Tag Archives: Music

cute, but no.



From the official scrapbook of my life: Birth-High School. Melody is standing at the podium in the middle picture. And please notice Janine and my matching dresses as well as my amazingly sporty watch in the bottom picture. 


I was the quintessential copycat child, much to the chagrin of my sister. My sister had been playing piano for quite a while, which meant I, of course, decided that I must play as well. Mom ran me through the usual responsibility questions: “Will you practice regularly? Are you sure you want to do this? Will you obey what your instructor says?” My answer was yes. So begins the adventure we put our wonderful piano teacher on.
Her name was Melody. She was an amazing teacher who valued punctuality, short fingernails, proper counting and timing, and excellence. At that point in my life I, in contrast, valued doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, not practicing if I didn’t like a piece, and having my free will go unchallenged. You can see where this took us.

Melody’s house was nestled in a nice neighborhood about 15 minutes away from our house in Kansas. Her front door was unlocked during lesson times. We would walk in, and quietly wait for her current students to leave before we walked in. She was ever so cheery on a regular basis. Positivity was her ally…which came in handy with frustrating students who wouldn’t practice…like me. There were so many times where I’d sit down at the piano in her studio and eek out my version of “close enough” on an assigned song. She’d gently lean in and with a chuckle say, “Cute, but no.” Then in the next moment, i’d be writing in the counts and counting out loud.

The subject of my practicing, or lack thereof, came up often in the parent/teacher conferences Melody had with my mom (or I’m at least assuming it did…). I’m guessing it was more of a widespread issue than just me, because at one point, Melody told parents that if their practice-averse students didn’t start working a little harder, she was going to drop them. I knew that I was in that category.
But then my secret weapon kicked in.
Melody didn’t drop me – for one reason: I was funny. So there’s that. 🙂

a great gift.

My sister Janine used to play keyboards in the band at church. As little siblings do, I wanted to do what Janine did…but differently. Because after all, I’m the youngest and am experiencing the world fully at the ripe age of 11. In my clearly (not) rational mind, the whole world revolves around me (even though mom tells me differently quite often). I found my mom’s old classical guitar in a basement closet. I brought it upstairs and showed it to mom, who helped me understand how to read a chord chart. Then I picked up some of Janine’s sheet music and started trying to sound it out. I remember getting so excited about what I was learning that I wanted to stay up late playing. Much to my chagrin, my playing just wasn’t quiet enough to fly under the radar of superhuman parent hearing (I’m still not sure how they managed to hear everything all the time. Maybe it is one of God’s gifts to parents?).
Not long after getting the guitar bug, we went on a family skiing vacation in Colorado. We made a stop at a friend’s house on the way. My parents were so proud of my playing progress that they brought it up during our visit. Janine had played in the band with the oldest son a few years before, so when the guitar topic came up, he was listening. To be honest, I was probably in the “oh goodness, my parents are talking about me again…this is awkward” phase, so I don’t remember what was said. The one thing I do remember was that before we left, something happened that took me utterly off guard. One moment, I was hugging everyone goodbye. In the next moment, the oldest son put something in my hand that rendered me speechless. It was one of his electric guitars. He looked me in the eyes and said that he believed in me and wanted me to have the guitar so I can continue learning.
That one gift – so freely and graciously given, propelled my love of music forward. It led the way to so many experiences that I couldn’t have imagined otherwise.
That guitar is off living its next life at college with my cousin. A gift that good must be passed on. Thanks for believing in me, Jason!

Beautiful Things

Me and my guitar…a few years ago
Photo Credit: Sharon Swing Photography

This morning, I did something that I haven’t done in a long, long time.

I co-led worship in front of about 80 people, alongside my friend Mel on the keys, and Sue and HannaMarie on vocals.

The events of the past day or so have been oddly connected on one topic: Identity.
Last night at Student Impact, Pat talked about the importance of having our identity rooted in Christ, and Christ alone.  Through listening to his talk and leading small group, I came to realize that not everything I do is rooted in Christ…and that came to a head when I co-led this morning.  I realized afterwards that I was waiting for people to come tell me how wonderful I did, like I needed to hear every word and eat it for dinner…then I caught myself.

