Monday, September 30, 2013

My Picks for the 2013 MLB Postseason

Here are my predictions for the 2013 Major League Baseball postseason...

In the American League Wild Card tiebreaker, the Texas Rangers will win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

In the American League Wild Card Game, the Texas Rangers will win over the Cleveland Indians.

In the National League Wild Card Game, the Cincinnati Reds will win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In the American League Division Series, the Boston Red Sox will win over the Texas Rangers in five games, and Detroit Tigers will win over the Oakland Athletics in four games.

In the National League Division Series, the St. Louis Cardinals will win over the Cincinnati Reds in five games, and the Los Angeles Dodgers will win over the Atlanta Braves in four games.

In the American League Championship Series, the Detroit Tigers will win over the Boston Red Sox in six games.

In the National League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers will win over the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

In the World Series, the Detroit Tigers will win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.

We'll see how I do. What are your predictions? And how should I reward myself for each correct prediction?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Day I Gave to God

For those of us in education, ministry, and the performing arts (and I am in all three), September generally means our schedules are full, full, and full. My September has fulfilled that annual tradition. The main challenge that comes with multiple jobs is that each, even though part-time, requires a separate expenditure of mental energy. More often than not I go to bed with my head spinning with the details of that day’s activities and conversations, not to mention the details of those to come the next day.

Last week Wednesday was a particularly busy day mentally. I spent the morning lesson planning and practicing at home, the afternoon at Wheaton College on Artist Series business (which involved several meetings and phone calls, so lots of energy-sapping talking), and the evening on a coffee date and then a phone date – each with a friend I had not talked to for some time (more talking). Every part of the day was welcomed and successful, but still draining. As I went to bed Wednesday night, I had my two friends’ anecdotes competing with all the details of the day’s work and the anticipation of what I had planned for the next day. I also felt like I was starting to get sick. So I tossed and turned for hours.

When my alarm went off at 5:35 AM Thursday morning, I felt the tiredness. Usually a shower helps me wake up, but this day it didn’t. As I sat down in front of my bowl of cereal, I said, “Okay, God, this one’s on you.” I knew there was no way I could manage the full day ahead by myself.

Thursday ended up being an immensely satisfying and successful day to match Wednesday. Thursday is one of the days I teach at Faith Christian Academy, and though I felt tired during classes, I found myself able to deliver instruction accurately and efficiently. I even had enough energy after dinner to spend an hour or so catching up on emails and blog reading that had piled up while I was teaching. God came through and then some. I can take absolutely no credit for that day’s successes.

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name my exult in you.

Psalm 5:11 (ESV)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Year Ahead

Time for a quick update on the various activities that fill my schedule. Since most of them align with the school year, which is just under way, I feel it is a very appropriate time for this update.

In short, I am continuing with the three professional engagements I had last school year.

I continue on the faculty of Faith Christian Academy in Geneva as Band Director. Term began this week, and my classes begin next week. I have a talented group of students that loves to have fun, and I really enjoy being in class with them. Concerts, festivals, and recitals will fill our schedule this year.

I am also continuing as Orchestra Director at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park. Our first rehearsal is this Saturday, and our first appearance in worship services is two weekends later. A few new people have joined our ranks for this coming season, and I am looking forward to our regular Sunday morning ministry and our special seasonal projects.

And finally, I remain part of the Wheaton College Artist Series team. My focus this season will be on community events and outreach, helping to develop the Series' presence in our community and tell the story of what we have to offer. Opening Night is just three weeks from tomorrow!

There is a moderate amount of regularity to my schedule, but at the same time every week is a little bit different - usually due to a concert event. I am so grateful to have so many opportunities to apply my professional training and experience, and work with so many great people.