Monthly Archives:January 2017

January Goals

28 Jan 17
Anne Russell
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The semester has started! I’m so excited, and I hoping that I’ll be able to keep up with my challenges and my school assignments. Here’s how I’ve been doing so far:

Reading Challenge:

I’ve read three books so far (I’m reading my fourth one now). I’m trying to read one book each week, so that I have room to be flexible.

My first book was The Silver Chair, by C. S. Lewis. This was from the category “A book you loved as a child.” C. S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors, and this book did not disappoint me. Lewis writes in a way that is engaging and comfortable.

My second book was The Inferno, by Dante Alighieri. This is the book that’s been on my “TBR” list for too long. It inspired many Facebook posts of horror. The boiling in blood chapter was disturbing. Over all, I enjoyed reading the book, but probably won’t read it again. Here’s my favorite quote from the book:

“For such defects are we lost, thought spared the fire
and suffering Hell in one affliction only:
that without hope we live on in desire.”

My third book was The Undoing of Saint Silvanus, by Beth Moore. This book falls in the category of “written by someone you admire.” This book was outstanding. It had a little mystery, a little drama, and a little romance. It was fun to read.

Right now I’m in the middle of a book about Amelia Earhart, in the category: “an interesting woman.” Amelia Earhart was very interesting, but the book is not so far, so I’m not going to share it here.

I’m going to start the book Present Over Perfect next. My mom bought the book for me, and I’m excited about reading it. Here is her review of the book.

Writing Challenge:

I’ve completed this challenge every day except for one so far. Some days I work on blog posts or school assignments, and some days I journal. It’s been really cool to record some thoughts that I have, because it helps me think about them more clearly, and keep them for later.

Anne’s Earworms:

These have been fun to write so far. I wrote about some older artists, and some new artists, and made a spring semester playlist for fun. My only concern is that I’ll run out of music that I can write about before I run out of weeks. Because of this, I am being pushed to find new music that I love, which was one of the reasons I started writing them.

Bible Challenge:

I have successfully read through 92 chapters of the Bible, without having to have any make-up days. The thing that has helped me the most is getting up earlier. I was getting up around 8 every day, but this month I decided to try to get up at 6:45 every day (except Saturdays) to do some Bible reading and studying, and work on my other goals. At first this was really hard (it was actually really hard for the first three weeks), but I was able to complete my Bible reading earlier in the day.

Audible:

Audible has been wonderful so far. I read The Silver Chair as my first audiobook, and I loved it. I was able to cook and clean and such while enjoying one of my favorite books. Since I loved The Silver Chair so much, and our family had a couple of extra Audible credits, so I read The Undoing of Saint Silvanus on Audible also.

So there’s my summary of January. I did pretty well on all of my goals, so I’m hoping that I can continue my momentum during February.

 

Also, here’s my sister Christina’s Reading Challenge she’s doing this year:

52 Books in 2017 Challenge – The List!

My Spring Semester Playlist- Anne’s Earworms Episode 4

25 Jan 17
Anne Russell
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Since I just started the Spring Semester at Boyce, I thought it would be fun to make a playlist of some songs that I’m enjoying right now, so I can compare my playlist now with my playlist at the end of the semester. So without further ado, here is my Spring Semester Playlist for 2017.

Manic Monday, by Relient K.

This song was originally a Bangles song, but I love the Relient K version. Even though Mondays are awesome, I like listening to this song because it’s fun and catchy.

Before You I Kneel (A Worker’s Prayer), by Keith and Kristen Getty.

This song helps me to have the right attitude about my work, and in some characteristics that I’m trying to build.

Arrival of the Birds, by the Cinematic Orchestra.

Since I’m playing in two orchestras this semester, of course I have to listen to some movie soundtracks. This has been one of my favorites for a while.

Scarlatti: Sonata in B minor – Allegro – L. 449 K. 27, played by Elizabeth Arenas

This is my current piano piece, so I’m listening to it a lot. I love how it’s minor, but still has a lot energy.

9 to 5, by Ali Caldwell.

This is a great cover, and is awesome for riding in the car.

Heart and Soul by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Feat. Lisa Fischer and Gregory Porter.

