24 January, 2005

~ Symphony Date ~

Hubby and I went out for our monthly Symphony date this weekend. We were pleased to hear the following:

Sibelius: Finlandia
Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1
Sibelius: Legends From the Kalevala (aka Lemminkainen Legends)

Our program stated that the Legends are not performed much, at all. I certainly don't remember hearing it before. I have always loved Sibelius' "Finlandia," which contains within it the hymn we all know as "Be Still, My Soul." The French horn section played magnificently this weekend...full, rich, and clear. The bassoons were loud and clear, as well! It's not often that one can hear them so well above the rest of the orchestra. The hymn section was flawless and peaceful, from the flutes and oboes playing of it, to the cellos and violas repeating it.

The first movement of Sibelius' "Legends" contains a most impressive solo by the English Horn player. I don't recall a longer set of solos by one instrument in my years of visiting the symphony live, or in my years of playing flute and bassoon, and a basic study of music appreciation in high school and college.

The third movement is a little lifeless and slow, but the second and fourth are very nice. The Fourth contains a wave of melody that begins with the double basses, moves to the cellos, then flows seamlessly on to the viola section, to the first violin section, to be completed by the rest of the violins in the orchestra...at least, that was the interpretation done by Osmo Vänskä, visiting conductor. It was very impressive, and occured about three times in the fourth movement.

For more on Sibelius, click here: http://inkpot.com/classical/finlandia.html

The Liszt piece was played by 1997 Van Cliburn winner, Jon Nakamatsu, and was beautiful and very smooth. Flashy piano concertos are not Hubby's or my favorite thing, but it was very well-done, and easy to listen to. It brought to my mind memories of trickling streams and large waterfalls, (and this will sound cheesy, but it's true) like that of the Rhine River Falls (Rheinfalls) near Schaffhausen in Northern Switzerland. For an awesome aerial java-script photo, click here: http://www.rheinfall.com/Milan/index-e.html

It is fun to watch the different musicians on the stage. When they are pausing and waiting to play, different ones assume various restful poses. Some of the trumpet players cross their arms and/or hang their heads, looking as if they are napping. Others, like one of the trombonists, who is quite tall and lanky, look very much like a character from a Norman Rockwell painting! Once, we even looked on as the poor bass clarinetest, who had a substantial solo one night last year, grew very pale and had to leave after the piece being played was completed. He was back after intermission to finish playing the last set of the night. What a trooper!

20 January, 2005

*Inauguration Day*

*Rick Wilking /Reuters photo

The Inauguration is a classy, celebratory event, even though this term's Inauguration had more security than most, because of the events of 9/11 and the war in Iraq.

The kids and I watched it pretty much from start to finish. What better history lesson is there than to be able to watch history unfold right before our eyes, in real time. It is a privilege to enjoy a positive moment in history with the children, even with the protestors present on the parade route, since we've shared some difficult historic moments over the last few years.

I enjoy watching and listening to the bands, that are such a major part of the ceremonial atmosphere. Love those Fifes and three-cornered hats!
These are some of my favorite quotes from the President's Inaugural speech.Full text of the President's Inaugural Speech is available here:


"America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way."

"We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right."

"Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth. And our country must abandon all the habits of racism,we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time."

"Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?"

"These questions that judge us also unite us, because Americans of every party and background...those divisions do not define America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart. And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good, and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust encounter justice, and the captives are set free."

"We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills."

19 January, 2005

Renoir's flowers

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful, which God has implanted in the human soul.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

14 January, 2005

* Sunset *

Our backyard at sunset, taken by our son, Jonathan. We've seen some beauties lately!

10 January, 2005

~Tales From Shakespeare~

Currently reading aloud to the kiddos, complete with tea and tea cakes:

Shakespeare's Pericles, Prince of Tyre

Children's version by Charles and Mary Lamb
A.L. Burt, publisher circa 1900

09 January, 2005


I generally enjoy change, since I am fairly easily bored. Maybe that's not a very good trait for a Mom to have. But, at the same time, I tend to lean on the side of a keeping a slower pace. Dh and I like to avoid the tyranny of the urgent and balk at the constant striving (and the resultant tension) of society to over schedule every waking hour. "Purposeful" calm is a good thing.

I do enjoy basic routine, as it keeps the days and weeks flowing, but it also brings mixed feelings in me. Daily chores cycle around and can become rather mundane, so I try to work something beautiful or peaceful into the day. I also try to keep up a good attitude and do ALL things for the Glory of God. That's not always easy!
But back to change...

The newest transitions for our family are within the music ministries. Dd, in Junior High, has a new leader for their all-girl worship team, and it is going very well. The leader is also a home school mom, and is playing keyboard, singing with and mentoring the girls in worship leading. This is great for dd, because it compliments what we've tried to show or teach dd over the years as we've been singing on worship teams, at special events, or just singing with friends. Side note: Hubby plays guitar and mandolin and I do vocals and small percussion. I don't play piano, so the new leader playing keyboard is also a plus for our dd! Ky is most excited that the new leader harmonizes with them, which encourages them to sing stonger, as well.

Our church hired a new staff leader for adult worship, and this change makes me a little anxious. I am excited about the direction the church is going after a very difficult year of transition, and how we will re-group the worship teams, but I'm a little antsy at the same time. It's just about this little interim time of reworking the teams, rehearsal schedule, etc. I know these will be very good changes, it's just the waiting and planning phases, I guess. I'm just ready for it to be "together" and flowing well. In some ways, that doesn't make sense, because routine usually gets old, quick. But routine, in this sense, has been easy to be a part of. Being on a team every other weekend was/is something that doesn't interfere with home schooling, or our family schedule, and we are able to be used of God for our church community with our spiritual gifts, as well. I'm thankful for our leaders, and those who have filled in to lead and sing in the interim.

Hubby and I, like others, will be meeting with our new worship leader and his family within the next week, over food and cappuccino. I hope I can stay focused. I tend not to make a lot of sense when my thoughts are going in many directions at once. I have a lot that comes to mind when new situations arise, A little A.D.D., which is great for creativity and adventure, but if not kept to myself, can easily overwhelm others........

I'm going to try to keep busy, and just keep my mind focused on Philipians 4:6+ "Be anxious for nothing..."

Happy New Year, all!

I'll share more later about the hs road blocks we've been overcoming most recently...the most stubborn in all our years (12-ish) of home schooling, thanks to a time of refocusing on God's direction and will, instead of just trying to "push through."

05 January, 2005

Positive Thoughts for the New Year

Five Votes of Confidence
by Max Lucado
Today is a new day. Hence,

~ I refuse to be shackled by yesterday's failures.

~ What I don't know will no longer be an intimidation-it will be an opportunity.

~ I will not allow people to define my mood, method, image or mission.

~ I will pursue a mission greater than myself by making at least one person happy they saw me.

~ I will have no time for self-pity, gossip, or negativism....from myself or from others.

Philippians 4:8 (Amplified)

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

03 January, 2005

~hand made journals~

These are a few more examples of books I made for Christmas presents. The gold, rose printed one is only half-finished in this picture. I finally got it finished on New Year's Day, a day later than I'd intended! One of the toys I got for Christmas was a large, wooden-base paper cutter from hubby, and that will make my projects come together more quickly. I love this hobby!

Fantastic cup of cappuccino!

Cappuccino and lattes were the surprise hit of our holiday season; a nice bit of hospitality to share at our gatherings with those whom we've known for some time, and also with those who have become important in our lives in the last couple of years. One of our favorite things to do is to fellowship and share time with friends who mean so much to us. Because of hubby's busy school schedules this last semester, teachers' extra holiday time is the perfect time to spend with others.

We had five gatherings with family and friends for Christmas Day, a birthday, and several New Year's gatherings.

We are mindful and grateful for God's blessing of friends in our lives, and enjoyed spending special time with them this past week. We love you, and thank God for you! Have a blessed New Year, all!