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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sunday Snippets: A Farewell to 2016!


Psalm 65:11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.

Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

Here we are, by the grace of God, at the close of another year. And what a year it has been! As the verse says, God crowns each year with His goodness. Today I'll be doing a recap of my year, both with this blog, and personally. I hope this year was a blessed and growth-rich time for each of you as well!

First off, I have some sad news and glad news. The sad news is that this will be my last "Sunday Snippet", as such. Don't worry, though! Lord willing I am going to be doing posts a couple times a week still, with at least one of them being basically what Sunday Snippets has been--a post based on a thought or idea from a passage of Scripture, and how it has encouraged me. :) I am not sure exactly what kind of posts I will be replacing them with, or if I will do a specific weekly post? I'm still working out blog plans for the New Year, based on the feedback I got from my recent survey. (Thank you so much to all who completed that! :)

This year's most popular posts were kind of a surprise to me as far as their order. I had several wonderful guest posts this year, that were towards the top in popularity! If you see one you missed before, you can check them out by clicking the titles:

I think this topic is pretty near and dear to people's hearts. Everyone has had to make a tough decision before!

My journey through the Bible in a month.

A wonderful guest post by Elizabeth.

Another wonderful guest post by Kimberly.

And the number one post for 2016 was....

Like I said, that one really surprised me that it was number one, because it was a very short post about a good quote I found on Pinterest. Nothing huge. But you guys liked it. ;) I'm thinking about doing more of this type of post this next year.

January 1, 2017 is the one year anniversary of when Making Music for the Master was started. I was so clueless about blogging at that time; actually I kind of still am...but to those of you who still read my poorly formatted, not-too-well-written posts, and continued to encourage me in growing this blog, thank you so, so much. You are each such a blessing to me!

Besides starting the blog, in 2016 I have moved 2 hours south of where I used to live, thus not having to drive two hours to church every week. ;) How awesome is that?! Also, I love living in a bigger city...once I got used to driving in traffic. I transferred my job, so I now work at a huge four-story library instead of a one-level, quite small one. 

I took a trip to Oklahoma to see Kimberly, and had quite a number of firsts on that trip! ;) My first roller coaster. My first earthquake. My first time eating gravy over fries over a burger over Texas toast. My first time spending 30 minutes laughing at a set of magnets. (inside joke. I promise it was funny. ;) My first time ziplining. My first time going through a cave, 50 stories underground. It was a good trip. 

I turned 20...crazy stuff. My thoughts on that here.

I helped host a group of 20 from Alaska who came to help out with a mass outreach here. A highlight of my year, honestly: those few days were so, so special and fun! The day after they left, my dad, Mercy, and I went on a 10 day trip to Wyoming--another highlight. (It's been a good year with lots of highlights, what can I say?? ;P) Then we went to the missions conference at my home church. Always a blessing.

This holiday season I have applied for a full time job, spent a day in the hospital, got my wisdom teeth removed and laughed at my craziness afterwards, went to visit family in Oregon, and worked as a receptionist at the library headquarters. 

God has been so good this year! I think one of the biggest areas I have grown in is that of prayer. It has become more of a habit for me to pray throughout the day as I work on different tasks, etc. An area I want to grow in this next year is that of patience with my siblings. Some of them can be hard to get along with...who knew?! ;) 

My top favorites from this year?

Songs:
Mary Did You Know. Never a favorite before, but this arrangement...wow!
Jubilate Deo by Dan Forrest. Especially this movement.
Though You Slay Me. So pretty!!

Books:
Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar.
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare.
In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar...can you tell she is one of my favorite authors? ;P

Movies:
(Not endorsing everything in every movie. Or book, either. Obviously.)
Finding Dory. I don't care that everyone hates on the Disney sequels. I loved this! And I loved Cars 2, and I loved Monsters U, and yeah, just get over it. ;)
War Room. While I don't love everything about this movie, it was a really good encouragement. 
Ben Hur. I'm only putting this on because of how pleasantly surprised I was by this movie. I always thought that the Charlton Heston classic had spoiled me for enjoying any other Ben Hur. And while this version completely slaughtered the original storyline, as a movie I did enjoy it! There was a surprising lack of garbage in it.


