It sounds like a good thing, except it would require me to get a bigger student loan, plus it would be for three years. And on top of that I would need money for rent, etc. because it requires me to move out of province.

I know that God provides for His children's needs. I know that God has a plan for my and in what direction I need to move. But, I do not want to end up owing around $50,000 in student loans when all is said and done. That would mean I would have to pay a good $500-$600 a month on the student loans itself, plus when I finish school I would need to pay rent (I refuse to live with mommy and daddy forever, especially when I reach my 40's, and that's not far off!), need a car and all that other stuff that living in the real world costs.

I hate being in this situation. I mean, I'm glad that the Lord has provided for me in the past, has given me the opportunity to go back to school, etc. I just don't like this not knowing what to do, especially when it comes to the whole student loan issue.

I am praying about this, about what God wants me to do but I'm not hearing anything. I have gotten excited about this second option (which I don't think I could pull off until next year, next January at the earliest), but the whole financial aspect of it hinders me. I can't get any scholarships, because those go to people just out of high school or who have applied for the school earlier on and have excelled in their previous academics (I did ok, but not enough to give me scholarships), and a lot of scholarships and bursaries aren't enough to make a dent into the whole loan issue.

I'm at a point where I have absolutely no idea what I should do. I don't even know anymore if I still want to teach - at least in a public school. I love the Bible and the biblical studies course I took and I love to teach Sunday school to the kids (I'd kind of like to try teaching adults at some time maybe). I just don't know what to do.

I don't hear God's voice. I don't hear what He wants, and I can't sit around too long and just wait because I have to either enroll in school and rake up an even bigger debt load (which could be a struggle to pay off in the end) or find a different job because I can't continue doing data entry (because of my wrists).

I'm trying to be patient, I'm trying to listen for God to speak, I'm trying to do what He wants me to do...but I just don't know what to do next. My heart is feeling very heavy these last few days and I'm trying to give this whole thing to God but I can't seem to let go...

God, help me. Please.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Thoughts From the Patio

It is after nine in the evening, and I am sitting out on the patio with my laptop. A cool breeze wafts past, the leaves of the Little Leaf Lindon tree dancing and waving. A bird, likely a robin, flutters out from the branches, chirping its good-bye as it flys away.

Through the slats of the patio walls, I glimpse the rose arbour with fuschia blossoms in full bloom. Beside it a white hydrangasway. Other colours dot the garden that stretches across the back part of the lot - yellow-orange, red, and lots of green from flowers not yet in bloom.

The sky is still quite light, though off in the distance a touch of pink spreads across the sky in a blush. A few whispy white clouds drift by, and more off in the distance look blue. It will be a little longer before the sky grows dark, but there is still enough light that it doesn't feel as late as it is (though is between nine and nine thirty in the evening really considered late?).

Not too far off in the distance is the highway - the Trans Canada - the cars and big rigs roar past carring their passengers to their destinations unknown. The traffic in the city buzzes around at regular intervals, the din an ever present reminder that there is never really any silence in the city.

God is here. He is here in His creation; He is here in Spirit. As I look around, I am filled with a sense of awe that all of this belongs to Him. The wind does not blow without His permission, the birds do not fly without His help. Beauty was brought about by His very breath, for He spoke all things into being.

I sit here, still on the patio and the blush of pink in the distant sky grows deeper, the sun sets further and further below the horizon and the sky loses much of its light now. The breeze is still blowing, the trees still swaying in the wind. I am filled with peace - peace from the Lord who reigns on high, the Lord of heaven and earth.

Thank you Lord for this day and for the beauty You have created in Your nature. Thank You for Your love, for breathing life into us and calling us to be Your children. Thank You for sending Jesus to die for our sins and to be raised from the dead so that we could be forgiven and given eternal life with You. Amen.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I Am Still Here

I am sorry I haven't been posting much on my blog(s) lately. I just can't seem to come up with something interesting to talk about. I can't even seem to glean something from my Bible readings to post.

Work has been picking up now that people are going off on vacation. For the last couple of weeks we have been working full days (8 hours) instead of around 7 hours each day. An hour doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but it all adds up! And besides, it makes a big difference when your job is sitting behind a computer all day doing data entry...

Three new ladies have been hired at work since I started back. Before I started there were about five who had been hired after the new year. Two of those ladies left - one left because her husband wanted her to stay home with the kids (and they didn't need the money anyway), and the other one just up and stopped coming into work. She never called to tell them she quit or anything like that.

I suspect that two of these ladies recently hired are to replace the two that left, and the other one isn't doing any keying, but only batching (which is just taking the airwaybills and putting them into batches of 50 each - there are things they have to look for and such, so it's not just simplying counting out 50 bills and putting a paperclip on them). I don't think this lady will be working past summer though (she looks young enough to be a student, and they usually hire 2 students each summer to do that work).

My wrists aren't hurting much now that I've found my wrist thingys (I really should learn the name for them) and worn them some. I have also been taking a break from my knitting so I am sure that is helping as well. I do know though that this is a job that I can not do for ever. In fact, I am counting down the days until I'm done this summer because I just can't keep doing this.

Anyway, I'm going to call it an early night tonight because we can go in early in the morning because we are a little behind on the work due to the holiday on Monday and several people being out. I only made it in 15 minutes early this morning, so tomorrow I'd like to make it a little more (not that I want to, but it does help with the pay cheque) than 15 minutes.

Have a Christ filled day!

Saturday, July 01, 2006