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Click, click, click, click...

The metronome relentlessly keeps time, marking not only the beat, but every hesitation as well.  Every mistake is illuminated by this piercing sound.

Eyes on hands, she plays the first page flawlessly.  Her confidence reflects the hours she's spent carefully learning each note.

Suddenly she hesitates, the constant click giving her away...her eyes betraying her.  As she looks from the keys to the music, she muddles through the B section.  

Determination on her face, a sigh on her lips, persistence in her heart, she keeps playing as the metronome speeds ahead of her.  And suddenly, without warning, the metronome fades into the background, hidden by the precise notes.  


Piece By Piece

To run with arms wide open...
To embrace completely, without reservation...
To hold nothing back...
To give fully...

How does one do that when the memory of past
hurts takes your breath away?

How to give a complete heart when that heart
is broken in a million little pieces?

One piece at a time, that's what I've discovered.

And sometimes a piece falls.

The fallen pieces are more valuable
than those remaining tightly closed in my hand.

A heart is nothing if not shared.

Check out project: 10,000 Reasons


Realities of Daily Submission

"In many ways, God sized dreaming is more about an attitude than an action.  It's living with an ongoing yes to whatever God asks of you."
-Holley Gerth-

As I read these words during morning devotions, I found myself thinking about what that really looks like in my life...

Saying yes to God for whatever He has for my life, the ongoing yes, seems so easy in the beginning.  It's almost like falling in love...the thrill of the unknown...the excitement that newness brings with it...the never-ending anticipation...


Wonderful Wednesdays

Psalm 68:6 says that, "God places the lonely in families."  This scripture is so true.  It has happened numerous times in my own life.  


A Place for Failure

In college I had a couple of professors that encouraged my classes to take a break before grad school, to venture into the world, so to speak, before continuing our music education.  At the time this sounded preposterous.  Why not continue while information was fresh?  How valuable could experience really be?  Why would I want real-world experiences in place of musical experiences?


First Day

The first day of school is finally ending for me.  It's been an awesome day, but exhausting since it wasn't over until 10:30 (an hour and a half past my school bedtime, for those that don't know). On top of leading an after school choir, teaching piano lessons daily, after school meetings, yoga, mid-week Bible study prep, programs for each grade level, volunteer opportunities, race training, my writing project, and any other random things that comes my way during the week, I've joined a choir on Monday nights this year. 

I know it sounds crazy to try to squeeze one more thing in, but I haven't sung in a choir since I moved to Dallas three years ago.  It's a part of a who I am, and I'm trying to save that part of me from completely dying.  After leaving rehearsal tonight, I am convinced I'm making the right decision to be singing again!  Rehearsal ran like a college choir rehearsal, he labeled my voice as "dark chocolate", and neither my vocal chords nor my sight reading skills are as rusty as I'd feared- JOYLIST!  Here's to Christmas music in the fall, musical growth and professional development!  I would love for this chorale to be my chance to dust the cobwebs off and vocally grow so that I might eventually audition for a professional chorus in the area.

My evening as a first day student went well, but my morning as teacher went even better.  As usual, I didn't sleep well last night and I had the jitters most of the day.  I have never been more excited about a school year than I am this one!  There are several reasons I believe this to be so, but one of those reasons is that I had a total life perspective shift this summer...


Nature Baby

This weekend was the last weekend of summer, so naturally I packed in one more trip to see dear friends.  My trip to visit was much overdue, and it wasn't until I saw them that I realized how much I've missed them.

Rosemarie, or Mz. Wag as I still call her, was my choir accompanist in college.  We quickly became friends and have been so for the past thirteen years.  She and her husband, Jim, are very dear to me.  The weekend consisted of catching up, good food, nature, naps, a movie, church, more catching up and more sleep.  It was wonderful!  I couldn't have picked a better way to end this summer and begin the school year.

