“…a little bit of this, a little bit of that”

the ramblings and musings of an elementary music teacher and aunt extraordinaire

Change of plans July 20, 2010

Filed under: family,what I'm learning — marlise @ 11:24 pm

Do you ever have the kind of day where what actually happens doesn’t look a thing like your to-do list for the day?  Well, today was that kind of day for me, and I have to admit I kinda thought it was awesome.  Normally, I have morning piano lessons on Tuesday, but for this week, one student was out of town and the other planned to come in the afternoon.  So, I slept in a little bit.  I got up around 8:30 and worked out. I’ve gotten back into Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.  So, working out means as little clothing as possible, lots of sweat, and lots of pain.  After working out, I sat in front of my window air conditioner in my shorts and sports bra while eating my breakfast.  My plan after that was to run some errands, do some laundry, and clean before an appointment at noon. I had just finished my last bite of breakfast when I heard a knock at the door.

One down-side of my new place is that my front door has no peephole.  It has a window, but the window is too high for anyone shorter than 6 feet to see anybody on the other side of the door.  So, I ran down the hallway to grab a t-shirt from my bedroom so I could be at least a tiny bit less indecent when I opened the door.  I opened the door just in time to see a Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet drop to the ground.  By then, it was too late to do anything but talk to the gentleman on my front step.  The pamphlet read, “Is God really there?” He explained that some people think that with all the catastrophes in the world, God has abandoned us.  I said, “I very strongly believe God is very much involved in our world today.” He seemed stunned by that response. The conversation that followed was very interesting.  The gentleman, Harry, told me of his conversion.  He was Jewish, and lived on a kibbutz in Israel in the early 70s. He had also been quite a gambler. Then, one night, someone gave him a KJV New Testament. He read in there that he needed to ask Jesus into his heart. He said he did so and God immediately removed his desire to gamble.  Then, three days later a Jehovah’s Witness approached him and he converted. I was intrigued by his story but also very saddened. He had come so close to the Truth, but he just kept going a bit too far.  We talked for quite a while about his belief that a literal hell does not exist. He also talked about His belief that while Jesus is God’s Son, he is not actually God. For everything he tried to say, Harry would quote little tidbits of Scripture. I would finish the verses he started, and sometimes the part I used to finish the verse contradicted what he was saying. After quite a lengthy, but friendly, discussion, he thanked me for my time and for challenging him, told me he had really enjoyed the discussion and offered me the pamphlet as he went to leave.  I politely declined and waved goodbye.

A few things struck me about this conversation. First, I felt a little inadequate and embarrassed at how little Scripture I could recall to direct him to real truth. Secondly, I was encouraged that he really enjoyed talking to me even though I openly disagreed with him on most of his points. In spite of my inadequacies, God could be working still through that conversation. That thought was incredibly encouraging and invigorating to me.

At this point, it was nearly 11, and I still looked a mess from my workout. I quickly hopped in the shower and got cleaned up and dressed to be decent for the noon appointment. The appointment was a window salesman.  This was a result of a card I filled out at the county fair last week. I had entered a drawing for new windows, and they were following up on every entry with a sales call. I agreed to let them come do a free estimate. I knew that I couldn’t afford to replace all the windows in my house right now, but I was curious to hear the estimate because I’d like to replace them eventually, and I needed to know at least a rough idea of how to plan.

The salesman showed up and did his whole demonstration.  He was very excited to find out that I was a Christian school teacher. In fact, I had to move my Bible over on the kitchen table so that he could set up his display, and that made him even more excited to see my Bible.  He told me his testimony, too. He had been an Army ranger and a rough person before his conversion. He stayed and talked of God and spiritual issues for 2 1/2 hours. He left incredibly disappointed that I didn’t agree to buy any windows right then and there.

Now, it was 2:30 and I had piano students coming at 4. So, I grabbed a quick lunch, did the load of laundry that I had planned for the morning and spent the rest of the time cleaning and fielding three unexpected phone calls. I taught the lessons and headed to meet with my Bible study group.  I’ve had the privilege of leading a study group of awesome ladies since last fall. God drew this group together and created some incredible friendships. We are still meeting during the summer to just keep up on each other’s lives, but it’s very casual and very little real studying right now. Tonight, I was thrilled to hear what God is doing in their lives.

I may or may not get to my grocery shopping tomorrow. There will be another window salesman here at 1 tomorrow afternoon.  Hopefully, this one won’t take quite as long.  For today, I’m just thrilled at how God dropped so many unplanned items onto my agenda. I know it might sound strange, but I was thrilled to know that God orchestrated all those things to happen on the same day. I was also humbled at how ill-prepared I felt. I’m praying that I can depend more fully on God and become better and better prepared to answer His unexpected appointments in my days.

