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Friday, June 10, 2016

To renew or not that is a really good question

I've had a website since 2005. In the first 10 years, the website served as an online resume for people to see my accomplishments, listen to some of my music, and look at pictures of me to assess whether or not I would be a good candidate to teach their children or sing with an orchestra. Today, I was reminded that my website has expired and since I have not updated the site for the past two years, what is the point of maintaining something that costs me a lot of money and saddens me from its lack of content? I actually received more joy from the blog on my site and that as we can see is a free medium. Here I am spilling out my innermost thoughts in hopes that I can be of comedic relief to someone out there who wonders if there is anyone else out there with as many years of experience and training writing at 12:58 a.m. Friday morning. I suppose the decision to keep the website boils down to the impracticality of spending a few hundred dollars so that anyone in the world can look and see that I have legitimate creds. My main accomplishment lately has been playing and singing hymns from the hymnal. Not many people can say that they can take four verses of "He Leadeth Me" and make them unique and soul enriching as I can. This is a real gift folks. Especially now that so many churches are doing away with hymnals and replacing them with words and chords on a sheet of paper or in the bigger churches, the Jumbotron. So, it boils down to how necessary is this website idea? A part of me is crying for the years when I had many concerts to list. If I listed my "gigs" now they would consist of memorial services, bar mitzvahs, and Chorister #7 up on the Civic Theatre Stage. I guess I answered my own question...

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Walking

No matter where you go, you have to walk. You can drive a car, ride a bike, or take the bus or trolley/subway. But in order for you to get to where you have to go, you have to get out and walk. While in New York and Boston, I noticed how much walking actually has to take place in order to get around. Driving is ridiculous since parking is a premium in both cities and the mass transit is economical and gets you where you have to go in a more efficient and timely manner. I read somewhere that the human body was designed to walk for long periods of time and that sitting or lounging is really what has caused so many back and neck problems. It makes perfectly logical sense and I admit to feeling much better physically and emotionally after I have walked a few miles each day. I've had an unusual amount of time recently to contemplate about my summer activities and also plan ahead for my upcoming year of work. I have spent many hours reading books, articles, and talking with complete strangers. I have observed how many people have a routine of sorts in which they accomplish tasks of the day. There are also articles about successful people who have morning routines. I suppose its time to get one of those instead of basing my routine on when my cat pounces on my head to wake me up!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The East Coast Experience, Part 1

This has been the week of vacation! Monday I went to Disney California for the first time and I had the greatest time! I told myself that no matter what, I was going to enjoy myself and just refuse to get caught up in negative attitudes, or unforeseen circumstances. I witnessed melt downs on the tram even before people got in the park and I started to think how people really takes their chances when they are traveling with kids. You also have to carry around a stroller packed with a crazy amount of snacks, water, diapers, a change of clothes etc. Do those people really have fun? Well, if they do they win the award for most patient and positive parent. Wednesday I tried to leave San Diego in a timely fashion to get to NYC. No such luck...my flight was delayed for four hours and I missed an opportunity to travel into the city at night. It seems that it is tropical storm/hurricane season on the East Coast. Its such a strange phenomenon when you think that it is summertime yet here are these flash floods, lightning strikes, and gusting winds. People here seem to take it all in stride. They whip out their umbrellas, they jump the puddles, and they run to their destinations with an eager determination. I have had the joy of walking in the rain and also getting drenched in less than 24 hours. Nothing is going to stop me from enjoying my vacation/conference. I came here to enjoy, learn, experience, rejuvenate, and walk away inspired for the rest of the year. Spending time with people, going places, reading books, listening to speakers, going to concerts, journaling, sipping tea and coffee, and eating wonderful food. This is what this experience is for me and for it all I am thankful to be alive and grateful that I can take this time in my life to just enjoy!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Are you a good listener?

