Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

5.28.2010

The Wisdom Peddler



Proverbs 17:16
"Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom,
Since he has no heart for it?"


One day I discovered a peddler
Who marketed wisdom by the pound.
He hawked it from his office on walls
That proclaimed the wisdom he had found.

I saw fools go in clutching money.
But for true wisdom they had no heart.
They left, money gone, simpler still,
With a sheet proclaiming the shrewd farce.

I wandered in, my money in hand,
Bent on interrogating the man
To judge how valid his wisdom was
And how well recognized in the land.

“This sumptuous wisdom will get ya’
Wherever ya’ want to go,” says he.
“It’s older than dirt yet fresh as mud.
No tricks, just buy wisdom on this street.”

“What wisdom will I gain?” I questioned.
“Smarts aren’t in your head or heart, silly!”
He laughed. “They show up in your paycheck,
And this stuff comes with a sure warr’nty.”

I leaned on his closed door, deflated.
This wisdom was but a sham—a lie!
How could wisdom be bought for brib’ry?
My longing for wisdom was denied .

Then—a pure voice, calling from the square.
I looked ‘round the beggars, dirt, and noise,
Wond’ring who rang those words of challenge.
I charged the streets, pursuing the voice.

And there Wisdom was, calling to me.
“How much?” I despairingly implored.
She smiled at me: “Wisdom is priceless
To those who kneel here, who fear the Lord.”



5.25.2010

Passion and Patience

There I was, scrubbing the stubborn scum off of our porcelain tub with all my might, sweating and inhaling the bleach fumes. As I continued on this most ordinary Saturday of all Saturdays, something broke in my heart—in fact, I think my heart itself cracked as God finally tilled the little patch that I had kept hard and dry for myself. Overcome with emotion, I sat on the toilet, scrub brush in one hand and tears running down my eyes. I documented that day in my Bible, as I do all momentous spiritual occurrences in my life, and this is what I wrote:

“God still relentlessly pursues me! While reading Pilgrim’s Progress, I came under heavy conviction that I have been reveling in the things of this world to the neglect of those things of eternal value. I will read Scripture faithfully now, not because it will make me a better person, but because I am so weak and depraved, I cannot possibly get on without it.”

Perhaps you find it clich├ęd that God gave me a push on my spiritual journey from a book about spiritual journeys. Maybe you think it’s odd that I had never read Pilgrim’s Progress before; possibly you yourself have never read it, whether because of lack of inclination, resources, or time. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan is just as pithy, poignant, and painfully honest as ever. In fact, while Pilgrim’s Progress was second only to the Bible as the bestselling book of all time for centuries, it is has been superseded by other works, so that it now holds the yet impressive spot as the seventh bestselling book of all time, with over 250 million copies sold in over 200 languages[1].

So what part was I reading that overcame me so completely, changed me so wonderfully, and put tears in my eye so fittingly? I read of the image the Interpreter shows Christian, where two little children, Passion and Patience, sit together in a room. And, although I read the original, Internet readers and blog surfers (me included) tend to skim over the more difficult parts, so here I quote The Pilgrim’s Progress in Modern English.

“Then Christian said to the Interpreter, ‘Explain this matter to me more completely.’

So the Interpreter began his explanation: ‘These two boys are figures. Passion is figuratively the people of this world, and Patience is the people of the world to come. As you see here, just like the people of this world, Passion wants it all now, this year—that is to say, in this world. The people of this world must have all their good things now, for they can’t wait for their portion of good things until next year—that is, until the next world. The proverb “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” carries more weight with them than all the divine testimonies of the worth of the world to come. But as you saw, he quickly wasted it all away and soon had nothing left for himself but rags. So it will be with all such people at the end of this world.’

Christian then said, ‘Now I see that Patience has the best wisdom, and for many reasons: One—because he waits for the best things; and two—because he will have the glory of his possessions when the other has nothing but rags.’

