Sunday, October 26, 2008

Part 1, coming up!

Part 1 of my IPIAT/"arts thesis" is right around the corner... less than a week to go! Wow, I have a lot to do this week. This first worship service is much less cello-intense than the others will be, but there's still a lot to do, a lot of people to organize, etc. There will be a lot of people involved in this one--4 viols, 4 singers, guitar, harpsichord, and organ! We're sticking with the theme of Reformation-era music... although Calvin would be rolling over in his grave. Genevan Psalms... played on VIOLS??

So, I wanted to give a few details about this worship service. Although my project is on instrumental music in worship, I wanted to start with baby steps in that direction. Thus, instrumental music in this service will be interwoven with hymns, sung psalms, scripture, and times of silence. Also, I would like to help my church learn to worship by listening, by allowing others to pray on their behalf through music, and to pray with them. Basically, I want to have music played as an offering by a small group, without losing the sense of corporate worship. Then in the next several services I will remove more of the words from the service, but for now they stay as a reference point.

Well, I'm looking forward to this! I just hope that I will not be so busy that I can't enjoy it. That can definitely be a problem.

I have posted the invitation, which has dates and details for all 4 worship services! Everyone is welcome to come (and bring friends)! There will be coffee, snacks, and discussion afterwards... and that's also a great time for you to give feedback, since these worship services are somewhat experimental. I hope you can come!

Friday, October 24, 2008

My other blog, and also a recipe


I want to tell you about another blog I'm a part of. My neighborhood, or rather, my parents' neighborhood, hosts a chili cookoff every year. Now the chili cookoff has its own blog, but so far I am the only one who has posted! In any case, at present, I have contributed 3 chili recipes and a whole bunch of pictures. I'm hoping other participants will also post their recipes soon. So, go have a look. And make some chili!

Just because I have been in a cooking mood lately, here's a recipe I invented. It was delicious.

Fettuccine with mushrooms and gorgonzola cream sauce

1 package fettuccine (preferably fresh)
A medium onion, chopped
Mushrooms, chopped (I used about 3/4 lb chanterelles and oyster mushrooms)
A small leek, chopped
3 cloves garlic (or more), minced
Cayenne Pepper
Broth (I used homemade turkey stock)
White wine
Gorgonzola cheese

  1. Cook the fettuccine according to package directions.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Saute the onions with some salt, until they are a bit soft. Then add mushrooms, then leeks and garlic. These will release some liquid...
  3. Sprinkle flour over the mixture to thicken it up. Also add a dash of cayenne pepper.
  4. When it is beginning to get thick, stir in some liquid: this will be some combination of white wine, broth, and cream. It should still be pretty thick, but not heavy-thick (ie. don't use enough cream to turn this into "coronary on a platter"). When everything is thoroughly blended, stir in some of the gorgonzola, reserving some for a topping.
  5. Stir in some spinach and parsley. You can actually use quite a bit of spinach, since when it wilts, it will get much smaller. Cook for only a minute or two until it wilts a bit.
  6. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve over noodles with the remaining gorgonzola. Yum!

Tonight's dinner will be some sort of quinoa dish making use of leftover roast veggies from last week's turkey dinner! If it's good, maybe I'll post that one too. I love cooking. (I also love procrastinating.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thanksgiving, and actually some pictures from Peru

Greetings. It's been a week since I came home. Actually, getting my pictures up this quick is pretty good for me. Usually it takes a month or two. Hey, the New Zealand pictures, still aren't up, nor are the Chili Cookoff pictures. Oh well. This week, thankfully, has been reading week at school. This means lots of homework, but no class. It was also Thanksgiving on Monday, here in Canada. Thus there was a beautiful display of fall vegetables at church, which went home with the congregation after the service. So, I spent this week cooking: lasagna on Monday, vegetable soup on Tuesday, borscht on Wednesday, turkey and all the fixin's on Thursday, squash and bean mole (there should be an accent on the "e" in that word--I'm not talking about the little animal, but rather the chocolaty, spicy sauce) on Friday, potato soup on Saturday, and today, squash soup for lunch (with a crowd from church), and mushroom and spinach pasta for dinner. I made double batches of most of those soups, so our freezer is very full. Good, since I won't have time to cook for the next couple of weeks! I like to eat well, even at very busy times.

Anyway, since it was Thanksgiving the day after my return from Peru, I took advantage of the Open Mic time during the church service, to share what I'm thankful for... specifically regarding my trip. (I wrote the whole thing out, since I have a tendency to babble inanely when I get in front of people.) I'm thankful for a lot of things, actually, but these were freshest on my mind:

