Towards the end of each year, I like spending some time thinking about the past 12 months and setting some goals for the next 12. (I do a similar thing around my birthday.) Since I use Google calendar to keep track of my brain, recalling past events is much easier (and more accurate) these days. As I clicked through the months, I was surprised at how many things I had already forgotten or relegated to some other year. Here are a few highlights from 2010:
- Visiting Japan
Eating sushi in Japan had been a longtime dream of mine, and I finally got the chance this past spring (and yes, it was delicious). Even better than the sushi was the chance to tour and perform with the UW Wind Ensemble and interact with hundreds of Japanese students throughout the country. Definitely a highlight not just of the year, but of my entire grad school experience.
- Reconnecting with old friends
I’m not the greatest in terms of keeping in touch with people (though Facebook has helped). Despite my failings, this year I got together with a lot of old classmates and friends through a combination of trips, conferences, and random sightings. It’s interesting to see how peoples’ lives change, yet also encouraging to renew friendships despite years and distance.
- Buying a house
Definitely didn’t see this coming, but it’s true: I’ve owned a home for pretty close to a year now. I still laugh if I think about it long enough, because it doesn’t seem possible. (Except when I have to mow the lawn. Then I know it’s true.)
- Finishing school (for good, I think)
kind ofa nerd; and I have always liked school. That being said — since finishing at UW in June, I have not for once wished I were still a student. Even more amazing is that I get to do what I studied and love it.
- Musical firsts
They ranged from totally unexpected (conducting a handbell choir — no, I don’t play handbells), strange (teaching lessons via Skype), and long-overdue (first Nutcracker performance).
As I reviewed this past year, I was reminded of Psalm 111:4: “He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;the LORD is gracious and merciful.” One of the greatest benefits of reflecting on the past is that it reminds me of God’s character: His goodness, and His mercy, and His faithfulness from year to year. What a reassuring and exciting way to ring in 2011!
December 28, 2010 2 Comments
Some snapshots from a great Christmas weekend!
December 26, 2010 No Comments
‘Tis the season of traditions.
My family has a few: Christmas Eve candlelight service, an attempt at a family picture by the tree, a large midday meal, a slow gift-opening process (Mom insists we write a thank-you after each one).
I enjoy traditions — the anticipation, the regularity, the memories. Though nothing’s wrong with taking pleasure in the act of carrying out traditions, we rob ourselves of their intended purpose if we stop there. The traditions we value most go beyond sentimental ritual — they remind us of what we treasure in the past, present, and future.
So tonight during my church’s candlelight service, I will delight in the sound of voices and strings lifting up familiar carols — and contemplate the day when all God’s people will join in perfect praise.
Tomorrow as my family fails several times before getting a decent photo and later sits down for a Christmas meal, I will tease the person who ALWAYS has his eyes closed and savor the delicious food — and thank God for His continual blessings of home and family.
And as we make our way through this year’s pile of gifts, I will enjoy seeing what everyone receives — and remember that my greatest gift, salvation, was bought with blood and will last forever.
May our traditions this Christmas flow from recognition of our true Treasure — Christ Jesus, our Emmanuel.
December 24, 2010 No Comments
Last night was one for the memory books as, with the help of several family members and friends, my hugely awkward and heavy harp trunk successfully slid into a borrowed Suburban in preparation for a concert tour this weekend. (The trunk strongly resembles a coffin, so I can only imagine what the neighbors were thinking.)
For the rest of the night, the same thought kept running through my head: Wow, I am blessed with the most amazing friends. I also spent some time recounting some of my favorite “good-times-with-friends” memories, some of which hadn’t crossed my mind for years. It made me miss many of you but also renewed my thankfulness for your presence in my life.
Just a few of the memories for which I am grateful (no names to preserve privacy — you know who you are):
- Seeing my blue and pink cabinets and ugly carpet disappear thanks to the expertise of talented and generous friends
- Receiving many encouraging cards and phone calls during a period of health difficulties in college
- Participating in a group effort to order sushi off an all-Japanese menu in Kyoto, and enjoying the surprisingly successful and delicious result
- Crossing the border late at night with two harps and luggage stuffed in a friend’s trunk
- Getting to play the piano for my childhood best friend’s wedding
- Watching and rewatching the priest scene in Princess Bride and laughing so hard we cried (obviously, late at night)
- Having a friend show up to make sure I was still alive after my Skype connection with my parents failed, I didn’t think to call them back, and they sort of panicked…whoops…
- Pushing harps down Bloor Street in the snow
- Roaming the streets of Leavenworth trying to find a copy machine past 7pm (FAIL, though we learned the post office doubled as a saloon after-hours)
- Enjoying Thursday night Starbucks Bible study with the girls
- Enjoying mid-morning Sunday Second Cup coffee between service and Sunday school
- Trying to stay awake during New Year’s Eve Pride and Prejudice marathons
- Eating a surprise American Thanksgiving dinner in Canada after a friend listened to me bemoan my missing the holiday back home
- Forming late-night impromptu jam sessions with fellow musician friends during summer camp (both as camper and faculty)
- Meeting up with college friends in unexpected places (from California to Israel!)
Thank you, thank you to everyone I am privileged to count as a friend. Grace and peace to you all!
December 15, 2010 No Comments