P.S.  I also just found out that my youngest sister is expecting another baby. This will be her fourth under 4 years old. We couldn’t be more thrilled! I was just telling someone tonight, and it still sounds so strange….Nine years ago, I didn’t have any nieces or nephews at all. Today, my sister is expecting my 12th, and I am a great-aunt twice over.  How did that happen?!?  It’s crazy!!!


Back to normal?? January 10, 2009

Filed under: family,my life as a music teacher — marlise @ 9:30 am

So, it’s been a month, and I feel I owe you an update. Now that things are finally getting back into my normal routine, I can give you that update. I feel like I need to do the update in list form, though, because I’m not sure how to make it all tie together any other way. So, here goes:

1. The Christmas concert was scheduled for Dec. 16th.  However, roughly two hours before the event was scheduled to take place, a nasty, slippery snow/freezing rain mix started falling.  So, the concert was moved to Jan. 8th.  This was the first time in my teaching career that I’ve had to move the Christmas concert to a date after Christmas break.  It does lose a little of the excitement, but it was really nice to feel completely rested as I faced the week.

2. Our Family Christmas celebration was nice.  We celebrated on Dec. 24th, and then I spent Christmas Day cleaning and preparing for a vacation.  We really missed my sister and her family who are in Germany right now.  Our original plan was to have an early dinner together and spend the rest of the evening on gifts and family time.  Then, a Christmas Eve service was planned at church at the last minute.  I was asked to play piano and sing, my brother was asked to set up sound and sing, and my sister-in-law was asked to sing.  So, we ate a quick, early Chili dinner.  Then, we ran off to the service at church.  Then, we came home and exchanged gifts.  Then, we went home and went to bed.  While it was fun, it felt very rushed.  I really missed the family time.

3.  My vacation (yes, I said vacation) was nice and relaxing.  I enjoyed warm weather, sleeping in and being able to move and exercise outside.  My friend, Emily, and I spent a week in Jekyll Island, GA.  It was fun, and I would totally do it again.

Now,  my life is getting back to normal (or as normal as it ever is.)  I’ll leave you with a few pictures from my vacation.


It’s a Girl!!! October 27, 2008

Filed under: family,Uncategorized — marlise @ 3:17 am

My sister had her baby at 4:26 p.m., Germany time. Molly Mariam weighed in at 9 lbs. even and was 20 1/2 inches long. She was born just in time for my parents to spend a couple days with her before their flight leaves for home on Wednesday.

No pictures yet, but I’ll post them as soon as I can.


My New Camera!!! October 9, 2007

Filed under: family — marlise @ 1:14 pm

I enjoy photography. I really do enjoy the whole process. I’ve enjoyed snapping pictures since I got my first camera in elementary school. (That first camera, by the way, used disc film–remember that stuff?) My love of photography increased as I learned the basics of black and white film development for my yearbook class in high school. Then, in college, I took a couple of photography classes, learned how to really do well with all the manual ins and outs of the camera, and even won first place and a small cash prize in the photography category of a college art show.

I am also somewhat of a purist. My major instrument is the piano, so very few electronic keyboards or pianos are acceptable for me (although I love the Yamaha Clavinova that I have in my school classroom.) And until now, that has also been true of my feelings about cameras. I like the feel of a real camera, the click of a shutter, the view through an SLR viewfinder, the smell of development chemicals, and the thrill of seeing the image appear on photo paper. I’ve played with some other digital cameras, and I really never expected to like one.

I have a confession to make, though. I am in love with my new digital camera. I love that it feels like a real camera. I love that I can zoom, add a real flash, change shutter speed, and manipulate all the things I like to manipulate. Most importantly, I love the instant gratification. I love being able to immediately see how the picture turned out. I love that if it isn’t good, I can delete it and try again before everyone leaves. And, I love that it is now so easy for me to post pictures of some of my adorable nieces and nephews like this:

My brother’s kids

My older sister’s kids

And a combo shot


I’m an aunt! July 11, 2007

Filed under: family — marlise @ 8:29 pm

Welcome to the world, Chloe Josalynn!

Chloe is my newest niece, and I would post a picture of the beautiful child, but it will take too long. I’m house sitting for my parents while they take their turn visiting their newest grandchild, and they only have a dial-up connection. That makes it too frustrating for me to try to post pictures. So, you’ll have to just take my word for it that she is, in fact, beautiful.