The Waggoners have a beautifully landscaped garden, on the lake, complete with every animal, insect and bug you can imagine.  I encountered a family of deer on my morning jog, cranes inching into the water and a huge dead snake on the side of the road.  Hummingbirds graced their windows as squirrels lept through the trees.  Watching each of these animals made me feel very much a part of life, realizing how significant I am in my insignificance.

  As I sat on dock reading and writing yesterday,


I Dreamed a Dream

In conjunction with a writing project, I am also working on a compositional project. In college I dabbled with composing; I even took private composition lessons. 

Looking back, I realize that I never really put all I had into it. I took a lot for granted back then, and was an even worse procrastinator than I am now. This is my 10th year out of college, and hindsight is 20/20. I've decided to tap back into some of those dreams and talents I had before I let "life" get in the way.  

Getting today's mailbox treat was like greeting an old friend!!!  (Finale is music notation software for the computer.)


I'm Baaaaack!!!!

This summer I have single-handily failed at my goal to blog daily (A Day in the Life).  At the beginning of the summer things were crazy with my parents getting ready to move back overseas.  In the middle of the summer it was work and Bible study (Life Calling) that kept me busy.  The past few weeks travel northward stood in the way (you can see photo documentation of my travels on my Facebook page in the "August 2013" album).  And, we started back to school this week.  It's been a very full summer, to say the least!!!

All these were major contributors and are excuses to a degree, but the main reason I've been silent this past month and a half is that this summer, a good friend and I decided to embark on a writing project.  I wanted to take a step back to focus on that and get a clear direction from God, without the distraction of any other writings.  Stepping back allowed me clarity in several areas of my life.  As of tonight, my resolution is to resume my goal of blogging something everyday.  

My world these days, in bullet form:


Lasagna Roll-Ups

It seems that my last few posts have either been about daily life or recipes.  Today it's a recipe.  Will be back to posting more personal blogs soon.  

I have entertained at home quite a bit the past couple of weeks.  I love the fact that my apartment re-decorating (Design on a Dime) is finished; it just feels so much cozier and is perfect for having friends over!  I've used my visitors as guinea pigs for new recipes.  Being single and living alone are not a good combination for recipe experimentation on a regular basis.  This is compounded by the fact that I'm not a huge fan of leftovers.  But, I LOVE to cook, so have enjoyed having a reason to do so.

This weekend a friend posted a recipe for lasagna rolls on her Facebook.  They looked delicious in the picture.  I changed the recipe up a little to fit my preferences.  They were easy, very good and were a hit with my guests.  The individual rolls made presentation much nicer than a piece of lasagna.

The recipe lends itself to creativity.  You could add ricotta, Italian sausage, homemade pasta sauce, etc.



Carry On!

Tonight before bed, I was reading the poetry of one of my favorites, Robert Service. I am currently in the process and planning of a couple of major ventures that seem impossible. I know that God is a God of the impossible and not just the difficult, but when I think about the particular projects I'm currently involved in, I know I can't do them in my own strength. Because of this, doubt creeps in as my faith waivers.

The following poem really hit home. If you find yourself, or have ever found yourself, wanting to give up because the path you're on seems difficult, perhaps even impossible, be encouraged today by
the words of another...


Design on a Dime

At the beginning of the summer I began tackling a couple of remodeling projects.  In May I started with my balcony-  Man, I Feel Like a Woman.  My living room was next on the redecorating list.  You might remember my post in June with pictures of my mom and me repainting a chest "mermaid green" to go with the new look- Summer Break Has Begun.  It's taken me a little longer than anticipated, but I am finally finished with my summer project!  

I had originally purchased vintage travel posters from the 1920's as a focal point and theme, hoping to go with an art deco feel.  This proved much harder than I imagined.  Apparently, art deco has not recycled through the area in which I live.  Travel is my favorite thing on earth, and I knew I wanted to weave it in somehow, but ended up not using the travel posters.  I had to start from square one, but this ended up giving me many more options.

A couple of my friends have a great eye and were willing to help me finish up decorating, so this week we hit the stores and got it done.  I'm really pleased with the purchases we decided on.  I was able to keep a travel theme, tie in my love of birds and the whimsical and use the color palette I wanted to.  I used several things I already had.

Shout out to the "Design on a Dime" decorating team: Mother, Daddy, Karena and Karen.  I wouldn't be near as pleased with the result without any of them!  And, they didn't argue when I picked my St. Francis of Assisi figurine as my MUST KEEP item. :)

Below are the before and after pictures.  You'll notice that I changed out several pieces of furniture.  I loved the look of my old decor, but I was ready to personalize and brighten things up a little more.  Besides, I'm the kind of person that needs change every few years.  Note: The before pictures were taken during the day on my digital camera.  The after pictures were taken at night on my cell phone.  You'll probably notice, not only a difference in picture quality, but lighting as well.  I kept the wall colors the same, so even though they appear darker in the after picture, they are the exact shade as they are in the before pictures; the room is very bright.  You can click on any picture for a larger view.

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE...............


In Season: Blueberries

It's the time of year that I can't eat enough blueberries.  I love blueberries anytime, but right now they are in season and are light enough to go well with this hot weather.

A friend generously gave me several pints of fresh blueberries last week, so I pulled out a favorite recipe and made a batch of muffins to share.  This recipe yields approximately 36 muffins and produces the most moist blueberry muffins I've ever eaten.  Try them for yourself; you won't be disappointed!

Ann’s Awesome Blueberry Muffins


Life Calling

On Sunday mornings I lead a small-group Bible study with my friend, Karena.  In conjunction with our group, this summer I am participating in Priscilla Shirer's Bible study, Gideon, with the women's ministry at my church.  The theme of this powerfully written study is, "Your weakness. God's strength."  If you are looking for a good Bible study to do, this is it!

Last Wednesday night the presenter had us chart out the following: our weaknesses; our calling/God's purpose for our lives; what we need from God; and our goals (as they relate).  This didn't present too much difficulty for me.  I strongly feel that God is currently in the process of aligning things in my life for big changes in the near future.  I can visibly see how He has me training for plans He whispered to me years ago.  Because of this, these four categories are regularly in the forefront of my thinking.

This week I had to jump ahead a lesson, because Karena and I were given the opportunity to present last night's session to the group .  As we met to combine our ideas and make a plan, I started feeling myself being challenged by the chart I made last week.  


On Pain, Joy and Sorrow

In approximately 48 hours my parents will board a plane headed for Monrovia, Liberia (West Africa).  Although, every minute of every day holds its own uncertainty, four years of absolute uncertainty seems like a pretty big pill to swallow. 


Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I like to think of myself as a strong person.  I moved out of my parents' house twelve years ago and have lived the past seven of those years without a roommate.  Anything that's required in my life, from finances to washing machine repairs, I do myself.  I have grown quite adapt at taking care of every detail in my day-to-day life, including the emotion stresses of it all.  I know the strength this requires.  Although it is not all done to perfection, and I do have a small circle of people I have to call on to help me at times, I do pretty well on my own, all things considered.  I take pride in my independence, in the fact that I can do things without the help of others.      


Silence is Golden...

...especially when that silence is the result of making money! 

An out-of-town friend texted me the other day and asked if I had a boyfriend.  I asked what prompted the question and he replied that the last time I disappeared from the internet was when I was seeing someone.  

I wish a boyfriend was the culprit for my virtual disappearance the past couple of weeks, but it's not.  


Daddy's Girl

Nine days ago was a special day, however this is the first chance I'm having to post anything since then.

Today's post is in honor of Father's Day...


Summertime Treat

Summer is in full swing.  That means longer days, more free time and opportunities to catch up with those we love.  

Here is my favorite summertime treat.  It's super easy, yummy and quite impressive visually.  This cake isn't heavy and has a nice, refreshing kick.


The Head Should Be Connected to the Heart

THIS is what I should be doing right now:

Followed by THIS:
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