Monday, September 30, 2013

Piano Post Part 1: Why Piano is Awesome!

Most of you  (okay, probably all of you) know that I play volleyball. Volleyball is one of those things that is easy to talk about, I think, because  you don't have to know much about it to talk about it! Even when strangers are unfamiliar with sports in general, it is easy to ask what team someone is on and what their season has been like, without necessarily knowing how volleyball is played. Piano, on the other hand, is a topic that comes up less often in conversations. I mean, what's a person supposed to ask? "Do you like piano?" And "Are you good?" are two questions I get asked a lot. (The latter is a trick question... if you say you stink, everyone assumes you're being overly humble and lecture you about being hard on yourself. If you say you're good, people think you're a prideful pig. There is no winning with this question!) Anyways, you can give a comprehensive answer those questions in about two syllables, and then it's your turn to scramble to find something to make small talk about! ( I usually resort to talking about volleyball... imagine that!)

So, I will tell you what I think about piano, without you having to figure out the right kind of questions to ask. Sound like a plan?

I have been playing piano for about ten years (some years more diligently than others!) and overall, I really do enjoy it. My dad was just saying the other day that he doesn't understand WHY I enjoy it. But for one thing, it's an energy outlet. When was about six or seven, Mom always used to tell us that, if we get angry, don't hit a person, go to your room and pound a pillow. But...pillows are so... unresponsive! They don't groan or scream or express any emotion whatsoever Which is why, for a while at least, I made my little brother my "pillow." But several lectures (and well-deserved spankings) later, I found a new "replacement pillow" that allowed me to get my angry energy out: the piano. No matter how hard I pound on the keys, they remain intact and I remain in control. :) By the time I've played 'He's a Pirate' the fourth or fifth time, I stand up from the piano much more relaxed. (albeit, my family has usually exited the area at this point.) Of course, when I was five or six, I punched out songs like "Old Mac Donald" or "Twinkle, Twinkle, but the calming effect was still about the same. :) (although my family was probably worse  off  then than they are now. There's something about an aggressive, repeatedly played Twinkle, Twinkle that will darken the mood (and damage the ear drums.)

Another reason I like piano is because it's something I can do. For me, with a lot of things, I work really hard and don't see the results I want. This drives me crazy because I (wrongly) feel entitled to doing well if I've put the work in. Piano is one thing that, if I work HARD (I'm not a natural) I can learn the music. I can make my fingers do what I want them to. I'm the farthest thing from being naturally gifted in this area, but the results, though slow, are visible! Because of this, piano has been one of the most rewarding hobbies I've taken up.
That's all for now! Next time I'll talk about the challenges that I have with piano. (And there are plenty!)

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Poems Keep A Comin'!

I realized I have to post twice this week and am settling on less-than-ideal posts, since (gasp) I can't think of anything more interesting to say! Here's another poem!

Blessing or Busyness 
I like to keep busy
there's no time to think.
No time to question,
to wonder or seek.

I like to keep busy, 
it helps me to hide
from the questions that whirl
'round and round in my mind.

I like to keep busy 
when life seems too bleak
It's nice to forget 
that I'm really quite weak.

It's nice to keep busy,
there's no time to feel
It helps me escape 
from what I know is real.

I like to keep busy, 
it numbs the sting
that silence and time for
thought seem to bring. 

I like to keep busy,
to brush over the fear
But when I keep busy
I forget God is near.

It's when I'm not busy
and I have time to think
that the problems I have
in this life seem to shrink.

Because when I sit down
To spend time with my Savior
The purpose I'd lost in this 
life is restored.

 It's when I am busy 
spending time with this Friend
that the fear of the worst in this
life seems to end.

Could it be that the dullness
of escaping a feeling
is surpassed by the JOY
of true inner healing? 


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Fun Has Just Begun! (A Day in the LIfe of the DeWolf Family)

A one week sleepover? Yes, please! The DeWolfs are like our second family, and often, when our parents are gone, we pack up our school and volleyball gear and head there for however long our parents are gone for! Of course, we try to act all upset and sad that we won't see our parents for a week,    but we never feel too bad... the DeWolfs are so awesome we often forget about the fact that our parents are gone! One night before my parents were scheduled to leave, I went out to dinner with my volleyball team, and they asked where my parents were going... and I had no clue! I guessed Washington D.C. or Chicago, when in actuality, they were heading south to Texas. Whoops.

Anyways, I have a feeling this week will be lots of fun, but very tiring. (in a fun way!) Us girls have decided to mix up the sleeping arrangements so that both Natalie and I can have "mini sleepovers" with both Savanna and Avery during the week. Last night I "slept" in Avery's room. Hah.  Two hours after we were planning on going to sleep, we finally shut up. :) And then we woke up early to make Mr. DeWolf a birthday breakfast. That was this morning... Yesterday was fun, too! I got to first, go to my practice, then come back and do school, and THEN go to the JV/JH practice!!! SO fun! I love those girls to pieces, and it was fun to condition with them and just chit-chat. (in between drills, of course.)  I'm afraid I sweated just as much as they did! And I was just shagging  balls! Then, I got to come home and BAKE!!! Can it get any better than that? It was just cornbread, but still, it was fun for me!  And then, to top it off, I went running that evening! (Baaaad idea. I did it 15 minutes after super and died at about the 2 1/2 mile mark.  But it felt good once I made it back!) Add to that family four-square, long, random conversations with Avery, and a good (although short) night's rest, and all in all, it was a good day. I am pumped to get to spend time with my favorite people, even if it does mean getting a few less hours of shut-eye. :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Comparison and Team Work

Team sports can be either a great experience, or a horrible one, depending on, well, your team! If you have a great team who supports each other and balances out each other's weaknesses, the experience is incredible! On the other hand, if everyone if about ready to wring each other's necks, it makes for some tense moments and a less than fun experience! Fortunately for me, I have an incredible team this year!  I love the fact that we can joke around AND play competitively. Not all of our games are pretty, but I think my favorite part of this team is that, working together, we can balance out each other's strengths and weaknesses. I love these ladies!

One of the things being part of a team has taught me these last couple years is that different  doesn't equal less-important or more important. Just because someone has different strengths than me doesn't make them better or worse than me!We need all the parts of the team for it to work well... we wouldn't score very many points if it weren't for our awesomely tall hitters! But they wouldn't be able to score any points if it weren't for  our setter, Mary Frances, who can chase down the ball and set it over to them to spike! But she wouldn't have balls to set in the first place if there weren't people in the backrow to get them up! 
It seems so obvious in a team setting that each player is important, but in other situations in life, I know for me, at least, it's easy to compare myself to others. When my peers are better athletes/scholars than I am, I feel like trash. But if I can find someone who is worse than me at these things, suddenly I am comforted. Because their strengths aren't my strengths, I somehow feel gratified. Yet, it is BECAUSE we have different strengths and weaknesses that we balance each other out so well! God gave us all gifts to be used for His glory, and many of us have different gifts. Sometimes when I look at my gifts compared to others, I am so busy complaining that I don't have as many or the same kind of gifts as someone else, that I never USE the ones God has given to me! Can you imagine what would happen if all the spikers on our team started crying mid-game because they didn't have Mary Frances's beautiful sets? Or if Anna Keeley and I (backrow specialists) decided to sit the bench because we felt useless since we couldn't spike? The whole game would be in shambles, even though together we could have a lot of fun. We would be making ourselves miserable.
 I am a habitual comparer, and by no means am I saying that I have this "no-comparing thing" down. But this is something I have been thinking about, mainly because comparing never makes me content.I guess my point is, I think I would be a whole lot happier if I chose to be content with my gifts, and happy for other people when I see theirs. I would waste a whole lot less time, and have fun doing what God made me to do in the first place.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Another poem...

 This is a topic that I've tried writing about several times, with all attempts ending up in the trashcan. :) Regardless of whether this is trashcan worthy or not, it is going on my blog, because I can't think of much else to write!

It might hold me back,
But it makes me feel safe.
Though freedom, I lack,
From hurt, I escape

From panic to nerves,
it has many names.
But the master they serve
is always the same.

I think to myself,
what harm can it do?
My insecurities it quells,
my nerves it subdues!

It limits what I say,
and controls how I act.
Yet without any complaint,
I choose to be trapped.

"What will they think?"
The voice whispers inside.
My desires, they shrink
But the risks are denied

This 'friend' seems quite harmless,
my best interest in mind.
But the more of me I repress,
the less of me left to hide.

Though it's bonds do grow old,
 And it's chains cut in deep,
To its arms I tightly hold
Its company I keep.

Rather than calling on Jesus for strength,
To slash these shackles apart.
I cling to my captor with freedom at arm's length
And crave fear's secure grip on my heart.

But then, ever so softly, I hear Jesus' voice
So different from that of my captor
His gentle whisper offers rest from the noise
that bellows from the lips of this master.

I look in the eyes of my Savior,
His arms open wide, yearning for my embrace.
And I eye the key in the corner,
only a few inches away.

Which shall I choose?  I've had the key all along
But something kept holding me tight
Could it be that my captor has made me afraid
to accept the freedom that's already mine?

To be safe, or to be free.
The dilemma is mine.
But something in me
won't let me decline.

With one turn of the key
my chains drop to the floor.
And I jump up, free!
My bonds are no more.

As I sit in the lap of my doting Savior,
I realize something I'd formerly missed.
Fear didn't make me more secure,
All this time, it  just kept me from this.

By giving up fear, security came from a new source--
My Jesus provides me both safety and freedom.
But instead of fear making my decisions by force,
Jesus controls who I am and become.