February 22, 2014

Music Demands

"Prayer is when you talk to God. Meditation is when you listen for God. Music lets you do both."

I don't know who said that, but I do know that there is some truth in that saying.

[Side note: Yes, that --> is a picture of my flute. Photo taken with a friend partner during a photography class. ^^]

It had been a particularly stressful day, due to my Panel Audition for the piano. This is the top advanced category of MTAC's Certificate of Merit (CM), compared to the "regular" 10 levels.

Last year I miraculously passed for the first level, and this year, I aimed to pass the second "grade" (obviously). In all, I think there are four levels total, with the ever-shrinking number of students allowed to pass. In short, the possibility of passing is pretty slim.

However, God, in His great mercy, granted me favor from the judges, who gave me the thumbs up to proceed to the next level. This year, I was again faced with that same anxiety, needless to say, since the competition only gets harder as you get higher. Thank God again for giving me the favor of getting fairly "nice/friendly" judges, which really helps qualm my jittery nerves. I'm not sure if I passed or not, since the results won't come out until after a week or so...but the suspense!

On another note, I've given up the results up to God. If He sees fit that I pass, then He'll make a way. But until then, I shall be diligently studying for my piano theory (written test) on Thursday. *sigh* This is my third time taking it. And no, I didn't fail on any one of the two. I'm much too Asian for that. xD I passed on both, but my piano teacher wants me to get a higher score, so I can be exempt from the test altogether. If I pass (that's a big IF right there), then I won't have to take the theory ever again!

We shall see.

The studious Asian musician who should be studying instead of writing this post,

A Trip Back to the Earth

Yesterday, I had the joy of seeing my homeschooling group's friends again after who-knows-how-long. One of the moms, whom my mom had the privilege of leading into homeschooling, had used her connections with the Arboretum 's staff to gain us free admission to the beautiful grounds. *cheeky grin*

The Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden is famous for its lake, which was the sole reason why Indians in the early days settled around the area. This lake had been the scene of many famous movies, one of which includes "Tarzan".

Our tour guide had been most helpful in regards to the history of the Indians who used to live in the Arcadia area. She's an expert on the subject. In fact, her daughter-in-law is part-Indian! Amazing...

Actually, I'd be writing a full report on this later, so I'll keep this brief and short. Hint hint: I also have quite a few pictures in store, so be sure to stay tuned! xD

Exhausted but incredibly empowered with the new information learned today,

February 16, 2014

A Coming-of-Age Ceremony

I attended the Bat Mitzvah of a good friend yesterday--a very close friend. How close? As close as our names can be! In other words, we have the same name. That sure gives me an inkling of kindred comrade. I'll call her as "Star" here.

For those who don't know what a Bat Mitzvah is, let me describe it for you.

Bat Mitzvah literally means "daughter of commandment". The word "bat" means "daughter" in Aramaic, which was the commonly spoken language of the Jewish people (and much of the Middle East) from about 500 B.C.E. to 400 C.E. The word "mitzvah" is Hebrew for "commandment".

The term "Bat Mitzvah" refers to two things: When a girl reaches twelve-years-old, she becomes a "bat mitzvah" and is recognized by Jewish tradition as having the same rights as an adult. She is now morally and ethically responsible for her decisions and actions. The term "Bat Mitzvah" also refers to a religious ceremony that accompanies a girl becoming a Bat Mitzvah. Often, a celebratory party will follow the ceremony. That party is also called a bat mitzvah.

[For boys, they would have a Bar Mitvah at the age of thirteen.]

If you want to know the history of the Bat Mitzvah, read more about it here. The quote above was also taken from that site.

The ceremony was beautifully orchestrated--I wasn't the only one moved. And for those who know me in real life, I'm not the kind of person who easily shows deep emotions. Star showed her achievement of her parents' challenge--to memorize the entire chapters of Matthew 5, 6, and 7! I wasn't the only one impressed, I can tell you that.

It was an outdoor ceremony. In their backyard, to be specific. They put up a canopy, and set dozens of portable chairs on the lawn. They even got a jumper for the younger attendees! The theme: Disney's "Frozen". Quaint, but cute.

Star's parents each told on how my friend had been such a positive influence and blessing in their lives. Her older sister sang a Chinese song, dedicated for her. Her younger sister did an adorable version of Frozen's "Let It Go". Tears were freely shown, I might add. [Hey, we have the right to be more relaxed among our friends!] The purity necklace that she got was beautiful (as well as economical, she later told me). It was a gold-plated circle with a heart in the middle. As her mom said, "exactly what she thought a purity necklace should look like."

The fathers, representing their families, laid hands on Star and prayed their individual blessing on her. All of us (her friends), read our blessing cards to her. We laughed and cried together, especially at the end, when my same-name friend read her thank-you speech. I'm not ashamed to admit that I broke down (inwardly) when she did (outwardly).

The food that followed was just as amazing as the ceremony itself.
I was told that her mom got up at four in the morning to prepare all that food! The rest of the day was spent in sweet fellowship (the formal word for 'socializing'). xD

All in all, I am again reminded just how much we have to be thankful for. Life may hold dread for some, but for the rest of us, we can rest assured that our Heavenly Father has planned out amazing things to happen in each of our lives.

The Lord is good!

February 12, 2014

Homemade is Always the Best

I love homemade things, especially regarding food. You know what goes in it, and can rest assured that the calories combined are much lower than any restaurant can boast.

Just the other day I was helping my mom make more dumplings (for ourselves--what else?!). I was so proud of our speed, efficiency, and professional-like looks that I was crazy enough to take a picture of it... Don't laugh! *shifty stare*

Don't they look simply adorable and perfect? Ahem. *cough cough*

ANYWAYS! The important thing is, they tasted good. Correction, no, they tasted...heavenly. It's not like me to say that to dumplings, especially those of my creation, but hey, there's always a first, right?

What homemade things do you guys like best?

"You are what you feed yourself."

February 8, 2014

The Piano Guys - mass video collection

I have just "rediscovered" this great group called The Piano Guys. xD
If you haven't watched their music videos yet, you haven't known YouTube long enough. Here we go!

This is the original one the group made:

And this one is made by their fans: (ain't they cute?!)

And these below are my all-time favorites:

And my top, top, top recent favorite! :)

Obviously, I might as well tell you to subscribe to their channel. Seriously, you should! Now, as Yoda would have said, "You shall subscribe to The Piano Guys...NOW."

Now, this blogger girl is off to find more new favorites (as if these weren't enough)...

February 5, 2014

School, SAT, and Stress

I've been so busy recently with much school-related studying, especially with my SAT coming up. Yes, it's my first time taking it, and no, I didn't take the PSAT--which makes me really nervous, obviously.I'd need a lot of prayer for that, especially since I also have music commitments.

I have my annual piano competition/test a week before my SAT testing date, and after that, a flute recital. Yes, those three events are causing me a lot of stress and worry. If I survive the next few months, it'll be a miracle in itself! However, I have to remember that "with God, nothing is impossible". Nonetheless, I shall do my best. But until then, I'd really appreciate your support and prayer. Thank you! <3

[See Post a Prayer Request, my other blog.]

Student in progress...