How often do I rely on the praise of others instead of being secure in who God has told me I am?

More often than not, I fall into this rut.  It is frustrating, to be sure.  But, there is comfort in knowing that even though I am imperfect and frequently place my identity in things, positions, or traits, God still loves me.  I told my small group girls last night that finding identity in Christ is never a process that one simply “arrives” at the finish line.

This is wonderful, yet terrible.  It is wonderful in that I can know that there is always something new to find or work on – there is always a new adventure to be had and new traits to discover.  It is terrible in that it isn’t a process where I can check off progress on a neat to-do list.

But through it all, I can take comfort in knowing that God is with me through it all.  He doesn’t expect me to be perfect, he just expects me to come…just as I am.

It reminds me of one of the songs we sang today:

“You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us.”
– Gungor, “Beautiful Things”


Flashback Friday: The Adventures of College Life V

When I posted this back in September of 2007, I got in some trouble with mom.  Apparently, I decided to write about the near-death experience that I had just had before calling mom…so she found out about the whole ordeal through my writing.  As is customary, I didn’t provide the details she needed to know – like if my new camera was with me, if I was hurt, etc.  Grandma even got in on the whole thing and called mom to make sure I was okay.

Man.  Freshman year was entertaining!
Brace yourself for this one!


The main happenings of my life since last Sunday – Band Auditions, Touring the Tulsa World newspaper facility, and the Honors Program retreat.

My bass at auditions

So, last Wednesday was auditions for the chapel worship band. Was I nervous?  A little…but I don’t get nervous very easy…But anyway…
Auditions started at 5, so naturally, I got there around 4:45 to be on the safe side. I met up with Sharon and Kaley (Sharon was auditioning for keys, Kaley was moral support) and the fun began. I was the only girl bass auditionee out of a group of maybe 15 guys. I was #11 on the list. They had us group with our judge for the instrument we were auditioning for. The guys oddly enough made a circle around the guy and happened to leave me out. Don’t worry, it all worked out, b/c I knew most of the information my judge was communicating to the group. So, finally they tell us that we can go sit in the audience and listen/watch while the main band played the two songs for us so that we could know the order. The Lord was very good to me, because He had helped me figure out how to practice bass to music without an amp…I just put my ear flush on my bass and I can hear it! yay! So, while the other bass guys are watching, i’m practicing. I know that I got several weird looks, because it just looks weird to see someone playing bass with their head layed on the top… So we waited for a long time while they got to bass player #11. ..me. I get up there and play. Sharon tells me that the bass judge was mezmorized, which slightly fascinates me to some degree. He tells me later that he wants me to stick around and play again. So, I did. I didn’t feel totally confident in what I played, because it is really hard to play confident when other band members are unsure of themselves. But the good Lord gave me the strength to press on to win the prize. In summary (cause this is getting really long and I have a lot more to write about) I made callbacks…which meant that I played again the following night at 5. As I looked at the callback list, I noticed that my name was #1 on the list. I shrugged and moved on. Later on, Becca Rose (Chapel band acoustic player) informed me that the placement of my name under #1 wasn’t due to alphabetic sorting…hmmmm…
So I got to callbacks, played, was decently confuzzled about how I felt I did, and moved on with life.

This is the point where the stories merge like a car on the highway.

So Friday rolls around, which means that it was time to 1) get ready to go on HP retreat and 2) go on a tour of the Tulsa World newspaper.

Friday morning I spent sleeping/packing/thinking. I went to chapel, loved Jesus and the speaker, then quickly went back to my room to grab a granola and goldfish (Thanks Starla!) and move my little rear down to the fishbowl (the area between the dorms) to meet two friends from class. Since I was driving, I got down to the fishbowl early. My two passengers arrived pretty swiftly (cough), and we began our adventure to downtown Tulsa. Once we got to the Tulsa World location at 6th and Boulder, we found a parking spot 3 blocks away, and trekked towards our group. The previous tour started late, due to conflicts with chapel. Our tour was about 15 minutes late starting, but we made it up.

Let me just say that the newspaper plant was just like it looks on the TV shows. The plant is just as complicated as they say.