‘No,’ said the Interpreter, ‘you may add another reason—namely, the glory of the next world will never wear out, but other glories are soon gone. Passion, therefore, didn’t have as much reason to laugh at Patience—because Passion had his best things first—as Patience will have to laugh at Passion—because Patience had his best things last....Therefore, it is said of Dives, “In your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony[2].’

Christian responded, ‘Then I understand it’s not best to covet things that now exist but to wait for things yet to come.’

‘You speak the truth,’ answered the Interpreter. ‘”For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal[3].” But even though this is true, things now seen live so close together with our sinful desires that they both quickly become friends. Also, things to come are such strangers to material knowledge that they continue to be separated.’”

Soon after this sight, the Interpreter takes Christian to a man sitting depressed and dejected in an iron cage. When Christian asks the man why he sits thus, the man replies that, although he was once an esteemed professor on his way to the Celestial City, he has since been waylaid.

“’I stopped being alert and self-controlled,’ said the man. ‘I let loose the reigns of my desires[4]. I sinned against the Light of the Word and the goodness of God. I’ve grieved the Spirit, and He is gone[5]. I tempted the Devil, and he has come to me. I’ve provoked God to anger, and He has left me. I have so hardened my heart that I cannot repent[6].’

…Then Christian asked, ‘Is there any hope from being kept in the Iron Cage of Despair?’

‘No, none at all,’ said the man.

‘Why?’ asked Christian.

‘I’m guilty of crucifying Him again[7],’ answered the man. ‘I’ve despised His position[8], I’ve hated His righteousness, and I’ve treated His blood as an unholy thing. I’ve insulted the spirit of Grace[9]. So I’ve excluded myself from all the promises, and now there remains for me nothing but threats, dreadful threats, fearful threats of certain judgment and raging fire, which will devour me as an enemy of God.’

‘Why did you bring yourself into this condition?’ inquired Christian.

The man answered, ‘For the desires, pleasures, and profits of this world. I promised myself great delight in the enjoyment of them. But now every one of those things bite me and gnaw at me like burning worms….Oh, Eternity! Eternity! How will I cope with the misery I’ll meet with in Eternity!’

Then the Interpreter said to Christian, ‘Remember this man’s misery, and let it be an everlasting caution to you[10].’

‘Well,’ said Christian, [and here I quote the original] ‘this is fearful! God help me to watch and be sober, and to pray that I may shun the cause of this man's misery!’”

Thus, though God is great enough to save anyone, this poor man had imprisoned himself in an iron cage of his own making, too sinful and miserable to realize that God could have broken the bars at any moment. In a flash, Christian’s prayer went straight to my heart, and it was at that moment that I could no longer contain myself: “God! Help me, I plead! Help me to watch and be sober, and to pray that I may shun the cause of this man’s misery! I cannot possibly escape it on my own, and so I come helpless and pleading to You, that You might defend and save me from my passion, and keep me for patience.”




If you have not yet read Pilgrim’s Progress, please consider doing so—it was essential reading material for Christians only one century ago. You can check out Project Gutenberg’s free, human-read audio book, or pick up that dusty hard copy off your shelf, or look into the updated version I quoted here! Also, look into this dramatized version on DVD; it is the most engaging, quality, and genuine version I have ever seen on video!

[1] http://crunkish.com/top-ten-bestselling-books-of-all-time/
[2] Luke 16:25
[3] II Corinthians 4:18
[4] Luke 8:13
[5] Ephesians 4:30
[6] Hebrews 3:13
[7] Hebrews 6:4-6
[8] Luke 19:14
[9] Hebrews 10:26-31
[10] Hebrews 12:14-17

Quotations from:

Bunyan, John and Hazelbaker, L. Edward. The Pilgrim's Progress in Modern English. Bridge-Logos Publishers, North Brunswick, NJ. 1998.

5.21.2010

Good-bye, Twelve!

