Today I wrote my last exam for this semester, and apart from some smaller stuff, I am now on vacation until April. Spring Break!!
I felt great today, not only because the exam went well, but also because I could kick off the vacation with some art. I finally could get back to my oil painting and I consider the picture (almost) done :) I might add some small touch-ups, but that’s not certain yet.
(the 2 pictures show the comparision from before and after today’s session)
the painting before (mid Jan 2017)
the painting now (Feb 8th 2017)
And I finished a song that I was working on! I haven’t sucessfully finished a song for over a year now, so this is exciting to me. It’s called “Somersault” and is about my little brother and the ups and downs of him growing up. He’s had some issues over the past 2 years, but he’s in a good place now. I sometimes could roll my eyes at his behavior, but I also admire him and have learnt a lot from him. So that’s what this is about :)
I was like a kid in a candy store last night: My dad and I got to see Hans Zimmer live in the SAP Arena in Mannheim! Hans Zimmer is the mind behind a huge amount of the music in the movies of the past 30 years. (Lion King, Pirates of the Carribean, Da Vinci Code, Interstellar, Crimsion Tide,…)
My dad works at SAP and got VIP-tickets for any SAP-Arena-event, so that’s the only reason the evening was affordable.
We drove up to the VIP-entrance and showed our tickets. There was a champagne-reception at the door, then you got you concert bracelet and went upstairs to the VIP-lounge. Just like in a movie, a staff member asked for our name, checked us off her list and showed us to our table. The loung was fancy, but not uncomfortable. There was a buffet of good food and many little desserts. We probably had more than our share of the buffet :) And while we were eating, we looked around, seeing all sorts of people. Some were wearing really fancy clothes, such as the woman in white with a fancy hat and glitter shoes. Others were just wearing a t-shirt and jeans. I guess the VIP-lounge is a glimpse of what a big fancy vernissage (art show opening) is like. It’s fascinating but also intimidating and kind of shallow. If you were surrounded by this environment all the time, it probably would be easy to lose tough with “real life”.
While we were thinking about this stuff, it was time to go to our seats. We sat close to the stage at angle, but could still see most of the musicians.
The concert was great! There were about 70 people on stage, and not one of them was unnecessary. Hans Zimmer came across as very humble and “normal” and he was funny, too. When they started playing a Medley of “The Lion King”, Lebo M. sang the opening lyrics and I almost cried. (Lebo was the guy who sang the solo in “Circle of Life” for the movie, back in 1994) Everything else was brilliant, too, but that was my highlight!
In case you are drawing a blank on gift ideas for Christmas, here are some suggestions:
Make a Card: You can use any material, like old magazines, colored paper, felt or candy wrappers. Just choose a simple design or think of your own. Here are some examples I did, but it can be much simpler as well, more is often less!
Cook a good meal
Write a Poem/Song: Find out what the gift recipient likes and have a go!
Help out around the House: Actions speak louder than words, as they say. Do something you might not normally do and do it with a good attitude.
Buy a cool Christmas Ornament: You know what he/she likes, get a fun ornament to go with it. Do they like Star Wars, Gardening, the color Orange? Find out!
Make a Mosaic Number Tile: This one is really simple and also adds a fun DIY-touch to someone’s front door. Here’s how you do it!
My CD “Crossroads”: You can also give your friends/loved ones a CD with 5 cool songs :) The “real CDs” cost 6,50Euros a piece and 18Euros for 3 CDs. Just write me an email at email@example.com or download the songs on Itunes and Amazon
As in the previous weeks I’ve been keeping busy. I could get to know my interns better than before, realizing what treasures they really are. They are not perfect and have their battles, but they are great people. I can see what I need to learn just by seeing other people. They are like a mirror or my own issues. I learned, for example, that you need to be really careful what you say as a leader, how to chose your words and use them to encourage rather than put down. I also learned that I miss out on making friends because I feel like I’d be “bothering” the other person if I try to be friends. This seems to be rooted in fear and a false self-image. Because I realized that this is an issue, I started to change my attitude. I decided to “make the first move”, to take initiative more and not think that people will be annoyed by me. Because the truth is, I’m a great person, and so is the person I might miss.
On thursday was the celebration dinner, where people contributed to the buffet and to the program. I met a woman from Rwanda and was so excited, because I have a sponsor child in Rwanda. I got to play 2 of my songs and share a testimony. Other people got creative too, it was great!
And yesterday was the last day of the internship. We had an amazing 6 weeks and none of us wanted to leave. But we brought the time to closure and said good-bye to each other. I will see some of the people again before I leave, others I won’t but it was a priviledge to be part of this time and to meet these people.
We have a less packed schedule this week, but this doesn’t mean we are doing nothing.
Yesterday we learned a lot about the topic of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, as this is one of the outreach focuses of the House of Prayer (HOP) here. The HOP networks with, help equip and prays for ministries who fight against human trafficking, and in the past they have started and led a full-time work with trafficking-victims.
We watched two documentaries on the topic, and especially the second documentary is very moving. It doesn’t “shock” in that sense, but it shows what is really going on around the world. The topic is very dark and can be very depressing, as you could tell from the stories of those who were interviewed. But luckily the story didn’t end with overwhelming despair: The people who were interviewed for the documentary have been rescued and restored from their former life, both the women who were slaves and the people who used them.
