Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Receive Grace

I won't lie.
The last few weeks back have not been easy. It seems like everywhere I turn there are things around me that drag me down. People complaining about the weather, or about their classes. Often times I hear language I've never heard up until going to a university, and the adjectives they choose are quite ... deplorable.
My health has already been rapidly declining at the beginning of the semester. Though having only seven classes and working close to 20 hours a week, it is seeming nearly impossible (I have high respect for anyone who works and is a full time student!). Sleep is often interrupted and rarely has it been the amount that my body requires for it to function.  Mom will often tell us that when we don't get enough sleep or our health isn't the greatest, that's when everything can look its bleakest.
I write multiple pages in my journal at night in order to stay sane. If I wasn't a music major, I'd be an English major. I'm getting a minor in it, however. There is no way this girl could do a double major. :) (Wait, how does that fit in? Of yes, I was speaking of writing...)
[Believe God's word and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your Rock is Christ, and it is not the Rock which ebbs and flows, but your sea. --Samuel Rutherford]

This hasn't been the first time I've dealt with all this. Maybe it's life as a college student? Or maybe it's not, and God has to get me up to speed with the rest of mankind in maturity? Maybe I'll never know.

A year ago these things were even more acutely felt or faced, and I remember telling a friend while trying not to choke up that I wasn't sure if I'd make it. She gently advised me to be sure to spend time in God's Word, even if it meant listening to via audio on the way to school and back. Letting our minds and hearts absorb Truth has a way of cleansing, sanctifying, and strengthening who we are in Christ, who we are mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

And it's true. I love those last few verses in Jude. They are like an anchor to a ship that is being tossed about by the storms of life.

"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. ...Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joyTo the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."

While on the phone with my sister over lunch today, we were wrapping up our conversation as I had a music theory class to go to (got my first test back: a 93!) and she simply said, "Take the grace that God has given to you for today."

Take grace.

That means the same thing as receiving grace. Just in the same way as someone offers you hand lotion after blurbing out loud that your hands are dry and you have none, or gives you a birthday gift, or comes into your office and hands you a cup of coffee awith a blueberry scone, or sends you $20 in the mail "just because." Someone has offered something, and you are the given the choice to either refuse it or receive it.

My friends, receive grace from the Giver of grace in whatever situation you find yourself in. He promises to give it to us.

"Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work." 2 Thessalonians 2:16 and 17

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lunch British Style

Going through my pictures earlier this week, I came across a picture my sister took of when she and I went out to Fish 'n Chips shortly after I got back home mid-December.
We confessed to our waitress that we loved all things British, and then she brought out several clean sheets of the paper that they use to line their plates with (the newspaper-ish paper you see in the background) and a decorative Union Jack flag. We were obviously delighted. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tea Scenes

When I was home over Christmas break, I think I must have had close to a cup of tea everyday. While I am a barista at Starbucks part time (and yes, enjoy coffee), I have always liked tea.

Last fall I saw a notice on a blog I follow that a company which sells tea were offering three tea bags of your choice for free, so when I was home I taste-tested them and was not disapointed.
The Christmas Tea was somewhat of a spicey nature. It almost reminded me of Chai.

I liked the Lady Grey alot. It was nearly identical in taste to their Earl Grey, but seemed to taste more floral or citrus like.

The Prince of Wales was a lovely flavor that seemed like a mix of PG Tips with other flavors.
Of course I have already mentioned Earl Grey (it's perfect with 2-3 tsp. of french vanilla coffee creamer in it) and PG Tips, but a few other favorites are:

Aveda's Comforting Tea
Mint tea (Celestial Seasoning's Green Mint tea is an excellent staple)
Good Earth Original
Harry & David's Pomegranate & Blueberry Green Tea
Roobios & Lemon Myrtle
Are YOU a tea drinker? What are some of your favorites?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lots of "New"

Family time, Christmas, and New Years came and went. Way to quickly. School started on Monday, so the first week is offically over and my weekend started with working at Starbucks. I started training as a barista before the break, and now I'm a regular part timer there making everyone their favorite lattes and frappachinos. It's great fun, but what is even more fun is making the more complicated "custom" drinks for the regulars and them saying you did it perfectly. Yay! :)

Trying to juggle work with being a full time student and practicing violin and piano is a wee-bit more difficult than I had anticipated, but I think it should go fairly well if I can somehow prioritize and schedule my time. More often than not I'm one of those that takes life as it comes, but then get in a jam when there are "must-do" things to squeeze in that I run out of time for. Any tips from those who live by lists and schedules? :)

Yesterday I was super thrilled to have bought an ear training book for a music class. The campus bookstore was selling it for an outrageous price, so I looked it up on Amazon and found it there for close to $20 less. Yay! :) I got free two-day shipping, too, since I'm a student/Prime member. In fact, there is a special going on of getting a free 6-month trial period if you have an .edu e-mail address. Check it out!

All but one class is music this semester. Our orchestra is doing Mozarts 40th symphony and another work or two that is yet to be determined. For violin I'm working on the usual stuff (scales, arpeggios, double stops scales, ie, 3rds, 6ths, and octaves ::ahem:: must get those down before I start on 10ths ::ahem::, a couple etudes) finish up the first movement and start on the 2nd of the Bruch concerto, and then in preparation for my junior recital next semester, I'll be starting some unaccompanied Bach on Monday. After attempting a partita and completely ruining it a couple years ago, I've stayed away from even listening to it since, but I think I'm ready for it now. I love the clean simplicity of Bach. Of course Hilary Hahn's CD is always a favorite and a great inspiration to model after in the practice room.

Speaking of which, I'm behind on practicing and will be under the knife if I'm not prepared Monday morning, so I'll sign out for now. I've got a post in the works for next week, so watch out for that.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New 'Gracie Aprons' in the SHOP!

Today I spent the majority of my time in the sewing room whipping up two more aprons. I admit that while I was home I had great ambitions to fill up the shop, but it seems like there were a great many other things that filled my schedule.
Country Pink English Toile

Wrapped in Spring Sunshine
Grab one of these 1940s-styled aprons or any other apron you wish because it won't be until later this spring that I'll be back in the sewing room.