Almost there!

Wow! I can’t believe this semester is almost over! At times it seemed to take forever, but looking back it felt so fast! However, right now I’m running on 4 hours of sleep and lots of coffee just waiting for finals to come and go. Between hosting a convocation event on childhood gender socialization, writing a 20 page paper on virtual reality and dating, a French final, a poetry/prose portfolio, and a paper/portfolio discussing my internship, it shouldn’t be TOO terribly bad… I hope!
However, I’ve made a list of “necessaries” to get through this crazy time:
1. Coffee and/or Red Bull
2. My MacBook
3. Good friends (for moral support)
4. My iPod
5. Cup of Noodles
6. Air conditioning (It’s getting hot in Nashville now!)
7. Constant reminders of summer plans…
Whew! Here goes!

Warm Weather and Friends

We are heading toward the end of the semester now. It is finally warm outside, so many people are spending a lot DSCF0006_picnik.jpg
of time outdoors. On these warmer days, there are students outside relaxing in the beautiful weather. You can see people studying, playing Frisbee, or just taking a nap in between classes. Although the semester is almost over there is still a lot of work that needs to be done before summer can arrive. At the end of each semester the school work becomes very intense because of all the projects, test and finals that are quickly approaching. Here is just a small list of the stuff I need to complete before summer break:
1) FINALS in music history, harmony II, old testament, and brass methods
2) Presentation of the book of Ecclesiastes for Old Testament Project
3) Register for next semester classes which can be difficult because classes fill quickly
4) Ear Training Juries in Diction, Sight-Reading, and Rhythms
5) Piano Proficiency Exam so I can test out of piano class for next semester
6) Saxophone Juries- I am performing the Glazunov Concerto for a music panel
7) President’s Concert- the wind ensemble along with several other ensemble perform for Belmont’s president.
Although I have a lot of work these next couple of weeks, I really do not want the school year to end. This year has been significant to me because I have met so many people and have had opportunities that I will never experience again. Even though the students may be stressed about finals, I believe that everyone is valuing the time they have spent here and all that they have learned. Now that I am heading toward the end of the semester, I realize that I truly value everyone who has made an influence on me during my time here.
Photo: My friend John playing paddle-ball on a beautiful afternoon

Better Together

If you haven’t heard the song “Better Together” by Jack Johnson, then you should definitely check it out. It’s one of those songs that you could very easily listen to over and over again and never get tired of hearing. For me, it’s the perfect song to listen to on a warm, summer day…driving with the windows rolled down and the music turned up…without a care in the world. Of course, we are quickly nearing the end of the semester, so I still have a few “cares in the world”. Quite a few, actually. Amid the chaos and stress, I am managing to find (and treasure) peaceful moments to spend with my boyfriend and with my friends. I know that those moments will be the ones that I remember most from my college years.
Over the past two weeks, several exciting things have happened…
1.) I was inducted into the Spanish Honor Society, Phi Sigma Iota! I was so honored to be selected for induction and look forward to serving as an officer during my senior year (unfortunately, I can’t do that this upcoming year because I will be in Spain). girls!.jpg
2.) I celebrated 6 months with Dan! Hard to believe it’s been that long already…but it has! We watched one of my favorite movies, “Chocolat,” and enjoyed chocolate fondue in honor of the occasion. It was a lovely evening. :)
3.) Several of my friends received an academic award! My roommate (and dear friend), Ateia, received the Larry M. Hall Underclassman Award for excellence in Political Science (yay Ateia!!); Hope received the Marietta Cook “Most Promising Freshman” Award from the Communications department (yay Hope!!); and…drum-roll please…Sarah received the “Second Year Student of the Year” Award!!! YAYYY Sarah!!! I was so proud of all of them and enjoyed going to the awards ceremonies.
4.) On Saturday, I had the opportunity to help out with the virtual tour project that Belmont’s Admissions department has been working on! Eventually, you will be able to tour Belmont by simply navigating to our homepage. It’s going to be awesome! I’m excited about being able to feel like I’m still at home, even when I’m 4,000 miles away in Spain next year!! Keep checking the website…the virtual tour should be available sometime this summer.
5.) I made a wonderful new friend! I know that this might not seem like a big deal…but I’m still very excited about it because we have so much in common!! She is also Pre-Occupational therapy, a sophomore, she loves going for walks (just like I do), and her grandparents happen to live less than 5 miles from my house in Kansas City. It’s crazy! Just when I thought that this year could not get any better…God blessed me by bringing yet another extraordinary person into my life. I’m so thankful.
While I’m excited about going home for the summer, I can’t help but dread the day that I have to say goodbye to everyone here at Belmont. I can’t even THINK about not seeing them for a year… luckily, most of my friends are already price-checking flights to Spain, and looking into possible weeks to come visit me! I’m so glad that they’re planning ahead because, after all, it’s always better when we’re together. girls.jpg

