Tuesday, May 18, 2010

After 25 Years

Last year was an amazing year in my life for many reasons and one that is a continuation of a story that began 25 years ago. When I was 6 years old my family moved from the US to England to start a church ministry there. We first arrived and lived in the Birmingham area in a village called Hensford. I started attending the primary/elementary school there called Hazelslade Primary School and met a sweet girl names Julie Bennett. We became really good friends. I would often go to her house for lunch and we would play in her back garden/yard on her swing-set. We went to a farm one day together and fed calves and saw sheep and other animals.

My parents were praying for the Lord to direct them to the area of England in which they were supposed to start a church ministry. Eight months after we arrived in England they decided we needed to move to the East Anglia area, which is a bit of a distance (for England!) from the village of Hensford where we were living. I was very sad because I had made some lovely friends and would miss them, especially Julie. Julie's Mum made a little photo book of pictures of us and of Julie as a going away gift for me. I gave Julie a Bible as a going away gift. I had meant to get her address and write to her, but somehow either I never did or it was misplaced. Anyway I kept that picture album and would periodically look through it and remember my dear friend, Julie, and wonder how she was doing and what she was learning in school, and whether she was still friends with the same girls we were friends with together in Hazelslade.

Over the years as I grew up in England and would clean my room and clean my closets out, I would find the picture album and wonder again. I watched a show in England called "Surprise, Surprise" which was a show where they re-connected people that couldn't find each other. I would watch that show and wonder if I could write in and tell them about my friend Julie and see if they could find her for me. Little did I know my friend Julie was growing up in Hensford watching the same show and thinking exactly the same thing.

We both got on with our lives always wondering about the other person. We seemed to have a real connection as friends that spanned time. Julie fell in love and married and has a lovely family with a little girl, Leah. She became a pharmacist and doesn't live too far away from where she grew up. I stayed in England for a while, but then moved to the USA and did 6 years of university studies, fell in love and also married.

But a month before my wedding last year, I got a message on facebook from a Julie Hobday that said "I'm trying for find an old school friend. Is it you?" in the title and the message said "My name was Julie Bennett. When I was 7 years old I had a friend called Charity Palmer, who I have been trying to get in touch with. We went to Hazelslade Primary School, Staffordshire, England. Are you the same Charity Palmer? If so please get in touch." I couldn't believe it! I started squealing with excitment! I wrote her back immediately and we basically picked up where we had left off 25 years ago when we were 7 years old. She was equally exciting telling me she nearly hit the ceiling with excitment when I wrote back to her confirming that I WAS that Charity Palmer!

She then told me how she had wanted to find me all these years too and also how that she would look at her Bible and wonder about me. She also wondered about God because she was never taken to church or Sunday school as a child. Her husband was a believer in the Lord and through him and other things she began to search for the Lord and they started attending church together and taking their little girl, Leah with them. It was amazing how God used that little New Testament Bible to bring Julie to a desire to know more about God and also to keep us friends all these years, though we were apart.

So after 25 years I've found my dear childhood friend and it's as if we were never apart. I am so thankful to God for bringing us back together and of all thing through facebook! We have yet to actually meet again in person, but I am so excited about that day, hopefully in the near future. I know I will give her the biggest hug and probably cry for joy when we meet again in person! For now, skype is a wonderful tool to keep friends and loved ones in touch when they are miles apart! And I made sure I got her address and phone number this time!!

Love you Julie!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Halfway There

I cannot believe I am halfway through the pregnancy! The time is just flying by. Stephen said that it will go even faster when the baby comes, and I just can't believe it. All is going well, though, I am feeling great, have more energy and really enjoying my second trimester.

This week was my birthday, I turned 32, can't believe that either! I had a good day, met Stephen for our coffee date at Starbucks after lunch, then went to teach my piano and voice students at my studio at the Presbyterian Church, then came home to presents and leftovers! We are going to eat out at my favorite restaurant, P.F. Changs, tomorrow to celebrate too. Stephen bought me a beautiful pearl necklace for my birthday which I've been wearing every day this week so far! We are celebrating with James and Brittany on Saturday too, so that should also be lots of fun. Just an extended celebration!

