Friday, November 30, 2012

My favorite drummer

Tonight we got to hear the awesome concert of the Hume-Fogg Jazz Bands! Daniel, my favorite drummer, played in one of the best jazz combo and then was one of three drummers in the Silver Jazz Band. He works hard and puts a lot of time and energy into his drumming and it has been so fun to watch him grow and excel as a drummer.

I also have to give a little blog time to the band director, Dr. Richard Ripani. He gives tirelessly (it seems) of his energy, time and life for his students. He genuinely cares about who they are as people, not just as musicians. He is so encouraging and likes to look for ways and opportunities for all of his students to shine. I'm very thankful that Daniel has been able to learn from Dr. Ripani and be a part of the band program at Hume-Fogg.

I was trying really hard not to be a little sad, but I couldn't help thinking about all of the band concerts through the years, both at Hume-Fogg and at Meigs Middle School, and how some of these same kids have been with Daniel at concerts since the 5th grade. There is one more official concert at Hume-Fogg for Daniel's high school years, so mark your calendar for Friday, May 5. You won't be able to miss me:  I'll be the one with a huge smile and tears running down my cheeks.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankfulness Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving! I really love this time of year and it's been fun to read Facebook posts all month and see what others are thankful for. My list includes most of what I've read from others. I'm a big fan of thankfulness all year long, but it's nice that we have this time set aside each year to really focus on being thankful.

Two big categories of people who I am thankful for today are my friends and my family.

Friends:  I wish that I could list by name all of the friends who I am thankful for in my life. In my journal, I started listing and realized I could fill up pages with names of friends, near and far. I am so thankful to have the gift of friendship and am humbled when I think of all of the people God has put in my life through the years.

Family:  Today I am also thankful for my family. My mom and I are getting to spend some time with her brother and family for Thanksgiving and will be in touch with other members of our family throughout the day and weekend. I'm thankful that while we can't physically be with all of our family members on Thanksgiving, we can and do hold each other in our hearts and are able to stay connected in many ways.

"I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:3-6, NET

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankfulness Thursday

Wow! It's one week until Thanksgiving Day! I am looking forward to spending the holiday with my mom at my uncle's house in Memphis, and we'll get to see lots of other people from that side of the family. And eat lots of delicious food!

Last night at my community group, our leader asked us to each share about when we first received Christ as Savior. It was such a rich time of hearing how all of us could look back and see the benefits we have because of God showing us our need for Him and how our lives have been transformed by His grace.

So, in light of that time of sharing, here's what I'm thankful for today:
  • God's grace and mercy that saved me, for Jesus' death and resurrection, and for His continuing grace and mercy that is continuing to transform my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • My parents and grandparents, who prayed for me, taught me about Jesus, brought me to church, and shared their faith with me. God used them to bring me to salvation and I am so thankful for that heritage and opportunity.
  • The churches that I have been a part of throughout my life and for the pastors and teachers who spoke truth into my life and helped me to grow in my faith.
  • The "mountaintop" and camp experiences I had during the summers when I was growing up that gave me opportunities to be with other believers, to see Christian young adults who loved the Lord and were serving Him, and gave me more teaching and building up in my faith.
  • Bible studies and groups that I have been a part of that have helped me to learn more about the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and how the gospel is relevant for my life every day.
  • Daniel's salvation and faith in Jesus Christ. I will always cherish the memory of the times we shared when he was young and would ask questions and that God allowed me to be with him when he received Christ into his heart.

"God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:4-10)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankfulness Thursday

I have seen lots of people on Facebook participating in 30 Days of Thankfulness (or something like that) and it's been great to see thankfulness posts every day. Thankfulness is a great way to live every day of the year, and listing out things that I'm thankful for often lifts me out of a pending pity-party and reminds me of the goodness of the Lord.

Today I am thankful for:
  • the completion of the 2012 Election season! Enough said.
  • Daniel's continued hard work and talent in the area of music. It's fun for me to hear him practicing the drums or playing the piano in our living room and to know that he is passionate about music.
  • a shared whisper with my fun four-year-old niece. Sometimes I like to whisper in her ear, "I love you" and she likes to come close, lift my hair up away from my ear, and whisper back, "I love you, too!" So sweet!
  • playing a little game of "chase" with my two-year-old niece and hearing her giggle when I catch her.
  • a job that I love going to each day and being able to work in an environment that is mutually encouraging and team/servant-oriented.
  • hearing from a friend who I haven't seen in a while and having an opportunity to go to dinner with her tonight.

"Rejoice always!
Pray constantly.
Give thanks in everything,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. "
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, HCSB

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My East Coast Heart

Since I was born and raised on the East Coast, and spent most of my growing up years in NJ, the events related to Hurricane Sandy last week have been heavy on my heart. I know many people who live in the states that were affected and have many close friends and an uncle who live in the NJ/NY area. It has been difficult and surreal to see the photos and video of familiar places near where I grew up and I have felt helpless at times this past week (and also a little guilty when I was taking a hot shower in a house with working electricity and easily drove my car to fill up with gas).

Thankfully, all of the people who I am in touch with who live there have come out of it relatively well. One of my friend's parents had flooding in their home on the Jersey Shore and are currently still displaced while their house is repaired. Other friends lost power for days and some are still waiting to have power restored. The gas situation has been frustrating, to say the least. All of these friends have been thankful for a roof over their heads and have been ready and willing to help their neighbors.

We have also been in touch with several ministries/churches in the NJ/NY area. One pastor who used to work with my dad at the Metropolitan NY Baptist Association has given updates of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams that have gone in and are helping with recovery and feeding people (using his church as part of their headquarters). Another ministry on the lower East side of Manhattan, Graffiti, had some damage to their basement and have some items that are needing to be replaced.

If you feel led to donate to the relief efforts, here are some specific ways that you can help:
  •  Our pastor here in Nashville told us about how we can donate through the Tennessee Baptist Convention to the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts. You can donate specifically for relief efforts related to Hurricane Sandy.
  • The Metropolitan NY Baptist Association has set up a place to donate and you can read more and find the link here.
  • If you would like to help the Graffiti Community Ministries/East 7th St. Baptist Church replace items from their nursery that were damaged in some flooding in their basement, you can check out their Amazon Wishlist.
I know that the people who live in the NJ/NY area, as well as other places that were affected by Hurricane Sandy, greatly appreciate our prayers. I have been praying that this catastrophic event will open doors to the gospel and that the people who receive help will know that God cares and is with them, even in this hard time, and that they have hope.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankfulness Thursday

Happy November! I wanted to put something up here today on my blog since it's a new month. A few years ago I wrote a blog every day of November telling about things I am thankful for. I could do that again, and every month, but I thought maybe this year I'll have "Thankful Thursdays" for all of the Thursdays in November (and maybe I'll continue to do it after the month is over).

Today I'm thankful for:
  • Daniel's college applications being completed and submitted (oh wait, there's that one last essay-- well, then I'm thankful that the applications are almost all finished).
  • A nice, relaxing weekend in Destin last weekend with some dear friends. It was great weather and we had fun just doing whatever was restful (reading, watching the sunset, finding yard sales).
  • Generous friends who include me in activities like the one last week.
  • Our continuing Fall season in Nashville. When I returned from Florida, it was cooler and the leaves were still somewhat on the trees.
  • A family who lives close by and who likes to get together on the spur of the moment.
  • My son who makes me laugh (usually not at my expense, but sometimes I am the reason we're laughing).
I'd also like to invite you to add your own thanksgivings in the comments. Don't be shy and don't worry if you don't have a Google account. I have made it so you can comment as "anonymous" if you want.

So . . . what are you thankful for today?