In this magical, beautiful place, women and girls who have known Susanna her whole life gathered to celebrate a rite of passage: my baby sister turned 13!


We had a "photo shoot" of Susanna with every guest, all of whom have made a huge impact on her life, and Susanna decided to steal a kiss from Mama!

Camera flashes everywhere! Susanna enjoying herself with our Aunt Vickie, Melanie, and me.


Susanna with our dear friend, Sandi, who has been like a grandma to us our whole lives. In fact, we stayed with her while Susanna was being born, and I still remember coming home from prayer meeting to a message on the answering machine...but Papa wouldn't tell us if it was a boy or girl, so while she called him back, we tried our best to restrain ourselves from jumping through Sandi's floors or out her windows!


Susanna and Rachel strike an adorable pose!


Susanna and Grandma: Several of our relatives, including Grandma, traveled all the way from Spokane to be with her! What a special gift that was!



Aunt Hiedie, Camryn, and Susanna
I may have said this before, but don't Susanna and Aunt Hiedie bear a striking resemblance to each other?


We played a game to test how much everyone had in common with the birthday girl, enjoyed yummy desserts, and just generally chatted the whole time! It is always such a blessing to get together with godly women!




Everyone went around the room and read a note of encouragement, wisdom, or advice to Susanna for her thirteenth year and beyond. Everyone praised Susanna for her continual smile and encouragement to each one of us--her desire to serve others for Jesus is also a huge blessing!


Aunt Vickie's note, written on a card of Black-eyed "Susannas" was one of my favorites. She wrote:
"At different times in my life I use different parts of Scripture to gain wisdom from. Currently my life prayer is from Psalm 1 and I would like to share it with you today. Lord, help me to avoid following the bad counsel of people who give ungodly advice and help me to stay clear of people who pull me down with their inappropriate actions and negativity. Help me to delight in Your word and give serious thought to Your teaching. Help my character to be as strong as a tree planted by a stream, yielding spiritual fruit and maintaining healthy leaves. I know this will allow me to prosper in my walk with you and will be a positive example to the people I influence."


Everyone's words of wisdom for Susanna were similarly inspiring, and there were many tears shed! But now, Susanna can put each of those notes, along with the photos of the people who wrote them, in a scrapbook to treasure for years to come!


Susanna's eclectic style shines through in the gift-opening session!



Why does baby look so scared? I can't be sure, but I think he's hyperventilating at the thought of being surrounded by 20 women, with nary a male in sight. "Get me out of here!"


Back row, l-r: Aunt Lisa, Aunt Vickie, and Aunt Hiedie. Front row, l-r: Susanna and Grandma
3 aunts in one place + Grandma + chocolate= loads of fun and hilarity!
Seven years ago, Mikaela and I had our thirteenth birthday party, and Melanie followed a few years later. It was a bittersweet moment when Mama looked over at me last week and said, "We're done!" It was the last thirteenth birthday party for the girls!
My sisters are growing up, but we have way too much fun doing it together to be sentimental about it. I get to give them hints about curling their hair, advice about what outfits coordinate, and hugs when their day just isn't going well. We go out for coffee, pray together every morning, get on each other's nerves only occasionally, (-: and burn food together every week. And, for a few short months, we all get to be in our "teens" together. I'd say that calls for a celebration! We're the Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy of our house, and I can't imagine life without all the sisters God blessed me with!
So, Susanna, happy thirteenth birthday, and may the next seven teen years be the most spiritually fruitful and rich of your life!


5.18.2010

Those Who Know Me

Why am I here?

What is the thrust of my life?

These are the big questions that everyone asks, the answers to which many are clueless. Is it any wonder that The Purpose Driven Life was the bestselling hardback nonfiction in history, or that it was on the New York Times bestselling list for a record 114 weeks, or that it has sold over 30 million copies? I’m certainly not surprised—I was among the clueless for the first decade of my life. Since my early and uncertain teen years, however, God has given me a purpose and a mission so rich and fulfilling, that I grieve for those who haven’t experienced it.