As we ring in the New Year, let's not forget to take time to reflect on the old one, ok? Take some time to plan for how this coming year can be one of spiritual growth, most of all. I love New Years, because it is a time of gratefulness for what is past, and hopefulness for what is to come. Isn't it good to know that God is in control of your life this year? :) I love you all, and thank you once again for an amazing year with this blog. I hope to continue making music with you for as long as The Lord allows!

365 new days. 365 new chances to serve The King!
Love,
Mykaela

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Merry Christmas!!


Matthew 1:21-23 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Here I am again, apologizing for a late post. ;) This time I had a really good excuse though...I spent Christmas Eve in the hospital. :/ Not so fun. Don't worry, it's nothing too serious, and I am on the upward road, but let's just say yesterday was a bit of a long day. :) Praise The Lord I was able to make it to church this morning, which was such a blessing and an answer to prayer!!

I just want to take this Sunday Snippet to think about the incredible truth of what happened as God became man. Over 2000 years ago, The God of the universe became a man, and came to this planet that He created. Just think about that for a minute. 

Wow.

It never ceases to blow me away how God chooses to work out His plans. If you had asked any good Jew around the time of Christ what they thought the Messiah would be, I'm sure they would have answered something along these lines: "Oh, the Messiah will be a great King! He will come with ceremony, majesty, and power. He will sweep down on our enemies, and quickly destroy them off the face of the earth. Immediately after that He will set up His kingdom and reign over us!" 

Well...was that how it happened? Not exactly. While Messiah was a great and powerful King, He didn't appear from the clouds and rush down on the earth with the sound of a trumpet. That's going to be how His second coming is! No, God chose a humble young woman, most likely younger than I am now, who was submitted to His will. Mary was not sinless, and neither was Joseph. They were both simply seeking to serve God with their lives. When Jesus was born in the Bethlehem stable, there was no pomp and circumstance. 

And whom did God choose to alert first to the coming of His Son? Some of the poorest class of society. A group of shepherds. Farm hands. Don't you think that when the Shepherds left the stable from worshipping at Christ's feet, and went to blaze abroad their story, that they probably raised some eyebrows?? I should certainly think so! My mom put it like this: These people had a choice to make. Many of them probably turned up their noses at the message that the Shepherds brought, saying, "IF the Messiah actually did come, you would most definitely not be the first to know!" It must have been difficult for those men, trying to spread the wonderful, amazing news that they had heard and seen, and having people ignore or disbelieve them! (Hmm, sounds familiar.)

Lastly, I love the way God's Word tells us so many different prophecies that were fulfilled through this one night in history. The Messiah will be born in the city of David. Check. He will be conceived in a virgin's womb. Check. He will save His people from their sins! Praise God, that one was fulfilled too!! 

This evening, as we close out the beautiful and holy day of celebration, let's not let our hearts let go of the beauty of what Christ did for us. We should celebrate the love God showed us that night, all year round!! 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with memories, fun, and most of all, praise to God. I am so thankful for each of you! Merry Christmas,
Mykaela

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

POLL POST!! :)


Hello everyone!
I'm not sure if you guys knew this, but I started "Making Music for The Master" on January 1st of 2016! That means that we are coming up on a whole year of this blog being in existence, which I think is pretty cool. :) I'm very excited about this anniversary, and am trying to think of ways that I can possibly update the blog in new ways this coming year. 

This is where you as my awesome readers come in. I don't have a massive following, (that's never been my goal). However, I do want to write things that are pertinent and that you all enjoy. No one wants to read a boring blog. ;) Also, I will be attempting to build up the readership a bit more through better planning, more user friendly layout, etc.

