Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Musical Muses - Piano Guys

I had the privilege to hear the amazing talents of The Piano Guys Thursday night (11th) at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, Maryland. Their performance was absolutely phenomenal. I knew they were incredibly talented, just by watching their numerous youtube videos. But I truly didn't grasp the extent of their talent and sheer gift for creating musical masterpieces until I sat in the overhead balcony of the Symphony Hall taking in the sights and sounds of their work. What a treat it was! And just in time for the holidays.

just before the performance of Beethoven's 5 Secrets
Performance of Beethoven's 5 Secrets | 5 pieces by Ludwig Beethoven + Secrets by OneRepublic

At one point in the evening, while Jon and Steve were playing Rockelbel's Canon, Jon got up from playing the piano and began to rock it out on the stage. Who knew he could dance like that? It was spontaneously hilarious, and definitely a highlight of the evening.

Near the end of the concert, Jon and Steve both publicly dedicated a song to God. It was beautiful to see their proclamation of Him. Another huge highlight of a very magical sort of evening.

O Come, O Come. Emmanuel (almost my favorite piece from the night)
The whole team, Jon, Steve, Al, and Paul performing Ants Marching/Ode To Joy and What Makes You Beautiful.
There was a really splendid song list for the evening, some favorites and some new songs.
Do you like The Piano Guys? Silly question, of course you do! What's your favorite song of theirs thus far?

All text © 2014 Footprints in the Sand | All Images © 2014 Charity Klicka Photography

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Musical Muses - Winter Skies Playlist

"...[S]mell the ... winter on the 
air--a mixture of night-mist
and crisp darkness and 
the tang of fallen leaves.”
― Neil Gaiman, Stardust

With it beginning to look a little more like winter, I was inspired to create a winter playlist to share with you all. Think pale blue skies, frost-covered trees, dark skies covered in twinkling stars, and peaceful evenings. 

do enjoy! And I'd love to hear some of your favorite songs this winter season.


In The Night Andrew Peterson
Father Winter - Pacific Gold
Winter Light Tim Finn (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Soundtrack)
Stars and Midnight Blue - Enya
Wintersong - The Tenors, Sarah McLachlan
Oh My Stars - Andrew Belle
Without You [feat. Courtney] – for King & Country
Winter Wind (feat. Jon Schmidt) - Steven Sharp Nelson

All text © 2014 Footprints in the Sand | All Images © 2014 Charity Klicka Photography

Thursday, December 11, 2014

End of the School Year - Formerly List

Well folks, I've survived. I am actually a little less dead than I was last fall after finals. I see some hope in the future. 

But really, I can finally say I AM DONE WITH SCHOOL IN 2014! It's bloomin awesome. I more than just survived this year, and I'm only once semester away from graduating with my associates in International Studies. That's something to celebrate.

How about you? Done with your fall semester, or done with school completely? Either way, I hope you're celebrating the Christmas season. Speaking of, stayed tuned on the blog for posts on Free-Trade Christmas Giving, simplistic christmas decoration diys, diy wrapping, and more!

Below is a little formerly list, it's been a little while since I've done one.

Songs I've been listening to (a lot)
Baby, It's Cold Outside by Colbie Caillat, Gavin DeGraw
Warriors by Imagine Dragons 
Stay Alive by Jose Gonzalez
Invisibly Shaken by Rodney Atkins
The Weight of Lies by The Avett Brothers
Without You [feat. Courtney] by for King & Country

Books I am Reading
Gentleman Captain by J.D. Davies

The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States by Gordon Wood
The Complete Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton (still finishing this!)
Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie
PLUS, stayed tuned for my Christmas Break Reading List

To DO for Today
Go to a Piano Guys concert
Make grand artwork
pick up my mom from the airport

Oddities on my office desk
Belated Thank You notes to send out
Hint Strawberry Kiwi water (seriously delicious) 
snapshot of my precious niece

Future Blog Posts (within the next week or two)
A-Z Bookish Questions
My attempt at Rachel's Chatterbox
a boatload of posts on Christmasy Cheer

All text © 2014 Footprints in the Sand | All Images © 2014 Charity Klicka Photography

Thursday, November 27, 2014

truly grateful - 4 ways to cultivate gratefulness

Let us learn to 
"[c]ultivate the habit of 
being (truly) grateful."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

" thanks always
and for everything to 
God the Father in the 
name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
-Ephesians 5:20

You may or may not have heard some sort of spiel on the topic of gratefulness, how all we need to do is be thankful for what we have and grateful to others for all they've done, ad infinitum. But even as cliche as that all sounds, I can't stress nearly enough how important cultivating a habit of gratefulness truly is for an individual.

It takes a great heart, a strong will, and a humble spirit to truly embrace a daily habit of being grateful. I am no expert on gratefulness, nor do I embody that virtue especially well. But I do know, with all my heart, that once you start to make a conscious effort to embrace a spirit of gratefulness and when you begin to be thankful for every single thing you have, your life will never, quite ever, be the same.

I've compiled a simple 4-step list of ways one can cultivate gratefulness:

1. Pray For Others. 
I get overwhelmed sometimes by plans going awry, the stress of a difficult class, or really full days without respite (etc). But when I make a conscious effort to simply let go of my cares, and to instead lift in prayer the wonderful people God's put in my life, I come to find that I truly have much to be grateful for. And furthermore, by lifting my friends, my siblings, my co-workers in prayer, I find a deep sense of peace and rest in my Father's plans (even when they seem ever foreign to me). 

2. Send Thank You Notes.
Especially with Thanksgiving today, this is something we should all be doing. While it's important to be grateful for all God's given us, a car, job, or education etc, it is also important to be grateful for the different people God's placed in out lives. Take a moment today to pen out a little note to your favorite professor in college, or perhaps your old basketball coach from high school, to say thank you for all they did to cultivate your love of basketball or history (etc). Let them know they made a difference in your life for good, and that you appreciate all the time and love they spent helping you to grow into the individual you are today. If you don't have their address, see if you can find them on social media and send them a little thank you.

3. Serve Others.
There is nothing quite like giving up your time to help out at a friend's wedding, or painting a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork for a friend, to really cultivate a spirit of gratefulness. I've come to find that giving time and gifts is a huge way I show that I care for someone. I've been blessed with the time I have, the talents I possess, and the willingness to have a cheerful spirit, that I in turn can only give all that back to others. By taking time out of a day to serve others, you'll find that you'll come to appreciate others more intentionally and that you'll begin to cultivate a heart of being truly grateful. Try it!

4. Thank the Giver.
When it really comes down to it, Thanksgiving isn't just about being content and thankful for all we've been given. It's about thanking the Giver. As Jayme put it, "Thanksgiving differs from gratitude in this respect: it requires an object. There must be a Giver to whom we give thanks, and whom we acknowledge as the source of our gifts. Unless we can bring ourselves to offer true thanksgiving to the Giver, our happiness rests on shaky ground" (source). Thanksgiving is an act of communion with the eternal God, for all those items on our "blessings list" right now will someday be taken away. But our Giver is everlasting.

So I've just realized that these three simple steps all have one thing in common, putting others first. It seems that in my own experience, I've found no better way to cultivate grateful living than through loving others. And the best way, to thank our Giver. 

Perhaps it is the same for you. If not, I'd love to hear the different ways that you cultivate a grateful spirit in your daily life!

Wishing you a very GRAND THANKSGIVING!

All text © 2014 Footprints in the Sand | All Images © 2014 Charity Klicka Photography