The turning point came when I realized my ultimate purpose, as laid out in the Westminster shorter catechism: “Q) What is man’s primary purpose? A) Man’s primary purpose is to glorify God (1 Cor10:31; Rom 11:36), and enjoy Him forever (Psalm 73:25-28).” What a joy it was to realize that there was a specific reason for my life on earth! I begged God for more details, though. How could I glorify Him? How could I enjoy Him forever?

God gave me my life verse several years ago to express this cry and hungry desire of my heart.

“O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come (Psalms 71:17-18).”

I have failed at declaring God’s power to the world. I have bit my lip to keep from “offending” someone, when they really needed the offense of the Gospel. I have beaten myself up for not sharing, until I repent and experience God’s merciful forgiveness. Daily, though, I ask God to shine through me. I do not want to have any acquaintances or friends who are unaware that I am a Christian or uncertain of what Christ means to me. To have a comrade observe my funeral with amazement at the Christian emphasis would be the greatest tragedy of my life.

So I ask God regularly to let the wisdom of this quote sink into my life and become true of me.


Lately, God has been so faithful in showing me how I can live this way. Little things, such as praising Him to a friend, or praying before each music lesson I teach, or cracking off the restriction of my fear of man have brightened my corner tremendously. Sometimes, though, He gives me big opportunities, such as the time I sat on stage, surrounded by musicians in the symphony, 15 minutes before a performance. My comment on an assignment due that night led to her question on what class I was taking, which led to me asking if she was a Christian, which led to the “Yes! I have gone to church and read through the whole Bible” response, which led to me sharing the Gospel message condensed into two minutes. (If you ever wondered what musicians are saying when they’re onstage, now you know!) There are also works in progress, such as the LDS student I have who proclaims “Amen!” to conclude each of my prayers.

There’s my violin teacher, who engages me in intelligent debate, always testing my acumen on various subjects. When he started making too much of an issue of the eternal “Republican vs. Democrat” quagmire, I told him that my allegiance does not belong to a party, but to Jesus Christ who saved me from my sins. I vote on issues, not party lines.

Am I still learning? Of course! But as I have asked God “do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation,” He has been faithful to provide opportunities and to give me His courage and His Words each and every time. The more I brighten my corner, the easier it gets. Most importantly, however: the more I do it, the more I glorify God and the more joy I receive.

5.14.2010

Experiments on a Fruit and its Cousin


“Saying you are patient,” a non-Christian violin teacher declared, “Implies impatience.” At first ponderance I recoiled from the thought. No—she simply didn’t know what she was talking about! Or did she? She explained that when she had a mentality of “I’m going to be patient with this student” this was actually a mentality of “I’m going to put up with this student.” My disagreement began to fade as her perspective almost started to make sense, but patience is still a characteristic we are to cultivate, is it not? In the interest of discovering the truth about this topic, I’m going to conduct a most thorough inquiry to answer these lingering questions. So, with our hypothesis down, let’s head right into the first experiment!

Experiment No. 1: Evaluation of personal attitudes
This was one of the first things I thought about after hearing the hypothesis. And I realized that I only thought about patience when I was struggling with impatience, an arrangement that is true for most things in life. Then, when I was impatient, it was “This person really tries my patience.” Or “Lord, give me patience!” It goes right along with the you-don’t-notice-your-toe-until-you-stub-it phenomenon: you don’t even think about your patience or lack thereof until your patience is challenged. This tendency could mean that we have now created a mentality for ourselves of only focusing on patience when we are already impatient. On another note, when one is discussing something that is purely for entertainment, such as a book or a movie, referencing patience clearly implies impatience (and a lousy movie!). “I sat patiently through the movie” or “I patiently read every chapter in that book” is not a good review!