Don’t Switch that Dial

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I’m still alive.
After this week.
I’ve fought a battle and lost.
But God won.
And that’s the way I would rather have it.
Lately, I’ve been trying to sort out my entire life.
In about one month’s time.
The housing search came to fruition today.
I found a place that I will be calling home with 4 other guys
in a community house 10 minutes south of Belmont.
I’m thanking God for unexpected moments.
He definitely made it clear that I must live here.
It will only be for three months.
But the way I look at it is that
it will be a good start.
A start to begin a new life.
A new calendar.
A new season.
Today marked a one-year milestone;
and was full of so many wonderful surprises.
I took a Saturday afternoon drive to Hendersonville with my friend Chris.
I enjoyed it so much on Easter Sunday that I just needed to return.
We visited “The Blue Goose Cafe” [recommended by my bud, Andy.]
The burger was delicious and the tators were definitely
something to write home about.
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At lunch, Chris told me that the first time he visited
Nashville was one-year ago this weekend.
I think it’s cool how God orchestrates everything
and is already planning who will make an enormous
impact in my life after graduation.
Here’s the catch though: I don’t even know them yet — and for that matter, haven’t met them.
It’s crazy to think that I probably passed Chris on campus one-year ago –
and had no idea that God would place someone who would be
a friend and a brother in Christ to me.
As for Hendersonville, I was definitely happy to leave Belmont for a little bit.
The lunch was fun. We met a cute waitress — and she knew Andy Wicke.
Even better.
When it comes to life,
I see it as a culmination of mini-adventures.
Today was one of those mini-adventures.
Chris drove — while I soaked up the sun
and stayed in tune with Taylor Swift.
At one point, Chris turned the music down
and I thought my world was going to end.
But then, he turned it back up and the world was
good again.
I know the reverberation of Swift’s music
echoed across the entire town and those broken white lines.
After lunch — we drove around and visited Johnny Cash’s residence.
It’s amazing to visit a place where a legend used to live.
His life still lives on.
RIght now, I’m about exactly three weeks away from graduation.
I’m excited. Happy. Joyful. Scared.
And at times, feel like a snow globe that a little
five-year-old me shook up into a wild mess on Christmas morning.
(Maybe I should talk more about something that’s more summer-related. I guess the Wisconsin winters still stick with me. Thank goodness I’m in Tennessee. It’s much warmer — and today was hot. But well anticipated.)
On the return home, my heart began to beat faster
as soon as I recognized the sign that said “Nashville.”
I’m thankful that the amazing Lord and Savior is allowing me to
live my dream.
I hope you can experience it with me too someday…
that is, if you haven’t already.
Oh yes, and how could I forget.
To cap off the entire day,
I attended Belmont University’s
“Best of the Best” showcase
and soaked in the Texas twang of
Lee Ann Womack.
Great country.
Nothing is better.
All you need is a good friend to tag along.
And a few glasses of sweet tea.
Stay tuned for the next “mini-adventure.”
And don’t switch that dial…
P.S. Are you staying in Nashville for the summer? If so, I suggest that you attend the 2009 CMA Music Festival. This year, the festival will feature Country Music superstars: Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley and more!

Carmina Burana

This weekend the Nashville Ballet Company is presenting Carmina Burana in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center DSCF0008.jpg
(TPAC). Belmont’s very own Oratorio Chorus will be featured along with the Nashville’s Ballet, Nashville Symphony, the Nashville Children’s Choir, and several Vocal Soloist. The performance is going to be amazing because it is featuring a cast of hundreds from the Nashville community.
This semester I was fortunate enough to be able to get a spot in the Oratorio Chorus. Oratorio is a required ensemble for all music majors and minors. I have to take two semesters of this particular ensemble because of my music education degree, but the number changes according to an individuals emphasis.
Being in Oratorio this semester has been a very rewarding experience. We have been working on this piece since the beginning of the semester, and let me tell you it has been very difficult. The piece is sung in several variations of Latin. Also in several movements the text are a tongue-twister, along with the rhyming word and the difficult pronunciations at faster tempos. The range of the notes were also difficult forcing the baritones to go up to a high G and the tenors to go way above the staff.
Although the piece was difficult to learn, it is a lot of fun to perform. This was a great opportunity for me to work with professional musicians and performing artist who have been mastering their craft for many years. An opportunity to sing such a powerful and emotional piece comes once in lifetime. So come out and see Carmina Burana showing this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at TPAC. Tickets are on sale at http://www.nashvilleballet.com/performances/tickets.php. I guarantee that the performance will be truly spectacular.

The Ups and Downs

So, these past few weeks of school have been amazingly crazy with very little room to breath. In the past few weeks alone I:
Started dating an awesome guy
Turned 21
Bombed an Art Exam I had no idea about
Recorded a song for a friend’s AET project (Up on my Myspace. It’s called Soft & Sweet)
Got published in the Belmont Literary Journal and read one of my short stories
Got confirmed in the Catholic Church
So, as I’m sure can be imagined, these past weeks have been crazy. With all the great stuff that’s been happening, I also have to write an essay to make up for the test I bombed, write a 8 to 10 page paper about Devotional Poetry, and get my volunteering at the local library for next year all set up. So, that’s my life right now and I’m just trying to keep my head above water and go with the flow, but I’m definitely enjoying life right now.