Today, I start my morning with a cup full of Intelligentsia coffee, various journals, a Bible, highlighters, a pen, and my heart. I have what some would say is a "weeping heart." If I see a stray animal on the street I will think for a few minutes about that animal and hope beyond all hope that it has a home. I will also worry that it might be hit by an oncoming car and then I start to think of it lying on the side of the road in pain. Then I start to weep inside. That is me when it comes to people. I care beyond what is probably healthy and I encourage beyond what any cheerleader could possibly cheer for. When I call you friend, I am your friend for life. Not just a temporary fix during a summer program, or a temporary friend till someone better or smarter comes along. I never received the memo for levels of friendship or friends on sale. I am there if you are poor, rich, famous, sick, healthy, or successful. I wish people would know that about me and really embrace that. I have always been a good listener,faithful, loyal, compassionate, sarcastic, and humorous friend. I am such a good listener that more often than not, I will spend time focusing on the other person so much, that I will leave with the feeling that I didn't really say much about my life and share the burdens of my heart. I will not have shared that I am partaking in three Bible studies and that each one is impacting my character in a major way. I will not have shared that I am wondering if I really have any close friends since I only talk to them once a year. I also will not have shared that I am praying to God each day for a family of my own and that I am depending on God alone to help shape me into the woman that would be a good wife and mother. I also will not have had the chance to share that sometimes I realize that I really am alone. God is here, and I'm grateful for His presence, but according to the world, I am a loner. Its not that I don't enjoy solitude, but I notice it more when I have spent time with someone and then as I walk away it hits me that, "wow, I don't do this very often." I love people. I enjoy hearing about their funny moments. I enjoy hearing their random revelations when they were shopping in Target. I love sharing laughter with them. I am just not so sure how they always feel about me. This has been my way of life for my entire life and some days, I really don't mind. Lately, I do mind. Mostly because I have more space and time that is free. I have time to really think and not be burdened with the day's obstacles. I have freedom that is unusual and with that freedom is a certain unrest. Yesterday, I was reading from a wonderful devotional entitled, "If We Could Have Coffee..." by Holley Gerth. Its a great way to start the morning because it feels as though you are having coffee and chatting with a person who is really invested in your life. One of the best quotes that I read that really penetrated my heart was "There's one thing no other person in the world can do better than you, and that's simply being you...You are made in the image of God, and there's a part of who he is that only shows up in this world through you." Wow! Those words define my entire life. I have always wanted to be special and made to feel that way by my family and friends. To know that God feels that way about me is certainly more than I could have asked for! I don't want to walk around with an empty cup hoping that people will throw some spare change my way. I want a quality investment. The time I spend with God each morning is making me realize that in order to have any lasting, meaningful relationships, I have to get right with Him first. My first relationship of great importance is with Jesus. How I pray, meditate, praise,listen and cry out to Him is more important than any best friend this world affords. Listening and waiting have been my greatest challenges these past few weeks. So, am I really a good friend? Am I being the type of friend to others that I want to be towards me? Am I really a good listener? What is God trying to teach me at this very moment? I believe I can live a Limitless Life. I believe that the labels that have defined me, are just that, labels. I can rip them off and replace them with others. Or, I can just be the unique masterpiece that God created me to be.#earstohear

