II Corinthians 12:9-10

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities... for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
II Corinthians 12:9-10

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


In a few short days, I'll be putting my spinal fusion to the test by heading 10 hours away to counsel at a summer camp. For 10 whole weeks, I will lead a cabin of about 8 girls in hiking, swimming, playing games (the good physical ones like tug of war, relay races, big ball volleyball, etc.), tubing, and all sorts of fun stuff.

I remember going as a camper in high school, and the girls in my cabin always thought I was either a snob or a model at first because of my posture. And then they saw my brace! I had to explain my situation many times. Now I'm going back as a counselor after a spinal fusion. As a 17 year old camper, I certainly had no idea what the near future was going to be like for me. As a 20 year old counselor, I can look back and praise God for how He has worked in my life.

People have asked me if I'm worried about my back. And my answer is no. I promised my mom to be careful, so I will, but I know what my back can handle-- which is probably everything except the giant swing.

But most importantly, I have the opportunity to impact an average of 80 girls' lives this summer. And that is something that I take even more seriously than my back. It's going to be a great time, but there are also girls out there who are hurting-- girls that will need me that week. And I consider it a privilege to be a living example of someone with so many faults and imperfections, saved by God's grace, and transformed into someone who has a passion to live for Christ and point others to Him.

So I'm taking a short break from blogging, but some weekend when I get the chance, I will update with pictures and posts. And yes, Mom, you will be able to see how well my back is doing.

Have a great summer, and don't forget that June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meet My Mentor

My last semester of undergrad was a very different one. Previous semesters were typically packed with 20 credits, volleyball, several rehearsals a day, work, practicing, and lots of reading/studying. Every day was filled with the things I loved to do. And then came. . . STUDENT TEACHING.

I dreaded the thought of student teaching since the day I knew it was a requirement for music ed. I never had much experience with children, much less teaching a classroom full of them. That was my sister-- the kid-lover. I was happy practicing piano alone all day and playing sports with my older friends. But in order to graduate, I had to complete this semester-- and pass. Originally signed up for high school band, I decided it was time to take the hard route to give me the much needed experience of elementary school general music. So I made the switch and went to block classes every day beginning at 7am feeling sick to my stomach at the very thought of soon having to know how to interact with these kids, teach them meaningful content, and be graded on how well I do it!

Ok, ok. So I had to endure a whole semester of doing something I never imagined doing, ended up loving it, and now want to do it for the rest of my life. What does this have to do with scoliosis? That's where my mentor teacher comes in.

I had been praying that God would place me with someone who would not only help me through student teaching, but help me learn and grow the most I can from it. Your mentor teacher can either make or break your student teaching experience. And thankfully, mine was AMAZING! (Both the teacher and the experience!) She showed me what it's like to be the best teacher you can be, to plan and organize well, and to love your students. Despite facing many obvious hardships during one single semester, she proved to be a faithful teacher who put others before herself. And on top of all of that, she is a fellow spinal fusion survivor-- twice! It was amazing to find out that she too had surgery for scoliosis about the same age I did, only to have a second surgery after pulling her rod loose. And here she is today, excelling at what she loves, making an impact in the lives of young children through her love of music. And I will never forget the impact she has had in my life. This year, she ended her music teaching career by retiring after 33 1/2 years of teaching, and I begin what I hope to be a similar path-- using what God places in our lives to share our passions, make a difference, and point others to Him.

Scoliosis or no scoliosis, we all have things God has specifically chosen us to experience. What will you do with it?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Familiar Favorites 2

After a successful benefit concert for the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Indiana this past summer (raising $1,200), I knew it would be even more fun to do it at college with all my music friends.

There were so many more obstacles this time around than the previous concert. Finding a venue, printing invites/programs, advertising, finding performers, avoiding date conflicts, getting performance permissions, setting up rehearsal times with 21 performers, and the list goes on. And on. And still on. All during my final semester of undergrad, and the scariest, by far-- student teaching. But this concert was a dream of mine, so, naturally, I pursued it anyway.

There were many times when I wanted to give up. Times when I thought it was impossible to pull it off. Spending my evenings (after days of teaching) on the phone, going to meetings, sending emails, rehearsing... I seriously wondered if it woud be worth the effort and time. And then two of my performers got sick the night before and the day of the concert.

But the effort paid off, because on Friday, April 5th, around 80 people attended the fundraising concert in Greenville-- most of which were students. In fact, when I saw the huge majority of students, I was a little worried about the amount we would raise. But I was determined to make it a really enjoyable evening for everyone anyway. And it definitely was! Every performer made me so proud! It was truly an enjoyable evening of beautiful and fun music. The wonderful response from the audience afterwards was overwhelming.

Having such an awesome evening of music would have been worth it to me, but we did raise money for the Ronald McDonald House, as well! These college students and adults (and even some of my performers!) gave sacrificially to help RMH. In fact, that night we raised $650! That's enough to house an average of 13 families overnight! This amount will help make a difference for the people at RMH. It will serve as an opportunity to use the gifts God has given us to share His love with those in need. And on top of that, it was FUN!

So was it a lot of work? Yes. And stress? Well, yes. But was it worth it? YES! So stay tuned for "Familiar Favorites" 2014-- the sequel! (Premiering somewhere in the USA... that's TBD.)

Thanks to all my performers for their excellent work and enthusiasm. Thanks to my professors for their many words of wisdom and help along the way. Thanks to those who made a difference with their giving. Thanks to my parents for their support every step of the way. And most of all, thanks to God who planned my life and allowed me to be born with scoliosis, and now I have a different perspective on life.

Click here for pictures!