"I’m thankful for the worldwide priesthood of all believers. As some of you know, I spent this weekend in Peru. You may ask, why did I go to Peru for the weekend? It’s because I have a special friend there. Her name is Sindy. We had been exchanging letters for four years, and finally met face to face for the first time on Friday. Sindy was born in a slum in Chimbote, and raised in poverty. She became a very good student, and through the intervention of Compassion International, was able to go to college to study education. Shortly after she started college, I became her sponsor through Compassion’s Leadership Development Program, and this weekend we celebrated her graduation. Through the letters we sent, we each saw the work of Jesus in the life of the other. When I finally met Sindy, I saw a person who was beautiful inside and out, transformed by her love for Jesus and for others.
"At the risk of sounding like and advertisement for Compassion International, I am thankful for their work. I first became a sponsor at the age of 13, and Compassion linked me with a 14-year-old girl in Brazil. Through letters and visits—this was my second visit—I became aware of Christians living, working, playing, and serving God in other places, in very different backgrounds to my own. I am so thankful for this opportunity, not only to bless others through gifts of letters, prayers, and financial support, but also to receive so much love. Through Compassion’s work, the communion of saints in Canada, the United States, and other developed countries has deeper ties to the communion of saints in developing countries like Peru.
"I am thankful for the optimism I saw in my Peruvian friends. Sometimes poverty seems too big to combat, but our God is bigger than poverty, and he has sent his church to serve the world. Even these people, confronted as they are by dire poverty every day, are convinced that someday poverty will end. I was inspired both by their faith and their hard work towards making that happen.
"I’m thankful for Keith, who supported me when I decided to go on this trip, and who welcomed me home with flowers and homemade pizza.
"I’m also thankful for clean tap-water, safe-to-eat raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables, the speed of air travel, and my grandparents, who encouraged and supported my college education for the past ten years."
And now, some pictures. There are a lot, although they don't really do justice to my trip, since I really spent most of my time talking to people. It's funny, people ask me, "How was Lima?" but I really don't know how to respond, since I mostly saw people. The first day I visited a Compassion project. The kids were eating lunch, having reading help, playing, etc. I visited the kitchen, where some of the moms were cleaning up from lunch. (Lunch looked fabulous, by the way!) Check out those awesome soup pots. I think I have a fixation on soup, or something. :)

These kids were learning how to recognize common illnesses, by acting them out... why wasn't my health class more like this??

One highlight in Lima: there were olive trees, and they actually had olives on them! How cool!

Finally, meeting Sindy face to face! I also met her classmates, John, Joel, and Rosa.

Praying before the ceremony, and celebrating after!

Many people came to support Sindy: her pastor, her project director, her mentor, her mom, Sonia, her nephew, Israel, her grandmother, her cousin, Cesar, and me. (Am I really that tall??)

The president of Compassion, Wess Stafford, and Sixto, the LDP director in Ecuador, also attended. I ate breakfast with Wess, and watched him film a message for the Compassion workers in Peru. I also had a great chat with Sixto, who encouraged me to visit Ecuador as well.

After the ceremony was a dinner party, with great food and entertainment! We saw drumming and dancing by kids from Compassion projects (could you imagine an American or Canadian boy doing this sort of dancing??) and a Christian band playing traditional Peruvian music. Look at that guy... he's got 3 sets of pan-pipes, a flute, and a rattle! All at once! How cool is that?

I was also part of the entertainment, marking my first time playing viola da gamba outside of North America. I played early American hymn tunes. My viol was an object of curiosity wherever I went, from the guy at the hotel's front desk, to fellow travelers, to the security people at the airport, to Sindy's nephew...

Betsy helped me with my translation needs, and also with photography and general bag-shlepping. Silvia helped me the other two days.

The next day I spent wandering around Lima with Sindy, Sonia, Israel, and Silvia. We exchanged gifts (a homemade shawl for Sindy, and a homemade scarf for me... how funny!), talked, ate lunch, had coffee, and finally found a park where Israel could play, since he had a lot of energy. There was a clown in the playground, and somehow I also ended up with a clown nose.

Yep. That's about it. I had a good trip. Tell me if you want to hear more! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

And now I´m in Peru.

Actually, I´m going to leave Peru in a few hours, having been here for three days. Ahead of me is another sleepless night on the plane. At least I will arrive home just in time for reading week, so I can probably afford to spend a day sleeping.

Let me explain what I´ve been doing. For the past four years, I have been an LDP sponsor through Compassion International. This means I support, write to, and pray for a college student in a developing country. In my case, I was linked with Sindy in Peru. Yesterday, I attended her graduation. She was one of the first four graduates from this program in Peru. She is a beautiful person, inside and out, and it was an honor to meet her face to face. She has graduated with an education degree, and now she will teach fifth and sixth grade. It was amazing to see how passionate she is about serving her community, her church, and our Lord. I am inspired to go and do likewise. I also had the opportunity to meet a number of family members and close friends. When Sindy´s nephew, Israel, registers for a Compassion project in January, I will be his sponsor as well. :) He spent the day with us today, and I think he gets to have the nickname my cousin, Evan used to have: "little tornado"! He´s smart and very active, full of personality!

Pictures are coming. I am not on my own computer, so I will have to wait until I get home to post them. Yesterday at the graduation, I gave so many hugs, brushed cheeks with so many people (according to the Latin American custom), and smiled for so many pictures that my glasses were thoroughly smudged, and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. Yes, I feel truly loved.

So, that´s my report. I´m bringing coffee home with me--several kinds. I had help picking it out, so I think it will be great. So, come over to my house and we´ll have coffee and talk about Peru! :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mark your calendar!

Greetings! I have dates for my Arts Thesis events. Details are below. This is my promotional picture. Cool, yes? It features me (playing the cello), my cello students, a mom of a cello student, and my co-teacher, Cat!

Praise the LORD with Stringed Instruments:
Instrumental Music as Participation and Contemplation

Praise the Lord with Stringed Instruments explores the use of instrumental music in Christian worship, especially in the Protestant context, through a series of three experimental worship services, each with progressively less words. Praise the Lord with Stringed Instruments seeks to challenge the nature of participation; the congregation’s involvement will be encouraged in listening and in contemplative prayer. Wordless music will become a means of being silent before God. Each worship service will be followed by a time of coffee discussion. The fourth worship service will serve as a reflection on the previous three services.

All events will take place at Vancouver First Christian Reformed Church, 2670 Victoria Drive, Vancouver, BC, at 7:30 p.m.

I: All Saints Day: Community
Saturday, November 1

II: Advent: Longing
Sunday, November 30

III: Epiphany: Joy
Sunday, February 22

IV: Lent: Reflection
Saturday, March 28