Saturday, April 28, 2012

Middle School Music Festival

Today we took our middle schoolers up to the Taichung campus for our annual music festival. Our version of it was nowhere near what I've witnessed back at my alma mater, but I love what we do nonetheless. All 3 of our system campuses combine music groups and put on a concert. For choir this meant 65 students squeezed onto five levels of risers. The volume instantaneously improved from my usual fare of shy singers (although I do not have a small choir), which distracted me from focusing on other things that needed improvement. I was just thinking, "Wow! They are actually loud! This is great!"

The concert was also great -- while I messed up in my conducting, everyone else did fabulous, and I was so proud. Plus it was good to hear a band again. I miss that sound--as much of a strings person that I am--band always captivates me in a different way. I really miss instrumental. Still haven't found my niche with choral yet. Sigh.

As much time as it takes, I do enjoy going on trips like these with my students. Like the 5th grade field trip, I got to see my kids outside of my classroom, and observe them a little more in this different environment. Today I realized that the less self-conscious one is in interacting with middle schoolers, the less awkward it will be. I admit I haven't gotten there yet. Maybe after I grow a few more years on me and put a little more distance in age between me and them, it will get better.

But I've also found that it's slightly easier to achieve this un-self-consciousness with boy students than girl students. Perhaps it is because the boys are either so self-conscious themselves one takes pity on them (I have a few of those, it is terribly cute, the awkward way they hold themselves as they sing), or their silliness makes it easy to forget oneself, as the attention goes to them. 

Before dinner one of our biggest middle school boys came to ask us teachers a question, and he bent over nearly halfway to hear my reply. When he realized this, he laughed and said "Sorry," as if he felt it was patronizing. But in my heart I was glad, for the heart attitude that he carried was not one of indifference or carelessness, but of actually caring about another person, what they had to say, and their feelings. If all of our students come out with hearts as this, our efforts would not be wasted.

Enough philosophizing.

Photo credit*
Another thing I realized today is that Taiwan actually has a lot of mountains. I've been missing Colorado and her beautiful Rockies for a long time now, but seeing the blue ridges in the distance as we hurtled up the highway on our tour-sized bus gave me a small sense of comfort this morning.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Photo credit*
In a couple days B and I will be marking our one-year anniversary of engagement. Both of us know very well that we went against the "norm" of engagement length, and even more so with the majority of it being spent through long-distance. In the beginning of our relationship one of the things I feared the most was long-distance--I had seen its negative effects on many and I did not want to go through that myself. But it's funny, because once God sets you on a path made especially for you, there's no turning back. As much as I may have wanted to turn back and go the easier route, I have gained certain insights that I would not have, were it not for the way things have been.

Bible study this week was about the marriage supper of the Lamb. We went through a few specifics of Jewish wedding tradition, and what struck me the most was the correlation from earthly marriage to our heavenly one. But as far as marriage goes, what comes before is the inevitable time of preparation and anticipation.

The Christian life on earth is a lot like LDR. We are expectantly hoping for our Bridegroom's return, knowing He is gone to "prepare a place" for us. Yet this time of waiting is not without its challenges and pitfalls. The bride's primary focus is to purify herself--making herself ready for the Groom. What does this mean? "By washing of the water of the Word." We long for direct communication with an invisible God--we must soak ourselves in what He has penned for us throughout the ages. Pray them back to Him. If we forget these lines of communication, our hearts will grow weak, just like any relationship without real, loving communication will grow faint and lifeless. I write this more for myself than anything.

As much as I am excited for my actual earthly wedding day, so much more am I looking forward to that day when we can see Jesus in all His splendid beauty, face-to-face. Cannot wait!!! :)

I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say
You’re beautiful

I see Your power in the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars
It’s all proclaiming who You are
You’re beautiful, You're beautiful

I see you there hanging on a tree
You bled and then you died and then you rose again for me
Now you are sitting on Your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home
You’re beautiful, you're beautiful

When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing
You’re beautiful, You're beautiful, You're beautiful

Beautiful||Phil Wickham

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Between the Streetlamps

*photo credit

Sweet breezes whisper in pentatonic tones
Bewitching the night with half-hidden chimes
Like the message replaying, shadows in my heart
So elusive, yet so captivating.
The wind
Is different in this place.
Tonight it groans with the earth
Under creation's wordless burden
Or perhaps I only hear it
Between the street lamps.

Melodies haunt me
Recalling memories of old loves, evoked
Now by strangers' fingers, on stranger keys
And darkness blurs
As of unwelled emotion
Drawing a misty veil
Before the lamps,
As every one a stone's throw
Yet so dim;
Each calling for a clutching of that which is in hand
Before I reach the end
Light --
Stay burning on, and bring me home.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pineapple Fields

I came back from Taipei this week and discovered something delightful had happened as I was away.

The pineapples are growing!

Here is a whole field of them, right across from our school.

They are just so cute.
They must have taken away the black coverings last week, because I believe it takes a long time for pineapples to grow--they don't pop up over night. I was told once as a child that pineapple plants take 7 years to produce fruit. I just looked it up and while I don't think it should take THAT long (I was lied to!), it does take a few years for a plant (or the crown of a pineapple) to produce fruit, and half a year for the pineapples to ripen.

That's a long time.

Makes me wonder how little I appreciate the process of things when I'm so used to getting what I want NOW...or immediate results. But contrary to what the commercial world will tell you, fast and easy is not always the best way.

Sometimes I feel like a pineapple plant.

So funny story about taking these pictures...

I had just finished working out with my workout buddy, and decided to wheel Little Red (my scooter) back toward school to snap a few pics. I hear a familiar voice talking on the phone and I turn around and see my principal across the street, walking home from school. I quickly turn around and mind my own business, hoping he won't recognize me. But he does and calls out my name. "Are you okay? You didn't crash or anything, did you?"
I turned around and tried to hide my awkwardness of how funny I must have looked--bright blue helmet, oversized sunglasses, windbreaker and exercise shorts, with camera in hand--as I quickly assured him I was fine.
As he passed by he said something that my brain processed as "Aren't they so CUTE?" And I said "Yes I know!" And turned around again to take the pictures of the cute pineapples.

Even though it doesn't seem like something he would say.... I hope that is what he said.

 I pass by this fishing pond every day. Today it looked especially tranquil.

And in the distance, a pagoda and some billowing clouds. I assure you, it looked much cooler in real life. :)

It's definitely summer weather here. I sweated so much today.

Happy weekend to you all! May your pineapples be Timely in fruition, no matter how long they may take. :)

Monday, April 9, 2012


I'm kind of at a point of realizing that this blog may or may not take on a degree of vulnerability, especially where I am right now.

It feels kind of like wading in water; but instead of wading, it's chest-deep and you're trying to run to your destination. Legs feel like lead against the resistant forces; time lengthens to unbearable periods; you're doing everything you can to beat whatever it is you're going against. Running on dry ground never seemed easier. Well, it isn't dry ground here in these parts.

But He never said it would be easy. In fact, the reward goes to those who overcome. And one cannot be an overcomer unless there are things to overcome.

So, may the victory be ours.