Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Going lug nuts

My roommate Meaghan graciously offered to drive me to Wal-mart last night so that I could do my grocery shopping, since my car is officially undrivable. As we made our way down the street here in Winona Lake Meaghan noticed that her car wasn’t driving the way it normally did. She kept saying "I think the alignment is off." Soon after we found ourselves out on the street, peeing our pants from laughing so hard as we stood staring at the flat tire on her car. We literally sat for a good ten minutes laughing hysterically before we took action and called for help. After my big car wreck on Sunday we could really only find humor in the situation.

After several attempts to get a hold of someone, We finally got in touch with our intern buddy, Sadler, who claimed that he knew how to change a tire. When he finally came to the rescue, he took one look at the tire and said: “You know something, I don’t really know all that much about cars. You better get it towed.” It was probably the best plan of action given that the lock on Meaghan’s trunk was frozen and the spare wasn’t really accessible. So there we were Meaghan, Sadler and I sitting in the freezing cold ’93 Corolla trying to decide what to do. Sadler casually pulled out several power bars and an orange (which He tends to store in His pockets . . . you'd have to meet Sadler to understand that him having a store house of food in his jacket pockets is a just another thing that makes Sadler a unique creature:) Sadler began munching away as he patiently waited for Meaghan and I to stop peeing our pants.
When I was able to compose myself I pulled out my CAA card and attempted to order a tow truck. My first call somehow ended up at the AAA in California! They then proceeded to transfer me to the Chicago AAA, who then transferred me to the AAA in Michigan. One would think that the most logical transfer would have been the local AAA in Indiana, but who knows how these crazy Americans work:) Really I felt sorry for the AAA representatives. As I was on the phone I couldn't control my little fits of giggles. They were really so patient with me. I finally lost it altogether and had to hand the phone over to Sadler when the Michigan AAA lady asked me if the car had locking lug nuts. How on earth would a diva know what a lug nut is, let alone know whether or not they lock? !! :) Those AAA people must think I'm one big crazy lug nut:)

Stuckman's towing finally showed up at around 11 and Sadler drove us to Wal-mart so that we could stock up on our groceries since neither of us have a car now. Although under most circumstances car trouble is never amusing, last night was just too funny and really quite a release for me after Sunday’s accident.

Monday, January 29, 2007

My Theme Song

I sat down last night to practice after a rather horrible day . I knew that singing a bit would take my mind off of "the car accident of the week". As I was warming up I noticed a copy of How can I keep from singing? Peering out of the top of my binder. I chose it as as my personal theme song a few years ago. I haven't sung it in a while, but somehow that hymn has always been so relevant to me. Yesterday As I sang the words, I found them to be an amazing affirmation of what I was just praying before my practice session. The events of yesterday and the culminatination of challenges I've been facing have forced me to acknowledge daily, that no matter what challenges are placed before me, there is never a good enough reason to stop offering Him all of my praise and thanksgiving. Really, with a loving gracious God like that How could anyone find a reason to keep from singing?

How Can I Keep From Singing?
(Robert Lowry)
My Life flows on in endless song;
Above earth's lamentation
I hear the near though far off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear His music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul -
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gathers round!
Songs in the night He giveth:
No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to the Rock I'm clinging
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths
since first I learned to love it:
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing:
All things are mine since I am Christ's -
How can I keep from singing?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Beyond the Sunset

The Sunsets here in Winona Lake are absolutely glorious. Everytime I'm at the lodege to witness one, I just can't resist grabbing my camera and running outside to try and capture the magnificence of the gorgeous painting before my eyes. Even with my amateur eye and medeocre camera I have managed to capture some beautiful photos. It's so amazing that each sunset is different. God really is the Master artist!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A new technique