What I think is key to realize: If you just rescue someone out of slavery, they are complete wrecks and will be broken for the rest of their lives. Counseling and therapy can help the victim a lot, but it cannot repair what was broken. Only Jesus can repair a person from the inside out. I really believe this is true, based on what others have experienced, but also my own experience (I never had to endure what slaves have to go through, but even in my “good life” I am being made new every day). So when I think about this whole topic, it would leave me sad, angry and overwhelmed if I only looked at the problem. But when I turn to God, I have hope, despite the problem.
That was the serious part of the post, now come the fun part: I was able to record my new songs and posted them here to listen to! And because it’s my Mom’s birthday, I am posting my song “Calvin and Hobbes” as well. Happy Birthday Mom!
Last saturday we went out to dinner at a local Taverna and ordered some “Mezze”. A Mezze is a group of many different dishes and you need at least 2 people to eat 1 Mezze. We were 8 people and ordered 6 Mezze, 4 of them meat and 2 of them fish. The taverna’s back porch is covered with grapes and is very nice. I enjoyed eating “Cyprus style”: eat a lot, and be loud! I was always taught to us a quiet “restaurant voice” while eating, but “restaurant voice” is loud here!
On sunday I got to witness a baptism at the beach. This was a special experience!
This week was just as busy as the last one, a lot of full days. But they were good days, and I could write another song during that time! It’s called “New Me” and talks about our (my) new identity when I know Christ. I will post the song with the lyrics as soon as I can record it properly
I haven’t been posting many updates because it’s really busy here. I can’t share everything (that would be too much!) but here’s some news:
Among many other things, I’ve been leading some art and music in the House of Prayer. The “art stream” is once a week, always on Tuesdays. We encourage people to allow themselves to be creative, to express what they are feeling in prayer and in life. Many people that come say of themselves that they aren’t creative. Still, doing something “creative” turns out to be very therapeutic for them. Helping in these sessions is very encouraging.
My song is done! It’s called “Face to Face” and talks about how we can only really achieve the “big things” if we have a relationship with God. Of course many people would disagree, and that’s fine, but I’ve experienced that knowing God as a person makes a huge difference.
One of the staff members was given a black summer dress, and since it didn’t fit her, she asked me if I wanted to try it on. I don’t usually wear skirts/dresses, but I decided to try it. The dress is beautiful and I actually like it! I also let one of the interns braid my hair (which is also something I don’t usually do) and she did an amazing job! She was happy to make me happy with something she is good at. And so she did!
Today we had lunch together and I got to cook the food for everyone. Since we have several allergies in our group, it was like a game of “Taboo”: I couldn’t use egg, wheat, milk, garlic, vinegar or hot spices. But it worked out well. I made baked zucchini in tomatosauce, stuffed with rice, meat, veggies, onions and garlic. To top it off, I added orange juice, cinnamon and honey. Actually the cinnamon and honey were Maike’s idea, she helped cook the food on thursday. Everyone enjoyed lunch and just hanging out together.
I can see the ocean from my balconey, and the other day I could also see some windsurfers! They looked like they were having a good time :)
So much for the updates, I wish all of you a nice weekend and warm greetings from sunny Cyprus :)
After going to Salamis and Varosha (the ghost town), the rest of the week was spent with hearing and participating in teaching. I got to know some of my interns and support the art workshop session on Friday. Also, I went on Friday evening to visit two of my interns at their appartment and cook dinner with them. We made a lentil-curry soup, simple but effective!
Today I am resting from an intense 1st week: cleaning, cooking, going to the beach and writing a new song. Some songs take ages to write, some don’t turn out, but I think this one will be good…
Here’s my song “Bird’s Eye View”. I apologize for the bad sound quality, I will try to edit it when I have the time. Since I was at the top of the ampitheater, it was quite windy. The lyrics are below, and also below the youtube-video. This song is not on my CD, but I did record a CD with 5 of my best songs. So if you haven’t seen that yet, go check it out on iTunes and Amazon, or write me an email to get “real CDs”
I just got back from the SfC-Connect Conference in Hohengrete, Germany. One week of great teaching, workshops, friends and a bit of a time-travel to the 70s (the retreat center looks like a 1970s-movie set, even the brochures fit the time period!)
And I got the final versions of my recorded songs back from my producer Daniel Jakobi! So exciting! In a few days they’ll be available in “CD-Form” as well as Itunes, Spotify and other digital music platforms!
Here’s the final version of my song “Popcorn”. Feel free to tell your friends and other people about it, that means a lot!
Today we did the final leap of vocal recordings! This project is getting more and more finished! Listen to the song “Crossroads” in the video below. If you want to pre-order a CD, just let me know via email or facebook!
Here is my new Patreon-site! It’s a crowdfunding platform where you can support creators and their content. I will use it for my art, but the first $2000 I make will go to the FRRME, because they are an amazing organisation that makes a big difference in Iraq. (Details on the site)
So if you want to sponsor a really cool cause by supporting my art, go check it out! Feel free to share this with anyone you know! :)
On Monday and Tuesday I was once again in the recording studio, this time for the vocals. You get the intrumentals as a playback and then you voice over that. It’s cool to see how everything starts to come together!