Experiment No. 2: What is the difference between patience and longsuffering?
Something that I have always been curious about is the difference between these two words, mainly as they are used in Scripture. This experiment required Strong’s, so I pulled it out and looked up the Hebrew word for longsuffering. I was surprised to see that it was made up of two words, one of them meaning nose. Together, though, the words form the Hebrew idiom, “Length of face or nostrils” which denotes long-suffering. The Greek words signify a man who perseveres in bearing offenses, and is forbearing; he has the power to avenge something, but refrains from doing so. The words for patience, however, carry more of the connotations of steadfast endurance. Fascinatingly, our English word for patience comes from a Latin word meaning, “to suffer.” Patience, therefore, denotes abiding under difficult circumstances, while longsuffering refers more to a peaceful frame of mind that forbears to get angry. With this new knowledge, I believe the hypothesis would more accurately refer to longsuffering, but before we tweak it we have one final and very important experiment.

Experiment No. 3: What does the Bible say about patience?
Romans 9:22-23 says, “What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.”
Luke 21:9 says, “By your patience possess your souls.”

Patience and longsuffering are key aspects of God's character, and they obviously do not imply that He is impatient!

Conclusion: In one sense I would no longer agree that patience implies impatience. Rather, patience implies steadfast endurance, and is exemplified by God. Long-suffering would be the more accurate word to use in context of not getting angry, for it implies that someone else is causing the suffering, and you are forbearing to react against them. That said, I believe the you-don’t-notice-your-toe-until-you-stub-it drive behind the idea that patience implies impatience is still true. I can get along fine without patience until my will is crossed, and that’s when I have trouble! (-: Why then, don’t I implement this fruit of the Spirit longsuffering and its close cousin patience now, preparing for the tests that will come? If I am prepared, then my patience won’t be a special accessory pulled out like pepper spray on a barking dog. If I let other people go ahead of me in line, and refrain from growling at a red light, I’ll be rehearsing my long-suffering. If I pray every day for people whose rejection of God seems hopeless and work every day with God to steadfastly do right in the face of trials, I will be putting patience into practice. And that’s an experiment worth trying!



Picture credit

5.11.2010

Kindred Spirits

Many years ago, God put Mikaela on the earth. Just as He did with David, though, He looked and realized that it was not good for her to be alone. Unlike David, however, he gave her two "Jonathans"--two! Why was she so blessed? Who was she to be born with two kindred spirits? No one will ever know, least of all her. These three girls were the first in their families. Their parents learned together and grew together. Who knew where they would go, what they would do, and who they would be! One girl could have been homeschooled all her life while the other two attended public school faithfully. One could have traveled the world as an archeologist, while another set up shop as a hairstylist, and a third lived in New York City as a book editor.



God could have drawn two girls to Himself, and the third could have rejected Him and rebelled against authority. None of the three girls anticipated music, homeschooling, teaching, falling wildly in love with God, or staying at home under their father's authority. They were just babies! The world was their oyster, and who knew what they would grow up to be?



But as the years passed, God changed and matured the hearts of these girls in parallel motion. One girl might discover the violin before the other two--but it wasn't long until all three were fascinated and dedicated to their instrument. Two of the girls might have committed to modest, feminine apparel before the other one--but it wasn't long before all three challenged and encouraged each other in that area.


Sleepovers, parties, letters, cooking experiments, awkward phone conversations, birthdays, stepping into a bee's nest, vacations--the three girls still remained inseparable. Oh! They had other friends, and loved them dearly. But, somehow, God had knit these three together in a very precious way. Then, one sad year, one girl had to move an hour away. It might as well have been from coast to coast, because to three little girls, one hour is an insurmountable span of distance and time.

However, their friendship grew and blossomed! They had room in their hearts and lives for others now, but they still had a special place for each other. Pages and pages of letters and emails passed between the three, all signed with their very special pen names. These girls kept on growing and maturing--and still, God kept their lives synchronized in a way only He could do.
They were to each other that rare thing which Anne Shirley so aptly described:
"A bosom friend--an intimate friend, you know--a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I've dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too. Do you think it's possible?"



