December 15, 2012

Don't Save It All For Christmas Day

This morning, I woke up groggily, ready to start the day, when I got on Facebook like I do everyday. This time, my timeline was filled with a lot of grief and sad posts of the same kind, talking about a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. The shooter had killed 17 kindergartners who were just starting out their lives. They were just starting this journey of life, and now they don't even get a chance to finish it, and they had no choice in the matter. It's hard to even begin to wrap your mind around, and I don't know that we can. Instead, all we can do is pray for peace and ask that God comforts and guides the families of those involved. My heart is heavy, as is the rest of America.

I knew it was going to be a busy day, and I knew that was going to get me into a weird mood. I started the day off with my devotion and some quiet time with God, which really gave me peace, even though I've been so distraught and out of it all this week. I had some coffee, then decided to start getting ready; took a shower, got dressed, put my makeup on, and curled my hair. Then, my mom and I ran some errands and had lunch. I was still feeling a bit out of it and not that cheery, but I wanted to be in a great mood in time for the concert. After we ate, I started feeling better. We still had a few minutes to kill, so I suggested Target.
We looked around for a little while, then my mom dropped me off at our church, which is where my friend, Viviyan works at the school. I stopped at the front office, where one of my old classmate's mom's, also a teacher there, was working in. She said hi to me and informed the other lady at the desk (I think it was her mom) that I used to be one of her sons best friends, which really brought a smile to my face. She explained how we all used to hang out and that sort of thing; I remember how close we used to be and reminded me of all the amazing times I had at that school, especially considering the news this morning. Miss Tomi walked me to Viviyan's classroom, and asked what I was doing with my life right now, and I explained that I was going to school for communications/liberal arts. She thought that was really cool and recalled how I used to be so shy, and she was proud of me for everything I was doing. It's always so good to run into her, and it reminds me of how far I've come.

Viviyan finished up things in her classroom, and watching the innocent faces of those of the little children, broke my heart so much of what happened earlier. They're so precious and it's just so unbelievably unfortunate that things like this happen in our world today. When Viviyan locked up her classroom, we grabbed coffee at Starbucks, then headed downtown to the convention center where our Christmas concert with our church was being held. We were afraid we'd be late, because things were supposed to start around 1:30, but when we got there, things were still being set up, and the band was still working some things out. The choir just hung out in the audience for awhile until we were needed.
We ran through quite a few songs, but not everything. And because time was limited, we weren't able to run through every transition and know exactly what was going to happen, so we were a little up in the air, but knew that everything would come together in the end. After we practiced, we had about an hour and a half of free time. We decided to eat dinner, which was set up nicely in a separate room. There were healthier snacks and drinks, and a local restaurant, Victor's catered. It was so good; beans, rice, chicken, salad, and chips. I felt sick afterwards, but because it was so good. I talked with Viviyan, her sister, and dad, then decided to head to the dressing room for the women to get ready.
It wasn't as busy as past years, but because there were only a few plugs around the room, we had to take turns with plugging in curling irons. I just had to touch up my makeup and hair, so it didn't take me too long. Then, Viviyan and I went exploring a bit, which is always fun.
We waited for the show to start; visiting with her family and mine, then chatting with the other choir members backstage. Finally, it was show time. Our pastors' son's band (also my hairdresser) played for about 30 minutes. They sang a few Christmas classics and a few of their own, which I really enjoyed. They're extremely talented musicians.

After about 30 minutes, it was time for the main event. Our pastor's wife, Lydia Ranger (I believe she's on itunes-look her up, she's incredible), was up, and so was the choir (us). There's just something so magical about setting foot on the stage; the lights coming up, the band kicking into gear, and seeing the beautiful faces of the audience. It gives me butterflies and just makes me smile every time. There's really nothing else like it! And I dream of the day that maybe someday I'll be able to do it on a nightly basis. Until then, I get to live out my rockstar dream once a year. And it never disappoints.
This year, we were only doing one show, which is rare (usually we've done at least 2-3), so it was like we had to really pour everything into tonight. There was no time for mess ups, just giving it everything we've got, and I really believe we did. I feel like this is probably the best show we've done since I've been doing it. Every year it gets bigger and better; this year was no exception. We had incredible musicians, crazy cool lighting, great media visuals, and of course, the music and message. We sang Joy To The World, Go Tell It On The Mountain, Shake Up Christmas, Oh Holy Night, and A Baby Changes Everything.
Our pastor spoke for a few minutes about how Jesus was born as a baby to be more relatable, not trying to scare us, because it's something the world had never seen. From that moment on, He changed everything; history and the lives of everyone on this earth, whether they believe it or not. That led into A Baby Changes Everything, which was so powerful after hearing the message. Even though I've grown up in church and I've basically known Christ my entire life, God has changed my entire life this year in so many ways. I was brought to tears knowing what He was doing around me in that very moment.
We wrapped up the concert, and that was the end. Everyone left the stage, and my feet were killing me. I had been taking my heels off in between breaks of us being on stage, and the first time, I thought I was going to cry from the pain. I never wear heels, so it probably wasn't the smartest move to just stand there for two hours in them, but what are you going to do? I survived it! I headed upstairs to the dressing room to get my stuff together, said goodbye to everyone and met up with my family. We took some pictures and stopped to talk with a few people, then headed home. We grabbed some food from Del Taco, and we were making fun of each other, which was hilarious! Also, my aunt surprised me with License To Wed (starring John Krasinski)...My night was most definitely made after that.
So, that was my night. I went to bed feeling full of that Christmas cheer I had been missing. I felt really full of love, knowing that not only do I have a family who loves me very dearly, but also incredible people at church that are there looking after me as well. Everything went really well, and I'm so happy with how the night turned out. I just wish it was more than one night, but since it's not...What a way to go!

That's all for now,

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