Okay so let’s fast forward to 4:00, when all of the honors students met outside of security. So here we are, all gaggled up in a confusing mess waiting for further direction. Eventually, we all piled into cars and started on our journey. The conversations in the car I was riding in were very interesting…I just love listening to analysis of midevil literature and Tolkien’s works for about two hours….Honors students….*sigh*

So, we get to the campsite, claim our stakes for sleeping quarters, and commence the funness. Let’s fast forward again to the most suspenseful part of the whole trip: the canoeing adventure.

*begin light, happy music*

So, me, Colleen (you made it to the blog!), and Amanda all pile into a car with Gretchen and our lovely taxi driver whose name I cannot remember. We helped unload the canoes from Dr. Seaman’s canoe rack.


Colleen, Amanda and I piled into a canoe with Amanda at the helm, Colleen at the navigator’s position (middle), and me at the stern. We commenced our journey. Please bear with me as we fast forward once more (*happy music gets faster*)

So, we come around this bend, and boom. there’s a log. A big log. A huge log that was blocking the whole river. The boat ahead of us had slowed down, so we did too. A canoe behind us ended up capsizing, leaving its occupants clinging for dear life on the log.

**Please note that none of these descriptions are exaggerated. I’m seriously not kidding in the least.

Meanwhile, I get out of my canoe and step onto the log to help people, and get my canoe over the log. I somehow slipped, and ended up in the water fighting the current. Thankfully, I still had a hold on my boat.

**Please note that tons of things were all happening at once. Bear with me as I attempt to explain.

The boat that capsized was upside down, and caught on something under the log. Colleen and I were trying to free the boat, to no avail. Meanwhile, Tyler (one of our heroes) was helping also. All of the sudden the canoe went right under the log, taking me with it as far as the log, where I stayed. As I clinged to the log thinking about my next move, Amanda, the amazing woman, was over on the bank knee-deep in mud holding on to two boats. Suddenly, I was pulled under the log into the water. Amanda screamed, but I didn’t hear. Jesus pulled me up, right by the canoe that went under. Right away, my Civil Air Patrol, “let’s get things done now” mentality kicked in, and I began looking for a place to lodge the sinking canoe. Jesus was very gracious and gave me a log in the middle of the river. His timing is so perfect! Not long after I lodged the canoe, Tyler had helped two girls go under the log and out to the other side. They came floating right towards me. Once they got to the boat, I decided to look for our lost paddle, so I waded to shore and ran downstream and back up. I didn’t find the paddle. Shucks.

As i’m coming back up I see Colleen at the lodged boat, along with a green canoe moving fast towards them. I yelled to watch for the canoe. Colleen’s interpretation goes as follows:

“Who’s that blue blob yelling at us?”
“That’s Joy…”
“Joy! YAY!”

They caught the canoe, and safely lodged it. By the time I got back to the “dock” area, we had two capsized canoes, with one upright one lodged ahead. My big lake canoe training from Brookhill Ranch summer camp kicked in, and I instructed the group in the process of flipping over a waterlogged canoe. Jesus gave us amazing strength, and we got both canoes flipped over. Not long after, our two lifeguard heroes,Moselle and Tyler, came downstream, and we deducted that one of them should stay behind to warn the next group. Tyler stayed.

Thankfully, God kept us all alive, leaving the site with only scratches and bruises. 😀

Once we got back to the cabin, we told our story. The group that was about to embark didn’t really believe our story, because it had so many crazy details. In reality, we weren’t exaggerating at all. Thanks to Tyler and Mo’s amazing skills, all of us from that first trip are alive! yayyy!

Later that night, we played two rounds of Picture Telephone (Pictophone) with 18-21 people in the rounds. It took like two hours to do the rounds! It rocked.

This morning, we got up, packed, and came back to campus.

So goes my exciting update.
I am now worn out from writing this.
It definately took me like a half hour or more with a break for lunch and laundry in the middle.

I hope you enjoyed it!

And as a side note, I definately burned a little part of my lip with a marshmallow skewer.



So, i’m on the phone with my grandma, and she informed me that I forgot to include the results of auditions.


I am primary for Worship Tours (international tours over the summer)
and I am alternate for Chapels!