These girls were finishing up high school, and asking the big questions now. "What do we do with our lives? What is God's will for us?" And all three settled down with one, overarching answer: live for God's glory. All three received specific answers: live under your father's authority for the purpose and preparation of marriage, if God should bless you. And all three received answers for their immediate future: further your education from home, help your mom and family, and teach music.

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. 'Pooh,' he whispered.
'Yes, Piglet?'
'Nothing,' said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw, 'I just wanted to be sure of you.'”



They got to travel to Utah together and learn how to be better musicians, teachers, and friends!

They challenged each other to faith and good works.


And they challenged each other to silly antics, late nights, and painful laughing sprees.

Sarah, who am I to deserve such a friend as you? How ridiculously impossible is it that God put you, Lauren, and I together from our birth and has kept us together until now? I can't answer these questions, of course, but it doesn't really matter.

When I watched you join our ranks last Saturday as an official high school graduate, I was inordinately proud of you and your incredible accomplishments. You're beautiful, talented, sweet, Godly, and such a good friend. Can I grow up to be like you someday?


Sure, we're different. You have strawberry-blond hair--we have brown. You're a night person, we're morning people. If trapped on a desert island, your food of choice would be a drink. If trapped on a desert island, my food of choice would be food. You like math, we don't.

In the end, though, none of these things really matter.
"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together. There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

Congratulations on your graduation, my dear friend, and happy birthday. I'm so glad that God saw that it would not be good for Lauren and I to go through life without you.

5.07.2010

God Said, "Wait."

Chilling fear. She felt it for a moment as she stumbled through the long, empty hallways for the second time, knowing she had to be prepared to die. Her heart cried out to God: she wouldn’t for a moment change her decision, but oh if only something miraculous would happen before she reached the end of that hallway. She remembered the last time she had stood at the end of that hallway, hearing a snake-like voice offering her his proposition. She had stood there, her heart melting, thinking that all she ever wanted was to have a family. All she ever wanted was to get married and raise children to lead and challenge the nation in the ways of God. All she ever wanted was to have a household—a very idyllic dream under the present circumstances. But the years passed, and every year God told her, “Wait.” She didn’t know why she was waiting—why God told her her desire was good but it wasn’t time yet.

And then, in the past couple of years, God led her to be a midwife—a ministry that fulfilled a crucial need for the women around her. Along with her dear friend, she was now a leader in the profession—teaching other girls what they needed to know about midwifery and blessing the families and children around her with her skills. And so her life had gone—happy, pleasant, busy—and every year, God still said, “Shiprah, wait.”

It was not even a month before when all that had changed, but it seemed like years had passed since that moment Shiprah had first walked down this hallway. She and her fellow midwife friend had stood before the throne as the king commanded them to kill any baby boys that were born as they went about their midwifery duties. Shiprah had felt her blood run cold at that moment, and tears had slipped from her eyes at the thought of taking a precious little life. The king had fixed them with his long, pitiless gaze, and then he had dismissed them to go about their murderous obedience. But "the midwives feared God," and even as Shiprah stepped outside into the desert sun, she knew that she could never obey the Pharaoh; she could never rationalize the morality of his command. Yes, she was filled with a tormenting fear, and a thousand questions flooded her brain. Her heart cried out, wondering if God really was in control, if He really understood her desires, and if He even cared about providing what was best for her.

But as she had agonized over the situation that night, she knew the answers to these questions just as surely as she knew God was still telling her, “Wait on me, Shiprah.” Yes, she was afraid of the Pharaoh, but she had fear for her Lord of everything more than she had fear for the Pharaoh of Egypt. She was Pharaoh’s physical slave, but if she allowed fear of him and anxiety about his commands to control her, then she was allowing herself to be in bondage to him spiritually as well. A smile had crossed Shiprah’s face at that moment and relief had flooded her soul: she was free from her bondage to the Pharaoh, free from her anxiety about the future and the fulfillment of her desires, and free to be in awe of the power of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who had not abandoned her. She feared God, and suddenly she was unafraid.

And then God had done a miraculous thing. The next morning, the Hebrew women who went into labor suddenly started having their babies before the midwives could even get there! Shiprah could not understand it--she was utterly confused after the third or fourth time of arriving to a birth only to discover the baby had already been born with no complications. But then, one of the young mothers smiled at her and at her new baby boy: “It’s a miracle!” she had said, and suddenly the power and truth of that statement had dawned on Shiprah.

And now she stood once again before the Pharaoh, with Puah at her side, knowing full well that these were her last moments.

The monarch stood and roared at them: "Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?”

Shiprah and Puah didn’t hesitate—they had decided beforehand that no lie would pass their lips. So they told the truth. "Because,” they began, with courage in their voices. “The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them."

And somehow, inexplicably, and before they knew what was happening, the Pharaoh had waved his hand at them as he might flick a fly away, and they were outside, blinking in the sunlight. Shiprah felt joy bubbling from her heart, and she and Puah embraced each other, tears streaming down their faces, and laughter filling the air.

But the best part was yet to come, for God finally told her, “Now is the time.”
"Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty. And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them. (Exodus 1:20-21)" And as Shiprah’s own babies grew up with the babies whose lives she had saved, she suddenly knew why God had said “Wait” for all those years.

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4)

Picture Credit

5.04.2010

Piano Pedawhat?


All good things must come to an end, and Piano Pedagogy class is no exception. We spent two weeks on the beautiful Verity campus, managing to meet almost all of the fifty students who live there, working on getting their BA in 18 months.


We fit in games of ping pong, foosball, volleyball, Rook, catchphrase, and Dutch Blitz, and walked around the building for exercise countless times.



We attended chapel every morning and joined the students in prayer and praise on Sunday nights.


We got to attend an Indianapolis Symphony Concert centered in the absolutely gorgeous Monument Circle.



But what we were really there for was learning how to teach piano excellently. With Mrs. Baldridge as our guide and fabulous teacher, we spent five hours in class every day and the same amount in study. We read through a textbook on Piano Pedagogy, evaluated all major piano methods, studied the recent history and development of pedagogy, addressed the business aspects of a piano studio, learned the different learning styles of students (and teachers!), studied the four periods of classical music, learned how to teach classical music to all levels of students, and memorized the major composers of each period and their piano works that are most important.





Of course, that's not all we did! We had teaching plans and method evaluations to fill out, reports to write, studio policies to revise, teaching philosophies to mull over, midterms to cram for, and finals to stress over. And, in there somewhere, we had playing. Lots and lots of playing. Every day, all eight students in our class trooped over into the construction zone of the campus, where the practice pianos were located (coincidence? I think not!). With four pianos going at once, the sound was something akin to a twentieth century polytonal composition, and the workers enjoyed teasing us about the beautiful music we made. Every morning of the second week, we had master classes with Mrs. Baldridge, learning not only how to better teach the piece to our students, but also how to master the technique for our own playing.



It was a blessing to go, and we couldn't have asked for a better class or teacher. We got to meet up with five old friends from the Midwest and East, and we were able to visit the Creation Museum! However, as always, it was simply marvelous to get on the plane home.

"Visiting or going home?" Asked the scientist headed for Kenya and funded by the Gates Foundation to study the diseases of plants.

"Oh--I'm going home!" I replied proudly.



And as the beautiful Cascades came into view and we swooped over the Pudget Sound to land safely in the Seattle airport, I almost felt at home. Then, very soon, I was engulfed in hugs from my family...and it started to rain...and I knew that I was home!

The view outside my kitchen window.

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