The summer continues to fly by. The nice thing about the summer is that even though the schedule is full, it’s mostly full of fun activities. This morning, for example, I went with my sister-in-law and four children to see the free movie. During the summer, they show a free movie every Wed. morning. This morning’s show was Charlotte’s Web. We had a good time. It’s especially fun to watch animal movies with my (nearly) 2-yr.-old niece, Callie. She jumped up and down in her seat every time she saw the geese. At one point in the film, my sister-in-law pulled out some snacks for the kids. I tried passing one to her, but she was so engrossed in the film that she wouldn’t take it. That may not mean much to some of you, but this little girl doesn’t usually turn down food.

After the movie, we enjoyed a pizza lunch. A local pizza place had customer appreciation day today, and large pizzas were only $5 each for carry-out. Then, we used the rest of the pre-nap hours to hit Staples. They were selling folders and packs of pencils for a penny a piece. So, I stocked up. The stored had set limits on how much I could purchase, but I was very pleased with my bag full of office supplies that only cost me 12 cents.

The day has been full of fun and very cheap entertainment. Since we can’t yet see the baby in person to dote on her. We decided to celebrate her arrival in our own way.


Hanging in there…. May 16, 2007

Filed under: family,my life as a music teacher,what I'm learning — marlise @ 7:39 pm

This has been a weird week so far, but I think I’m managing to hang in there. My quick update:

Sunday was pretty normal. The morning church service was great. Then, our morning Bible study was very challenging. Our group is doing a unit on the church and challenging why we “do church” the way we do. Sunday’s discussion was about diversity in the church. Well, first I had to exercise all the self control I had to keep from laughing out loud. Diversity itself isn’t funny, but I am a fan of The Office, and all I could think about when the leader announced our topic for the day was an episode from the first season when Michael held his own very misguided Diversity seminar. Needless to say, this Sunday’s discussion was much more focused and appropriate. It was also much more challenging. Where do we draw the line between accepting others as they are and standing firm in our own convictions? We certainly didn’t draw any hard conclusions, but it was a good reminder of my need to rely on the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

I knew Monday was going to be rough from the moment I woke up. Of course that moment was 10:24! I couldn’t believe I slept that long. I had felt a little off on Sunday evening, and I had been up a few times during the night. I’m still not sure if it’s just my allergies or something else, and I didn’t ever feel all that bad. My body must have gone into self-protect mode, though. I didn’t hear either of my alarms, and I had set two. I didn’t hear my housemate get up and leave. I only panicked when I finally did wake up. I was really wondering why the school never called me, but apparently they tried and I didn’t even hear that. The rest of the day went pretty well. The faculty and office staff teased me an awful lot, but I think it was well deserved.

Tuesday’s big event was a storm. The day was normal enough. The weather at the beginning of the day was beautiful. That worked out well because that meant both of my first grade classes were able to go on their field trip, giving me loads of extra prep time. After school, though, the weather got dreary pretty quickly. We kept our eye on the news of the impending big storm. I’ve been on the east coast for a while, and I’m having a little trouble adjusting from hurricane news back to tornado alley news. Anyway, we normally have a ladies Bible study meeting at my house on Tuesday night. The lady who leads it called me around 5. She had heard predictions of large hail and vicious winds, so we decided it might be wisest to cancel. I should add that this Bible study has been cancelled almost as many times as we have met, and I’m a little bummed about that because I’ve really been looking forward to this study.

In this case, though, it was a good thing we cancelled. At around 5:45 our power went out. It stayed out for around six hours. It reminded me of how thankful I should be for electricity. I take it for granted until I have to spend six hours in the dark. Life is boring when I can’t read, watch TV, listen to music, or clean. I did go back to school for a little while. The power there was on, so I was able to get some more schoolwork done. (Tuesday was a very productive day for me for school stuff.) Then, when the power still hadn’t come back on at 9:30, I called my parents who very graciously agreed to let me stay at their house for the night. I could have slept in the house without electricity, but especially after Monday’s incident, I wanted to make sure I could get up on time.

Wednesday was considerably better. My mom woke me up since I didn’t have an alarm clock, and my dad had a pot of brewed coffee all ready when I was ready for breakfast. I told them they need to be careful or I’m going to consider moving back into their house.

Tonight I get to enjoy the meat that I started marinated last night but couldn’t cook without power. I’m also looking forward to an evening of being able to see, clean, cook, read, listen to music, watch TV, or any combination of the above. Then, I’m looking forward to setting my alarm and waking up to tomorrow’s adventures. Of course, I’ll have to spend this next little chunk of time resetting all the clocks, but I’m glad the power (at least for now) is back on so I can do that.


Happy Birthday, Dad! March 13, 2007

Filed under: family — marlise @ 4:07 pm

My father turns 59 today! Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you!

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