What I need from you is a quick feedback response. I have created a survey, (don't worry, it's only 8 super easy questions ;), to help me get responses from you guys. I would love it if you could fill that out! You can find it here, and I'll also send it out via email. 

Speaking of email...if you would prefer to write me an email to give feedback instead, please feel free! My new blog email is makingmusic4themaster@gmail.com

I am so deeply thankful for each and every one of you, and the special ways in which you contribute to this blog, and to my life! This blog wouldn't be here without you guys. (To quote Monsters, Inc., "I wouldn't have nothin' if I didn't have you!") ;P 

Most of all, I am thankful to God for allowing me to start and keep up this blog. It has been such a blessing to me as I study for the posts, and interact with you all...even to meet some new friends through it! I hope to continue Making Music together for as long as The Lord allows. God bless you all! Much love,
Mykaela

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sunday Snippets: 5 Ways You Can be a Godly Giver


2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Sorry about the late post this week...the last few days have been a bit crazy with work, etc. :)

I can't believe that Christmas is less than a week away!! I'm always a bit sad when the Christmas season draws to a close; it's my favorite time of year. (As if I haven't already said that. ;)

In this season of giving, so many have a really wrong idea of what it truly means to give in a Godly way. We as Christians need to have our focus on the right things, at Christmas time just as any other time! So what does this mean in practice? Here are five characteristics of a Godly giver. (Note: this verse is usually applied to the aspect of giving to the church in tithes and offerings. However, today I'm going to broaden the application out to include giving in general. :)



  • Godly givers purpose in their heart beforehand what they can give. They do not go into debt in order to give extravagant gifts that are beyond their current means. They also put thought into what they do get. Whether they make homemade gifts, or buy them, they consider what they are doing and think about what the recipient of the gift would like or need.

  • Godly givers do not give grudgingly. Someone with a Christlike attitude is not going to be saying, "Ugh, I guess. Here. You owe me." They give without expectation or demands for a return gift.

  • Going hand in hand with the last one, Godly givers do not give of necessity. They don't only give to someone when that person has done something nice for them, or to "pay off a debt". They give because they truly want to be a blessing to another person!

  • Godly givers are cheerful in their sharing. They understand that there is a very specific blessing reserved for those who give in the right way. They give with a joyful heart, knowing that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

  • Godly givers do not just give at Christmas or other holidays, nor do they give only to those who are nice to them. They give unselfishly, no matter the person or the circumstances.
Think for a moment about the greatest gift of all time, given by the Father to the world. God did not give His only Son with a sour attitude, but with a love that we can never fathom. Jesus did not give His life grudgingly or of necessity. He owed us nothing. Less than nothing. In fact, we all deserve to perish anyway. And yet He still gave His all in order to rescue us. With such an example before us, how can we not give in the same way? 

This Christmas, I want to challenge you to strive to be a Godly giver. The THINGS you are giving do not matter! If all you can give is a smile, or a hug, or a listening ear...do it with a cheerful heart. God loves and blesses those who give as He did.

I have a four day weekend for Christmas, so I am really excited about that! I look forward to spending time with my family. I hope all of you have a blessed week! What are some of your favorite things about Christmas? <3
Mykaela

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Feeling The Joys and Sorrows


Romans 12:15
  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Ok, so I have posted about this verse before, and with a very similar topic line. (You can read that post here.)  I just thought it was important enough to reiterate. :) 

Empathy. An often misunderstood and misused word. A lot of people think that empathy and sympathy are one and the same, but just because they sound similar does not mean they are the same thing! That's like thinking that bricks and sticks are the same because they have some of the same letters. ;) Here is a story to illustrate the difference between the two. 