I’ve been listening to Yo-Yo Ma’s Unaccompanied Cello for a while, but I’m new to his collaborations. This has been my favorite so far.

The Perfect Wisdom of Our God, by Keith and Kristen Getty.

I haven’t listened to this song since last year, but I would love to listen to it more this semester. It helps me to remember how wondrous God is, and promotes thankfulness.

Songbird, by Fleetwood Mac.

My voice teacher recommended this song to me while ago, but I forgot to look it up until this week. It’s a lovely rainy day song.

Our Love is Here to Stay, by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

Ella and Louis never get old.

Mary’s Song (Oh My My My), by Taylor Swift.

I like this song because it’s cute, and it has a happy ending.

Except for Monday, by Lorrie Morgan.

I’ve been listening to this song as long as I can remember. I enjoy it because it’s clever and fun.

So there you go, my Spring Semester Playlist. What songs are you enjoying right now?

I put the full playlist on YouTube here.

A Beginners Guide to the Four Temperaments

21 Jan 17
Anne Russell
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The four temperaments is a personality typing system. This is a compilation of things I learned from a lot of different websites and such over the past few years; feel free to do some research if you want more in-depth analysis of the temperaments. In the four temperaments, there are two pairs of opposite personalities.

Melancholy and Sanguine:

The first temperament is Melancholy. Melancholy people are organized and thoughtful, and value quality. When they do work, it tends to be excellent. In chaotic situations, however, they tend to break down. If amelancholy person’s house is disgusting, and they don’t have time to clean the whole thing, they might not do anything at all.

Another trait of Melancholy people is that they tend to be “down” a lot. They don’t get big spikes of energy often, and they can be sad. This isn’t always a negative trait.

 

The second temperament is Sanguine, the opposite of melancholy. Sanguine people tend to be spontaneous and social, and value freedom. They’re less organized than the Melancholy people, which can be good in uncertain situations. They can also be chaotic, and not follow deadlines or commitments well, because they like to live more flexibly.

Sanguine people tend to be very friendly and upbeat, which makes them naturally better at meeting new people. They often can make people feel comfortable and engaged. They also love to be in the center of attention, which can be fun, or annoying, depending on the circumstance.

Choleric and Phlegmatic:

The third temperament is Choleric. Cholerics are leaders, and value control. They are great at taking a group of confused people, and get them working together under their leadership. Cholerics can be pushy about getting their way, but usually they are blunt and honest about their goals.

 

The fourth temperament is Phlegmatic, the opposite of Choleric. Phlegmatics are followers, and value peace. They strongly desire to avoid conflict, and prefer to avoid decision making. They tend to get along well with others, because they are laid back. They can be overly easy to sway, and struggle to self-motivate.

Finding your temperament:

No one is entirely one temperament. Rather, people are a mix of all four. Your temperament will be the strongest temperament. Everyone has some of each one in them. Whichever one is the strongest is your type, and your secondary is whichever is second strongest. Your secondary is not the opposite of your primary type, because that would be weird. I’m a melancholy, and my secondary is phlegmatic.
If you want to take a four temperaments test, click Here: http://psychologia.co/four-temperaments-test/

Long Drive, by Jordan Taylor- Anne’s Earworms Episode 3

18 Jan 17
Anne Russell
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Long Drive is Jordan Taylor’s debut album, released in 2015. Even though I was already a Blimey Cow fan (Jordan is part of the Blimey Cow crew), I didn’t listen to the album until last fall. At first, I wasn’t sure whether I liked the album or not. It’s not my usual choice for music, but the more I listened to the album, the more I loved it.

When I was listening to Long Drive this week, trying to decide whether to make it into an Earworm, I realized how young it is. For a long time, I’ve always tried to be older. I started taking college classes at 14, and I expected myself to act like a normal college student. When I hang around adults, I try to be an adult. Long Drive gave me a fresh reminder that being young can be good. I don’t need to try to be older.

Not only does Long Drive help me be young, it helps me be positive. When I listen to the song “This Moment,” I simply feel happy to be alive. This is a feeling that I sometimes forget about. I tend to be a melancholy person, but sometimes I confuse melancholy with depressed. Long Drive is calm and thoughtful, and some of the songs are sad, but it’s not a “let-me-cry-a-river-before-this-next-song” kind of album. It helps me to remember that being thoughtful is not always the same as being sad.

This album helps me embrace who I am. I believe that God designed each person with a different personality, and that we should use how we are built to glorify Him. We should be fighting sin, not personality. I should be fighting grouchiness and unfriendliness, not introversion. I should be fighting depression and being self-centered, not melancholy. Long Drive helps me to remember that.

A Note to My Readers

14 Jan 17
Anne Russell
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Dear blog buddies,

It’s been a year since my first post, an open letter. This blog started as an outlet for my desire to write more. I had just finished ENG101 and 102 for college, and I wanted to try something new. The experiment has helped me with consistently, willingness to try new things, and my writing ability. But I have a few confessions to make to you:
I’m not totally honest with you. I try to be transparent, but I can’t write about everything. If I decide to write about my musical anxiety, I’m not writing about a terrible day that I had the day after writing it. If I write about the MBTI, I’m not writing about my fight with my sibling, or about my lunch, or about my sleeping goal for January. I have to choose what I think will be interesting, or encouraging, or helpful (or all three).
 Even after I choose a topic, I don’t know how to stop editing and push the “publish” button. I get frustrated because my posts “have room for improvement.” Michael Hyatt helped me think about this better:
“Anyone who knows me knows that excellence is a high value for me. But it’s not the same thing as perfection.
Perfection doesn’t take into consideration of the cost, time, or significance of something. It’s just an illusive, unreal, unattainable goal. It’s better to do good work really well.
That way you’re contributing to people’s lives, instead of locked in your own head about whether your work measures up an impossible standard.”
I want to write well, but sometimes I get paralyzed by my perfectionism. I care more about what you think about my writing than whether I can encourage you or help you learn something new.
Sometimes I don’t even treat you like people. After I post, I get stressed by how many people look at my posts, and I forget how amazing it is that people even look at my posts at all. I’m afraid to do this, because people are scarier than numbers. I’m afraid that you will hate my post or laugh at me, so I try to pretend that “visitors” don’t really mean people. I need to be reminded often that people are more important than numbers, and I shouldn’t let my fear hold me back from connecting with some amazing people.

Thank you so much for bearing with and encouraging me, even though I’m quirky and flawed. I’m a work in progress, and blogging this last year has helped me through a lot of hard things. It’s amazing that you guys take time out of your lives to look at my thoughts about life. I hope that I’ll continue to improve, and that you’ll stick around for the ride, because you’ve made blogging a wonderful experience for me.  

 

With exceeding joy,
Anne Mary

Tenderly- Anne’s Earworms Episode 2

11 Jan 17
Anne Russell
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I was just starting to listen to more jazz/swing music. I was already an Ella Fitzgerald fan, and I heard about the song “Our Love is Here to Stay.” I looked it up, and found Ella’s duet with Louis Armstrong. Ella’s voice has that warm quality that makes you want to follow her around listening to her sing, and yet it’s pure. Her voice sounds polished and flawless, and contrasts beautifully with Louis’s rough voice. When I heard their harmony for the first time “Our Love is Here to Stay,” I practically swooned. I promptly sent it to my music buddies, and then listened to it many more times. After that, I downloaded their album Tenderly.

One of the attractive parts of the album is their energy together. Ella and Louis don’t sound like they are forcing chemistry or are bored; they sound like old friends enjoying jazz together. Even the song “Can’t We Be Friends,” which is about two people stuck in the friend-zone, has so much energy that I wanted to hear it repeatedly.

They have energy, and the songs are groovy.  I love sitting and listening to this album, but it was made for moving. As I’m writing at our kitchen table, I can’t stop myself from dancing a bit.

Their duets are beautiful, but Louis does not sing on every song in the album. Ella sings “Stormy Weather,” “Paper Moon,” and “I Love Paris”-which my younger sister thought was “I Love Parents”- as solos. My favorite Ella solo is Paper Moon. I learned this one on the piano, and have played it ever since (I found the album in the fall). Listening to this song makes me feel young and carefree.

Before I heard Tenderly, I thought of jazz as either too hard for me to play (like some of Fred Astaire’s brilliant pieces), or cluttered and obnoxious (like some modern “jazz” artists). I found in Tenderly music that is both playable and pleasant, and I was inspired. I’m sill not a jazz pianist, but Ella and Louis gave me the inspiration to try it.

 

If you’re interested in hearing Tenderly on Amazon, go here.

On Worrying Well

07 Jan 17
Anne Russell
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I’m older now. It’s a new year, and soon to be a new semester. I’m getting older, driving, and taking almost a full-time college load. There are a lot of great things about my life right now: I have great friends, great classes and teachers, and lots of music to fill my time. I used to worry about my life, but I’m starting to realize that my fears were a bit small-sighted.
I used to worry about my grades at school. I was young to be taking college classes (14), and I thought I might be too young. What if I failed the class? What if the professor hated me because I took his class and failed?
I used to worry about never having friends. I was afraid to talk to new people, because I thought they would reject me because I was awkward. What if I never got the hang of meeting new people?
I used to be worried about how my music sounded when I finished it. I didn’t like the sound of my voice, and I assumed no one else did either. I thought that my piano playing was amateur, and that everyone else hated it. What if my barely new friends decided I was a failure and abandoned me?

I’m older now, and I understand that those fears were small. I’ve done fine in my college classes. I’m starting to more easily talk to new friends, and I realize that my music doesn’t sound bad (sometimes it even sounds good). I was worrying about the wrong things. Maybe I should re-frame my thoughts.
I get good grades at college, but what if I picked the wrong college? My friends are probably judging me for having a lesser college.
I know that I can make friends, but can I keep them? I’m afraid of being too clingy, or scaring them away, so I try to maintain a strong distance from my friends, and never talk to them about my problems. I will post online about my fears, but I don’t talk to my best friend about them.
My friends like my finished music, but what about the process? I’m was super embarrassed when my friend walked in the house in the morning to hang out, because I was warming up. I could just feeling him judging me: “you sound terrible before 10am”.

Earlier this week I started to think: Since my worries before weren’t as bad as I though they were, what if my fears now aren’t as bad as I think they are? What if my friends don’t hate me, or judge me? I should think about this more, but I’m just too busy. I’m older now, and I have more important things to think about, like how to practice music and singing at school without anyone hearing me.

Top Hat, White Tie and Tails – Anne’s Earworms Episode 1

04 Jan 17
Anne Russell
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I found out about this musical soundtrack from William Zinsser’s book Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs (I’m only partway through this book, but it’s great so far). Zinsser wrote this about Fred Astaire:
“But it was Astaire the singer, not Astaire the dancer, that the songwriters wanted to write for. They knew that whatever they wrote, he would sing it perfectly, every note true, every syllable clear, every nuance of emotion and humor caught with natural elegance and timing and taste.”
I was a fan before I even heard Astaire.
My favorite song from this album is “I’m Building Up to An Awful Letdown.” I love this song because of it’s clever lyrics. It uses analogies that are catchy, but unexpected:
I’m like Humpty Dumpty,
Up on the garden wall.
I’m riding high
And who can deny
That whatever goes up must fall?
Poor old Humpty Dumpty,
He got the toughest break,
And yet his fall
Was nothing at all
Like the one I’m going to take.

I’m building up to an awful letdown
By playing around with you.
You’re breaking down my terrific buildup
By treating me as you do.
I also love how the melody matches the words. When he sings: “I’m building up to an awful letdown,” the melody goes up, but drops suddenly at the syllable “down.” It adds to the songs clever feeling. I went around singing this song for weeks (which was especially funny during a Jenga tournament).
This is a great album for the morning, because it’s peppy and interesting.  Each song can stand alone, or you can listen to the whole album straight through (like I am while writing this blog post). The styles of the songs are close enough to not jolt you around, but the moods are different enough to keep you engaged.
If you want to hear the album on Amazon, listen here.

Welcome to Anne’s Earworms!

02 Jan 17
Anne Russell
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I love music, but until recently, I only listened to music that my friends and family sent me. Since I started playing in a band with a couple of friends, and making my own covers, I started listening to music on my own.
Anne’s Earworms is a series about the music that I love. Some of it is music that I’ve known for a long time, some of it is new to me, that either I found or someone sent to me.  I’m not a musical expert, but I enjoy listening to good music, and I want to share it with my blog buddies.
My first Earworm is live Here.