Yesterday I had my first singing lesson with a voice teacher here in Winona Lake. Starting lessons with a new teacher has never been fun for me. Whenever I meet with a new teacher and start approaching my singing using their specific technique it feels as though everything I've learned up till now has been meaningless and useless. It's almost as though I have to toss aside everything I've learned about breathing, placement, sound production, vowel modification etc. and start at the very beginning. Any confidence that I have with respect to my singing is completely stripped away. Yesterday as I starred at the all too familiar vocal anatomy posters that every singing teacher has on their studio wall, attempting with all my might to do the vocalises that Don had given me, I felt like a complete amateur. I found myself questioning why it is that I would ever think that I could sing in the first place. It's so strange to be in this position again after so many years of serious training. The process of integrating a new technique is grueling and will take months of hard work. A lot of squawking, screeching and many frustrations are ahead. Yet I know that if I want to improve, this work needs to be done. I know that if I endure this frustrating work, that in a few months I'll hear changes in my voice. I will come to see how the new technique is helping to override some of the natural tendencies in production that may be hindering me from being the singer that I could be. Even though it feels like this is a step backwards I know that this is a good thing for my singing.

It's interesting that I'd be experiencing the grueling "joy” of learning a new singing technique during this season in Winona Lake. The whole stripping away of all that I find comfortable; experiencing feelings of frustration; feeling useless, and discouraged; and realizing how very amateur I am are happening in all areas of my life lately, not just singing. Since arriving here, I've felt like God is trying to teach me a new “technique”, something that in the end will change me and will help to override many of my natural tendencies that may be hindering me from being all that I could be in Him. As I struggle to endure, the only thing that is keeping me from falling apart here is knowing that everything that God allows is good. No matter what, He promises that He will change us, not just change us but transform us into His likeness. I know that if I follow through and grapple with the challenges in my life right now, that in a few months time, just like with my singing, I will see transformation in my life. Even though it feels like my life is dis- jointed in everyway, I know that this is a good thing for me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is it worth the cost?

"Ever thought the Great Commission is just too great a cost?"
- Jason Upton (Road to Emmaus)
I've been waking up to Jason Upton's Cd Dying Star every morning for the past week and a half, and every time the line in this song comes up I have to stop - Oh how often I have experienced that exact thought, especially lately as I struggle to establish some sort of home here in Winona Lake. It's hard right now not to reflect on all that I have seemingly given up at home to be here working at Cpaf. I'm trying to focus on all of the blessings, but I still find myself wondering if this was worth what in my mind is a bigger sacrifice than I ever thought it would be.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Goose Report - Jan'07

It appears as though Tom, Dick and Harry have returned to their regular attempts of trying to get a glimpse of "the diva" and her comrades here in Winona Lake. Only now they've brought with them a bunch of other peepers . . . . Well at least that's what I thought last night at 2am when I heard the extremely loud chorus of honking outside of my window.

Since returning to Winona Lake after Christmas break I've rarely heard the geese outside my window. There has been the occasional honk, but other than that it's been rather quiet and peaceful. I assumed that the nocturnal nuts finally decided to fly south when they mistakenly thought that I had left Winona Lake for good. Really what would be the point in staying here if the Canadian diva was not around? :) I should have known better!! It appears as though those geese went out and told all of their Canadian friends that I was here and now there are thousands of them clamoring over one another trying to get my attention so that I will open up my curtains and make a rare appearance. . . . . .

When I opened the kitchen blinds this morning I was thinking that I may be wrong about the peepers. It appears as though the lake froze over last night and in a panic the entire goose community of Indiana has migrated to the canal in front of our house - (which is where my bedroom faces). Soo all that honking was them crying, "oh no what are we going to do? The lake is frozen!!!!"

(this is Winona Lake - mostly frozen)

I went out this morning before work and there were literally 200 or so Canadian Geese on our front lawn jumping in and out of the canal, which appeared to be steaming hot.
And as I approached, one amongst the gaggle saw that I was standing there and told the others. It was hilarious, all 200 of them started honking and flew out to the middle of the lake. What a sight! More so what a sound!! It was the loudest goose honking chorus that I had ever heard!!! And it got louder as they made their way to the centre of the lake. The echo was so loud that I'm sure that the entire state of Indiana heard them!! (I'm hoping that none of my neighbours discover that I was the one out there taunting them:)

Oh those Geese!! Trying to act all innocent like that. Pretending to be afraid of me. Meanwhile they were dying inside cause I was so close. I bet they gathered in the centre of Winona Lake after flying off like that and excitedly said things like "Did you see her?" and "oooo she's more radiant than I ever could have imagined!"