Once upon a time, a hedgehog was walking through the woods, feeling very down in the dumps. She was crying as she walked along, so much so that she missed the hole in front of her in the path! She tumbled in and landed with a plop. This of course made her day a whole lot brighter. Not. Along came a squirrel, carrying a new rope ladder for his tree house, and seeing her crying in the hole, looked sadly down upon her. "Ooh, that looks really dark and scary down there!", the squirrel said. "You must be super sad to be crying like that...I feel so bad for you! Want a sandwich, or a lollipop maybe? No? K, well, I'll be seeing you...Hope things clear up soon!" Shaking his head, the squirrel continued down the path. Soon, a chipmunk arrived on the scene, also carrying a new rope ladder. Instead of gazing sorrowfully into the gap, he let down the ladder, and descended to the floor of the hole. He sat down next the hedgehog. "It's dark and scary down here.", he said, his eyes filling with tears at her distress. "I can see that it's been a very hard day for you. The ladder is over there when you need it, but I'm going to stay with you until you're ready."

This is just a silly story, and probably not the clearest illustration either, but do you see the difference? Sympathy looks at the suffering of others with sadness. Empathy is having the suffering of others in your own heart! Feeling their pain, so to speak. Not just giving condolences or a clap on the back and walking off. 

This verse about rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep, is one that is short but packs a punch. Do we do this as much as we should? I think a lot of times we are afraid of showing a lot of emotion (whether joy or sorrow), for fear of being thought overly sensitive or babyish. And while we do need to be careful not to let emotions rule us, I think there are way too many people who are not willing to empathize with others like the Bible commands. 

Empathy is not just feeling others' suffering, though...it's feeling their joy, too! What is wrong with laughing and rejoicing with someone who just got good news or had something wonderful happen? For goodness' sake, if you can't do that, you need to loosen up a little! Or a lot, actually! ;) There have been times that I have been super excited about something, and couldn't wait to tell someone I loved. And then when I told them, it was kind of...meh. They were glad for me, but it didn't really mean anything to them. Okay, I get it if my passion is not your thing. That's fine! Everyone is different, which is wonderful. However, if I am passionate about something, you could try to have the slightest bit of joy with me about it! ;) Maybe I am just getting on a soapbox here, but my point is that we need to quit being such fuddy-duddy stick in the muds that we can't empathize with those around us. As an old pastor friend of ours used to say:


"Y'all look like you've done been baptized in pickle juice!!"

Let's get rid of the pickle juice, ok? :) The next time someone needs you, don't just offer them a sandwich and move on. Get down in that dark place with them. Cry with them. Laugh with them. Pray that God will give you the words and ability to be a Christlike friend to that person. God will bless you for it! 

I hope you all have a good week! Is it snowy where you live? We have about 6 inches here, and it is gorgeous!!! :) I'm dreaming of a white Christmas... ;)
Mykaela

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Fun Post: November Favorites


I was wondering why I felt like I had just written a favorites post, and then I realized it was because my last one was so ridiculously late, I might as well have just combined it with November. But I didn't. So here we are. ;) I've been...

Reading...
Through the Bible in 30 days! (I posted on that here). Finishing the last verse in Revelation on November 30th was one of the most exciting, fulfilling things I've ever accomplished. It felt so, so good to know that I had stuck it through all the way! I've also been reading Counted With the Stars, by Connilyn Cossette. It's the first book in a series, and this author is a new one for me, but so far I am really enjoying it! The book is about a young Egyptian girl who makes the decision to take refuge with the Hebrews when they leave the land after the devastating plagues. Interesting plot line! 

Writing...
My first Christmas song! I love Christmas so much, and the wonder of God being born as a man is so amazing to me, I figured it was about time that I write about it. ;) 

Travelling...
To Salem, Oregon for Thanksgiving. I had a really good time there, as always. My extended family is extremely large, so we always have a Thanksgiving celebration in a nearby church. They kindly let us use their facilities, which include a MASSIVE gym and industrial kitchen. Since there are usually around 30 or more in our party, it's really nice to have a place like that to spread out, play ball, talk, eat, eat, eat... ;P

Munching on...
Pretzels in ranch. GUYS. THIS IS AMAZING. I can't stop, I need an intervention! ;D And my brother Malachi recently discovered that if you mix mustard and ranch, it makes an EVEN MORE amazing pretzel dip!!! We need to market this stuff. ;)

Listening to...
A LOT of Christmas music. Papa did me the wonderful favor of hanging a hook in the ceiling above my shower so I can hang my bluetooth speaker up while I'm getting ready in the morning. ;) After I listen to several chapters in the audio Bible, I turn on Spotify and hum along to my favorite Christmas playlists! :D It's a lovely way to start the day.