So was the life of Joy in 2007.  Not only did I make the worship team, but I ended up heading overseas to Slovenia and Romania on worship tours that summer for three weeks.  I played bass for ORU during my freshman and sophomore years, and transitioned out during my junior year, as I moved into a more media-focused mindset.

Since the story of the log is written out, it is lacking in the sound effect department, which is usually in play during the retelling.  If you’d like to hear the sound effects, let me know, and I’ll do a dramatic recreation, just for you. 🙂


Pizza and a Jam

Last Friday night, I embarked on a “first.”  I hosted a jam session. You may say, “But Joy, you’re a musician!  Surely you have had jam sessions before!” Well, yes…but always in the awkward in-between moments at rehearsals for services.  That’s different.  We are talking about a stripped-down, no-plan, just-us-and-a-few-guitars type of jam session.

Before we get into all of that, let’s back up a few hours.

In order to have a good jam session, pizza is a must.  I’ve been perfecting a conglomeration of recipes that I found online…and this time, it all came together perfectly.  Here’s what I did:

Crust: Takes 2 hours to rise
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil (and some extra for later)
1 1/2 tsp salt (2 tsp also works well)
(string cheese for stuffed crust option)

Mix together yeast and salt
Add in 2 tbsp of honey
Add 1 cup warm water to it (warm, but still comfortable to the touch)
combine all the ingredients, let sit for 5 minutes to let the yeast activate
Add oil and 1 cup of flour.  Wait to add the last cup until the last cup is fully mixed in.  Add the next cup.  Then add the last 1/4 cup.  Mix until it is a “supple dough”
If desired, take the dough out of the mixing bowl and knead.
Lightly oil a big bowl, put the dough in it.  Spray a little oil on top, put plastic wrap over the bowl, and put it in a draft-free place for two hours
The dough should make 2 medium or 1 large pizza.
Punch it down and transfer it to a floured board. Make sure there’s flour on both sides of the dough and then only use more flour if the dough starts sticking to your hands.
Use the sides of your hands to create the border, push it down in the center and use your hand or finger tips to gently stretch the dough while turning it around.
For stuffed crust:
Stretch the crust larger than the pan.
Put in rolls of string cheese, fold crust over and spray with oil.
Pre-bake for 5 minutes on 475.
Put on toppings,
bake at 475 for around 15 minutes
Crushed tomatoes – one 28 Oz can
Olive oil – 1/4 cup (Extra virgin preferred)
Garlic – 4 cloves chopped fine
Dried oregano – 1 tsp
Dried Basil – 1 tsp (use fresh about 1 TBSP if available)
Salt – to taste
Black Pepper – crushed to taste
Lemon juice – about 3 TBSP from half of a big lemon or 3TBSP of vinegar
Cayenne – 1/2 tsp
In a sauce pan, heat olive oil. It need not get too hot. Add the chopped garlic. Don’t let it toast and get brown. Add the crushed tomatoes. Stir. Add salt, crushed pepper, cayanne if using, lemon juice and the dried herbs. Rub the herbs on your palm and then add it to the pot. Stir occasionally and bring it to a simmer. Adjust the seasonings and switch off the heat.This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Sounds delicious, right?  That’s because it is!  Usually I make two large pizzas, each of which have two sets of toppings – Pepperoni, sausage and onion, hawaiian, and an “everything” section that has all of the leftover toppings from the other parts all mixed together.  Trust me – this is a winning recipe!
So I set the stage for the epic jam session with pizza.  Then the party began.  Over dinner, we talked about odd family quirks, “therapy fund” moments, and we shared many laughs.  One of the biggest laughs came from one of my family’s favorite YouTube clips of Joe Cocker singing at Woodstock…and the translation of what it sounds like he is saying.  Just for you – “A Little Help From My [Fred]”
Inspired by this, and aching from uproarious laughter, we began the jamming…and it was AWESOME.  John pulled out his 12 string and banjo, I played my acoustic and a little bass. Our vocal section was strongly representing as Tom, Sharon, Kristen and Suzie rocked it out.
In conclusion, I think this concept of jam sessions may continue.  Stay posted.

Jammin’ like rockstars – Photo Credit: Kristen