They don't know that I'm on to them and their sneaky little ploys to see "the Diva". I bet that they somehow arranged to have the lake freeze over like that so that I'd think that they are innocent. . . nice try Tom, Dick and Harry - nice try!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Fam

Tonight we took our family photo. This year we all wore cheesy polar fleece sweatshirts in an array of different colours (Jen's idea). Of course the best shot leaves me caught yet again with my mouth hanging wide open.
I think we actually look pretty fun.
Oh how I love my family!!


From the Inside Out
(Joel Houston - Hillsong United -United We Stand)

A thousand times I've failed, still Your mercy remains
Should I stumble again still I'm caught in Your grace.

Everlasting - Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending- Your glory goes beyond all things
and the cry of my heart is to bring you praise
from the inside out my soul cries out

Your will above all else, my purpose remains
the art of losing myself in bringing You praise.

Everlasting- Your light will shine when all else fades.
Never ending - Your glory goes beyond all things

In my heart and my soul I give you control
consume me from the inside out.
Let justice and praise become my embrace
to love you from the inside out.

Everlasting- Your light will shine when all else fades.
Never ending - Your glory goes beyond all things
and the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
from the inside out oh my soul cries out.


My time at home has been wonderful! So wonderful that there’s a huge part of me that does not want to go back to Winona Lake. I’ve been struggling with this all week long. In my mind I can acknowledge that Winona Lake is where the Lord wants me to be at this season in my life, but my heart seriously doesn't want anything to do with this part of the plan that God has for my life. If I’m honest with myself I don't care that He has brought me there to draw me closer to Him; I don't care that He will use this time to reveal Himself to me in amazing ways; I don't care that He will change and refine me by stripping me of all that I know; and I don't care that as a result of going I will experience many incredible glimpses of His glory – Almost every ounce of me wants to stay here; I so want to just return to my cozy little life with my family and friends in Toronto, Canada; and forget about the whole Christian Performing Artists' Fellowship, Indiana, USA thing and be done with it.

When I chose to do this internship and as I waited in faith for the work visa never did I imagine that I would be feeling this way now. I have been experiencing such an inner struggle this week and I seriously have been left to wonder about the authenticity of my heart. I am so utterly aware of my selfish nature right now. I hate it, yet I can't seem to help the way I feel. Shouldn't I be excited about going back? Shouldn't I be thankful for this amazing opportunity to be a part of His work? Yet I desperately want to give it all up for the sake of my own comfort.

The way I'm feeling inside reminds me of the simple science lessons from elementary school involving magnets. When you'd put two “like” poles together (i.e two S poles or two N poles) the tension of repulsion would occur. When you'd put two opposite poles together (i.e. a N pole with a S pole) the stability of attraction would occur. Simple. Right now I feel as though God is inviting me to align my heart with His by simply placing the pole before Him that would create attraction to all that He has to offer, yet for stupid selfish reasons I keep trying to align my heart by placing the pole before Him that is causing repulsion from it all.

As I lay in bed last night tossing and turning and calling out to God to take away this major repulsion, He showed me exactly why this is a struggle for me. This tendency towards repulsion is nothing new, it all comes down to me not wanting to give up control of my life to Him. I was so clearly reminded of a dream that I had almost exactly a year ago, involving computer files and a manila envelope. The dream was so powerful that I even wrote a blog entry about it.
That darn manila envelope keeps coming up!! He is waiting to reveal the amazing things that He has in store for me in His timing, yet I’d rather choose stupid fleeting computer files that I have already opened because I already know what’s in them.

And so all I can do is pray that by going back to Indiana my heart will somehow be changed; That the strong repulsion I have towards giving up control of my life to the Lord will slowly turn into a strong magnetic attraction to all that is waiting for me in His Manila envelope.