Wearing...
A ton of fuzziness. ;) I have a thing with soft, cozy clothes, and whenever I'm not working these days, I am wearing the coziest, softest things I can get. I have a genuine cashmere sweater that I got at Goodwill for around $4, and am LOVING it. While I could never afford cashmere at retail price, I love the fact that I can still get it cheaply once in a while! ;) Today before I went to work, I actually remembered to switch out my laundry, (don't judge) so when I pulled my furry socks out of the dryer, they were still hot!! Ahh. It's the little things. ;)

Practicing...
A song called "Do You Have Room". A lady in my church asked if I could accompany her on this song, and it is sooo pretty! The best version I can find at the moment is this one. Very sweet words, and the piano accompaniment lends itself to so much feeling and interpretation. :)

Laughing at...
Myself. ;P I got my wisdom teeth out a few days ago, and my dad got some priceless video. Once I got sobered up after the surgery, I was dying of laughter...it seriously was like I was 3 years old again, with no filters! ;) From thinking my stuffed animals had jealousy issues, to telling my dad the definition and pronunciation of "Challah", to laughing and crying hysterically because I "couldn't wipe the corner of my mouth...it's like there's a log in there!", the whole thing was ridiculous. Crazy stuff. You can watch it here. :P


Well, I hope you guys had a great November! We had our first snow yesterday, around 4 inches, so winter is upon us! :) What were your favorites this past month? Any extra special plans for Christmas? Have a great week! 
Mykaela
P.S. Bonus points to anyone who knows the technical term for the coffee drink pictured at the beginning of this post! ;) I love pictures like this. They make me happy.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday Snippets: What Could Go Wrong?


Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

I apologize for the very late post today--I had my wisdom teeth out on Friday (you can see the aftermath here ;), and have not felt up to doing much over the past couple days. 

These verses are very famous, at least verses 5 and 6 are, and they get talked about a lot. I think this is one of those passages (like John 3:16), that we tend to overlook or undervalue, because we have heard it so many times. Also, verse 7 is almost never included when these verses are quoted. :/

This past week, I faced a big decision, one that will change my everyday life quite a lot if it comes to pass. It was one of those things where I kept praying and praying about it, and eventually had to just step out in faith, do what I can, and pray that if it's God's will for it to happen, He'll line it up for me. 

So many times in life we agonize over choices. Whether it is a move, a job, a health decision, a sacrifice, etc., we tend to overthink things a LOT. Is that trusting in the Lord with all our hearts? Or is that leaning on our own understanding? 

Think about a choice that you are facing, big or small, and let me ask you this: If God wants a certain thing to happen in your life, can you mess it up? Yes, you can. If you are not walking in The Spirit, and are not trying to follow God and His Word, then He is not going to bless you, but rather chastise you, if you're His child. 

However, if you are following verse 7, fearing The Lord and departing from evil, you cannot mess things up!! Isn't that a really comforting thought? When you are walking in the footsteps of The Saviour day by day, you are not going to stop God's will from happening in your life! 

God knows what He is doing. As cliche as that might sound, it is so true. All you can do is pray that He will keep you walking close to Him, and He will lead in every pathway that comes up. Until then just rest in Him! Trust that He has a plan that's way better than anything you can lay out in your own feeble mind! :) 

I realize this post may be a bit disjointed, and again, I apologize...I hope I made at least a little bit of sense. Have a wonderful week, everyone!
Mykaela