Easter Break

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For this Easter Break my best friend from middle school, Liberty Belle, came to visit me here in Nashville. It was wonderful to catch up and spend time together again! And thankfully, Nashville is a wonderful place not only to live, but to have friends visit because there is so much to do.
Aside from the tour of Belmont’s campus, I took Liberty to Centennial Park and the Parthenon, downtown to the walking bridge and to several of my favorite restaurants– which include Baja Burrito, The Pita Pit, and a small pancake place called The Pfunky Griddle.
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Then on Sunday we went to my church, Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, to worship for Easter. It was a beautiful sermon about hope and redemption.
The whole weekend couldn’t have been more perfect. *sigh*
Back to the books :)
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Wicked!

After counting down for nearly 100 days, the day finally came: I went to see
Wicked in Birmingham with Dan and his parents! The performance was absolutely incredible.Wicked.jpg
It was everything that I had hoped it would be…and more. None of us had ever seen the musical before, so we were all very, VERY excited to see it! We were speechless for most of the ride back – just reeling from the phenomenal performance. I can’t wait for Wicked to come to Nashville this fall so that my best friend, Raychel, can see it! If I wasn’t going to be in Spain next fall…then I would most definitely go again. :)
In addition to seeing Wicked, we also did a lot of shopping while in Birmingham and…I attended my first Passover Seder! Dan’s church, Green Valley Baptist, had a special service on Thursday night, during which we followed a Messianic Passover Haggadah (the religious text that sets the order of the Seder).Easter1.jpg
It was so interesting to learn more about the history behind the traditions of the ceremony – I can’t believe that I waited until I was 19 (almost 20) years old to attend a Seder! It was the first time that Green Valley had celebrated a Passover Seder, AND…as it turns out…it was also the first time in history that a president celebrated a Seder in the White House!
This week was a little rough (getting back in the routine of going to classes and working after having a break is never easy), but the end of the semester is near! I just have to finish strong and then I will be off to South Africa…and then to Spain in the fall!!!

Maddox Formal

It’s that time of year where everyone is starting to get stressed out because we all have (what feels like) a million papers due, a million tests, and our extra curricular activities all seem more demanding. Thankfully, the Maddox Hall staff knew the perfect way for students to blow off some steam and have a good time by throwing a formal. I love dressing up and being able to have a few carefree hours of fun with my friends.
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Hendersonville

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I want to move to Hendersonville someday.
Four reasons:
It is the Home of my friends, Andy, Emily & Ellen.
And of course, Taylor Swift and the legend, Johnny Cash.
What a rock-awesome combination. Sound sufficient? Good.
I woke up today at a wonderful 7:20a.m. to the south –
and drove up 30 minutes north to Hendersonville to meet Andy and Emily for Easter.
I was going 78 in a 70 mile-an-hour zone.
That’s risking it all for me.
Dangerous. Forbidden. Crazy.
Thank God I didn’t get picked up with blue lights
on every other corner of the road.
Once I hopped in the car with Andyz and Em –
the car radio blasted a mixture of Kellie Pickler’s
“Best Days of Your Life,” — and Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” (Don’t judge.)
I mean, c’mon — can Easter Sunday get any better than that?
It’s not every day that you get to jam out to some of the best
music that Nashville has to offer with great friends!
The Church experience was unbelievable. After all, it always is.
I was clapping and in my mind — was dancing in circles for Jesus!
I’m definitely southern after only being here for three years…maybe.
After church, we went to Emily’s parents house for amazing food and fun conversation.
I am blessed to know both Andy and Emily — and am “super-duper” thankful
that they invited me to spend Easter with them. I absolutely love both of them!
I can’t express that enough.
Especially Emily’s family. They are rock-awesome.
At a break in the afternoon, Andy and I walked over to his house.
To say the least, I will always remember Hidden Way Court,
the “Dogwood tree story,” and a great afternoon with one incredible buddy!
Moreover, I will remember Mr. Redden (I might have misspelled his name) –
and Drew’s house. (The boy who Taylor Swift referred to in, “Teardrops On My Guitar.”)
Oh, how I love my Tennessee!
As a whole, the entire Sunday afternoon consisted of: Playground fun, a hidden Easter egg hunt,
a taste of Fruit Tea for the first time, delectable food, laughter, and the presence of God.
At about 4:30 p.m., I was sad to leave a home full of love and happiness.
The end of the journey revolved around a visit to Johnny Cash’s property — and a 30-minute drive
back to Music City USA.
Now all that’s left is a full tummy, one big smile and a new hope for tomorrow.
Thank you Lord for such an amazing day!
Reminder to self: Hendersonville is my new favorite city. Return again soon.
For fun: Check out http://www.TaylorSwift.com