Had a lovely morning with a friend from church, Michelle. She introduced me to the area just a couple miles north of us, Ooltewah. They have an organic and homegrown food market/health food store, and a lovely park with some nice walks around. We also went to the library for 'story time' for her kids and it was so sweet! It reminded me of when I taught kindergarten music. And they have a really nice Wal-Mart there which I think I will be going to for my grocery shopping in the future. The Wal-Mart I've been going to is under renovation and a big mess. And it doesn't always have the things I was used too. Anyway, it was a lovely morning!

I'm preparing still for baby, I bought brand new cloth diapers/nappies last week from e-bay for a GREAT price! Then another friend of mine purchased some more for me second hand from someone who hardly used them and they look new! So I should just about have enough now for the first 6 months; then I may need some bigger outer wraps as baby grows. It is so great how things are coming together.

The weather is getting very warm and I am concerned with July and August weather! I guess I will just stay in the house with the air-conditioning on and under a ceiling fan too!! Nothing like hibernating in the summer! LOL We'll see how it goes. I also need to purchase some more clothes, I now officially cannot get into any of my regular clothes. I have permission from my husband to get some more things so I shall be off to the shops and pray for bargains!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Choir Sharing

This week has been very busy with Stephen and I volunteering to help out a music education organization SouthEast Chapter of Kodaly Educators (SECKE). I am a member of the organization and was the co-secretary this past year. Anyway, we provide a couple of workshops throughout the year, and a choir festival once a year, called Choir Sharing, for school choirs to come and perform and be assessed. It lasts for two days and just the mornings. Stephen volunteered to record the choirs so they would be able to have a copy and listen to how well they performed on the day. We had lots of fun! I was basically helping to organize where people were to sit and how to get these choirs, with up to 75 kids in one choir, in and out of the auditorium quickly and quietly. Stephen and I arrived at 8am on Tuesday to set up the mics and recording equipment. The choirs started to come at 9:30am that morning and were continuous until about 12:30pm. Then we had lunch and then I went to teach my piano students from 2:30-6pm that night! Needless to say I was exhausted! I came home and sat on the couch while Stephen heated up our dinner (I had made a casserole the day before to last us for a couple of days!), I ate and litterally went to bed! The next day we were back there again at 8am and had the same routine except I could come home after lunch and didn't have to teach on Wed.

I think we had 21 different school choirs over the 2 days and we heard some very good singing! It was encouraging to see so many good music teachers giving students the opportunity to excel in music and learn to work together as a group to achieve! I took my choirs that I taught last school year to this last year, and I remember them really enjoying the experience and taking a lot away from it. We had a range of children from age 7 to 14. The 7 year olds were my favorite, they sang a lullaby and it was so precious I cried! I think it was the pregnancy hormones but still it was just lovely! There were 40 or more 7 year olds all standing up there on the stage and when they came to sit in the audience they were the best behaved children we had all day! I did have to accompany for one choir that was missing their accompanist. Our Choir Sharing director came up to me and asked me Wed morning if I would be able to accompany for this one choir as their accompanist had tripped over a pre-schooler the previous day and got a concussion! It would have been funny had the lady not received a concussion from the event! Anyway, it was good to be of service to a choir director in need!

Thankfully I am feeling much better and have more stamina this week to be able to help with this event. Yesterday I just rested to make sure I am ok. Baby seems to be fine, I haven't felt baby move yet, or not anything significant enough to speak of. My doctor did say that it could be up to 24 weeks before I feel baby move, so we will see.

Getting ready for our Mother and Daughter dinner this Saturday as Mother's Day is this Sunday. I have been asked to speak for our dinner so I am studying and praying for God's will. I am learning so much from the study and really enjoying it. We are doing Titus 2:3-5 and how it can relate to a mother and daughter relationship too. I've been doing a word by word study on the passage and then will try to tie in how my mother is truly a Titus 2 older woman! I also want to challenge the younger women to be humble in listening to the advise of the older women in the church and not think they know more than them. Sometimes we younger women can be a bit prideful and we need to be mentored by those who have gone before us and learned great lessons from the Lord in how to raise their children, love their husbands, and take care of their homes. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers!