Friday, August 20, 2010

Catching up...summer time!

How do 6 months go by, and it feels like only 2 months?? I am amazed to realize that it has been a full 6 months since we have posted on our poor neglected blog! We are getting back in the swing of things after 4 1/2 weeks away from home this summer. As wonderful as it is to travel and see dear friends and family, visit new places, and meet new people, it always comes back to....there's no place like home! :)

We pulled out of our neighborhood in a very full van on July 12th and headed first to Iowa/Illinois, where my dad grew up, and has many friends and family there. Even though we were only able to spend a few days there, we so enjoyed our time and were blessed by each one we were able to see.

We stayed with our dear aunt and uncle: Diane (dad's youngest sister) and Don, whom we have become very close with over these past few years. They were so sweet to allow us to completely take over their place with all our bags and "stuff"!

While we were in town, our other sweet aunt and uncle (Julie - dad's sister - and Randy) who live in Iowa came and visited with us one evening. We had such a fun time with them - catching up, seeing pictures of their son's recent wedding, and playing games with them!

Also while we were in town, our fun cousin Autumn (Diane's daughter) came back from her home in MO to visit! We were so excited to get to see her, and spend time with her going to the Farmer's Market, riding on "The Channel Cat" (a ferry that takes people on the Mississippi River), discussing music (always! :)), and going to church together.

There were many dear ministry partners that we were able to see also, and here is a picture of one amazing couple - Don and Marj Dirk. In their late 70's/early 80's, they are still going strong with dozens of mission trips all over the world under their belts, and plans for more in the making! It was so encouraging to hear their stories about God's work in their life: from wondering what God's plan was for them in their retirement, to where they are now! One of the keys to their success that they shared with us was to mentally and emotionally put on the whole armor of God every day, as God tells us in Ephesians 6:13-18. What an inspiration to us!

From Illinois, we traveled to Indiana, where Christa and I attended a 3 week music course at an institute through our homeschool association. ( What an experience!! Here are a few highlights from our time:

There were 15 students that took the course with us, and we loved getting to know each one of them, and many of the other college students on campus there as well! This was a small class in comparison to other years, but great for us because it meant more one on one time with the many wonderful instructors!

Topics covered over the 3 weeks included: theory, music notation, conducting, orchestration, song writing, music history, piano pedagogy, music in children's ministry, etc.

There were many team projects over the week, and on one of our teams with 3 other sweet girls, we had to sing or play a song creatively or dramatically using solfege (like on "The Sound of Music" - do, re, mi, fa, so, etc) Too fun!

Another team we were assigned to was with these 2 guys - Jonathan and Donald. The four of us were supposed to plan a half hour children's choir rehearsal using LOTS of creativity, and then all the teams actually presented their assignments to the teacher and the other teams at the end of the second week. The four of us were laughing hysterically for much of the planning time, but managed to come up with some interesting, let's say original ideas... :)

...Like the relay race where the "students" had to draw out music notes with whippping cream and then use MnM's to designate how many beats that note had! We called our game "dessert notes" :)

Most evenings saw us releasing our pent up energy in volleyball games outside with the other college students, taking long walks, and playing ping pong in the dining room! Here we are with Jonathan, Hannah, Rene, Elizabeth, Donald, and Kelsey.

Jonathan, Elizabeth, Kate, Christa, and Marie

Our sweet friends the Spiars' from Indianapolis, came to visit us during the course. It was so fun getting to catch up with them and laugh with them as always! :)

We ended the course with a concert on the last night for the other students at the college as well as families of the students. This included the solfege song that our "Team A" (Marie, Hannah, and Elizabeth) put together...

As well as singing about 15 songs as a choir!

And we were so thrilled that our Aunt Di and Uncle Don came to hear our concert and stay with us the last 2 nights!! What a special thing for them to do, especially since our mom and dad had to be away at a Student Venture conference the last week of our course! Mom was able to stay for the first 2 weeks, and faithfully made meals for us, did our laundry, and was our moral support! :)

Suzanne and Rene - two super sweet college students that we got to know!

A "goofy" shot with some friends at the reception after the concert...Anna, Natalia, Rachel, and Becca :)

Christa and I both love music, and are so excited about developing our skills to use in future ministry however the Lord leads. It was wonderful to see how this music course furthered us down the road towards that end. We're thankful to the Lord for giving us the opportunity to participate in this course!

To be continued... :)