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Let it Go

Today's sermon topic was "Let it Go" by Pastor Kevin Nguyen from Saddleback Irvine. (He preached at all of the services today instead of Pastor Rick)I volunteer each week to moderate the chat session as the sermon is being played via video feed. Today, I decided to watch during the 11 a.m. hour and lo and behold the moderator that is normally on the schedule needed a sub. I listened, typed up sermon notes, and answered questions for 2 1/2 hours. Its very enjoyable to interact with people all over the United States and also around the world. The Good News is available to people 24/7 via online sermons, videos, and social media. If you are connected to the internet, you can connect to a wealth of resources. That is why I am so thankful to Saddleback Online Campus for all of the great sermons I have listened to over the past year. I am instantly reminded that God loves me and loves you too! This weekend, I had two days filled with rehearsals, lessons, a wedding, and a performance. I thrive with that great amount of pressure, but I also run around with an anxious heart and racing thoughts as to how I will accomplish everything in a timely, orderly, and professional manner. I had my small group pray for me, I prayed for me, and then I just let it go. There comes a time when you have to trust and have faith that everything will get done and that a successful outcome will take place. Today, I am thinking of decisions I made and wondering if I made the right choice. In the sermon, Pastor Nguyen made 3 points: 1. We must let go of our comfort zones 2.Cultures and Traditions 3. Relationships We clear out space so that we can receive blessings. In return God blesses us with: A New Destination B. A New Family C. A New Legacy God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the lives of others. God blesses you so that you can bless others.#frompurposelesstopurposeful I have to trust that when God closes one door, another will open and that even though I must leave some good things behind, there will be a greater abundance on the other side of the next door. When I think that my words don't have much weight to them or that I am too damaged to be much good for God's purposes, I am reminded that I can let it go and take a step of faith that God will bless me when I run to Him with full belief that He is more than anything here on Earth. Nothing is more important than serving God!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Last night before I went to bed, I decided to Google my father's name and see if I could find where he was located. I found a few similar names and then I found one in El Paso, TX. I wasn't sure if it was him or not, so I decided to reach out to one of my cousins through Facebook. She answered me today and gave me the phone number to my last living uncle in Canada. I called him today and found out the inevitable: my father passed away two years ago in Texas. As I talked to my 85 year old uncle and aunt, I realized that these people were the only ones who extended a Christian hand of help and fellowship to my father. They originally wanted to have him live with them in Canada but since he was ill, he was forced to go and live with my older half brother, Javier. For the past 15 years, my father lived in a nursing home. I never sent a letter, or called or visited him. Excuses...I could give them, but as an adult, is there really a good excuse for not getting in touch with your father? We are called to honor our father and mother and even if we have a past history of unresolved issues, they are still the parents that God chose for us. Today, I am grieving...mostly because I failed. I failed to have the courage to step up and make a simple phone call. I failed to answer a letter that was sent to me many, many years ago. Am I ashamed? Yes, I am. So, today when many are celebrating and rejoicing, I am crying real tears of sorrow for a person who gave me life. A man who was very simple to many but a man who did the best he could with the little resources that he had. I only have memories of him during my childhood and today and every day when I think of him, I will choose to remember him as a man who believed that music was important in the lives of his children. A man who just wanted to have people love and accept him.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Diamond in the rough

Today was a typical Saturday of teaching. People showed up, we talked, they played or sang, and then I bid them adieu. My friend Mark texted me to find out where I was located so that he could drop off money that he owed me. I went and waited for him in my car with the windows down, enjoying the breeze of the afternoon. He drives up and we start chatting and I realize during the conversation that I had him figured out all wrong. I've known him since my Chamber Singers days when I attended Southwestern College. He hung out with some people that were typical college kids and I really thought that he was similar to them. Boy, was I wrong. This guy is actually someone who cares about his family and spends time with his grandparents every chance he gets. He enjoys working with kids and relates to them in a manner that others could not. He has always had a goofy sense of humor although recently in talking with him, it turns out that he is not conceited and has always been a considerate, sentimental guy who loves people. When I played and sang at his wedding two months ago, I was moved to tears at the stories during the ceremony that were shared by his friends and relatives. Its amazing to me how much I learn about people during weddings and memorial services. When people share their stories, I think, "this is someone I would have liked to get to know and chat with." Mark shared a little about his faith and my jaw hit the pavement when he told me that he was a believer and had been baptized. He shared stories of his teaching and we laughed at the kids reactions of him. I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time and it was really good to be able to spend time catching up on each other's lives. I am grateful for this day in so many ways. I feel blessed that God opened my eyes to see the true colors of a person that is serving not only the children of City Heights, but is also serving the kingdom of God. Some of the greatest treasures are right in front of us and if we spend time and look past the obvious, we can find a diamond in the rough that is priceless!