Friday, August 15, 2014

Welp, I'm back...and back at it. ☺

Oh, hey.

My arms are a little sore, but I managed to climb back up from falling off the face of the earth - phew!

Seriously, though - who knew life could get even more crazy than it already was?!

Anyway...hello, dear friends.  I hope this finds you and yours well and enjoying what's left of summertime.

Here are a few highlights from the months I was MIA:

  • June - Charlie's birthday (ha)
  • July - was honored to be the Maid of Honor in a wonderful friend's (absolutely stunning) wedding; lots of trips south for special family time (one for my grandpa's beautiful memorial service); calling 200+ churches across the state to schedule the 14-15 Nebraska Brass season
  • August - trip to the farm to see Grandma and Grandpa; still calling churches to schedule the Nebraska Brass season...


We started another term at the studio at the beginning of this month, and therefore, I started my fifth year of teaching there.  Crazy, right?!  I did the math about 4 times, because I really couldn't believe it's been that long, already.

In honor of my quinquennial year (don't worry - I had to look that one up), AND in honor of Harris Academy of the Arts' 10 year anniversary (wohoo!!), I have a few student stories for you:

One of my brand new students this year is a precious 4-year-old boy with dimples and melt-your-heart big blue eyes.  Not only is he adorable, but he's also doing a way-above-average job, so far!  We put tabs on the pages he's supposed to practice in his books, and when I asked him what color of tab he wanted the other day, he flippantly replied, "Eh, orange, whatever" with a shrug of his shoulder.  His mom, who was also in the room, gaped at him and gave me a shrug.  It happened again for the next page, too - I asked what color of tab, and without missing a beat, he responded, "Blue, whatever."  His mom just shook her head.  I proceeded to ask him what his favorite color was, and he said, "Orange...and blue."  No "whatever" about it.  ☺

There's a vocal instructor teaching in the room next to mine this year, so my students are getting used to ignoring all the vocal warm-ups and beautiful crooning coming from next door and focusing on their own playing, instead.  While listening to the instructor lead his student through warm-ups with the piano, one 6-year-old girl had to stop and ask what was going on over there. I told her there was a voice lesson taking place, and she proceeded to ask, "How did someone learn how to sing like a piano?!"  It took me a second to realize she didn't know there was a piano in the room, and thought the notes being played on the piano were actually coming out of someone's mouth.  She kind-of laughed to herself when I told her there was actually a piano in the room, too.

We're a couple weeks into the semester, now, so the rust is wearing off, and now that school has started, everyone's really getting back into the swing of things.  It's always touch-and-go at the beginning of the year, as you can imagine.  When they come into their first lesson after summer break, I semi-jokingly ask my students if they've touched a piano since I saw them last.  The reactions to that inquiry range from deer-in-the-headlights to a-chuckle-followed-by-a-"no" to confusion to of-course-I-have's, and many in between.  I was very impressed by one student in particular last week, though, because not only had he practiced ALL of his assigned pieces, but he also learned the words...and sang them in an opera-style voice!  I told him we need to get him in for a lesson next door, sometime!

That's all I've got, for now.

To all you students and teachers out there, here's to an awesome school year ahead!

As usual, thanks for reading! ☺

Enjoy the weekend,
Kensy

Favorites of the day:
sleeping with the windows open in the middle of August - what?!
strawberry pretzel salad
garden-fresh produce

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I said yes!!!

Hey, strangers!

I told you once upon a time that I wasn't going to apologize for any lapses between posts...and I'm not going to.  I don't think you'll mind the wait when you finish reading this one, though.  ☺

As those of you who are my Facebook friends already know, I've been dating a handsome guy for a few months, now.  Those of you who just read this blog occasionally may have read between the lines (pun intended) and noticed a few hints at a change in relationship status, lately...maybe.  

Anyway, I had decided when I started this blog that I wouldn't post anything about a boy and/or relationship until there was a ring involved.  So, I didn't...and I waited (as you know) for my "someone special" to make his entrance into my life.  And guess what?!  He did, and he asked me to marry him, and I said yes!!!

I've been waiting so long to share our story, and am so excited to do so, now!  If you're not interested in reading about it all, I won't be offended...but I know quite a few of you are, so I'm going to try to be as thorough as possible.  (Would love to share all this in person with ALL of you, of course, but we all know how life doesn't always make that possible...)

So...here's our story:

Bryant and I met via Christian Mingle last fall after I'd signed up for the site in late July.  I had witnessed quite a few successful online dating relationships develop into marriages, and after attending a friend's wedding (they met via Christian Mingle) and hearing a few other success stories there, then receiving a promotional e-mail offering a hefty discount on the membership fee (you know how I love a good bargain!), I decided to give it a shot.

We started corresponding mid-September, and after a few weeks of daily, extensive e-mails, he asked to meet in person.  So, in mid-October, he drove to Lincoln to take me to dinner (he planned it all, even though he'd never been here!  (He lives in Kansas City.)).  It went well enough for me to agree to his request to "do it again sometime," and the rest is history.  ☺  

Since we started officially dating in early November, we were able to take advantage of the holidays and meet each other's families fairly early-on in our relationship.  There are so, so many things I want to tell you about him, but I'll leave it at this: You know how high my standards are, and he exceeds them in so many ways!  Also, he's an engineer...and likes to cook...and is super funny...and smart...and thoughtful...  ☺

At the beginning of this year, his (wonderful!) family invited me to join them on a trip to NYC they'd be taking in May.  I've always wanted to go to NYC and couldn't imagine a better opportunity, so I accepted the invitation!

Fast forward to a week (or so) ago:
Bryant, his sister, his parents, and I were in NYC...and had been for a couple days.  It was Bryant and I's 6-month anniversary.  We'd just finished a yummy breakfast at a great bakery there and were going to head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art after a quick stop at the F.A.O. Schwarz toy store.  We got to the store about a half hour before they opened, though, and I was trying to tell everyone that we didn't need to wait around just so I could see the big piano...especially since the Charles James exhibit we were on our way to see at the Met was pretty much the reason for the whole trip!  Everyone assured me that it was ok to wait around, though - they wanted to go inside to see it all, too!  

Once we got inside, I was immediately drawn to the penny pressing machine (I collect pressed pennies, so am always on the look-out for these souvenirs), but Bryant ushered me up the escalator saying, "We'll get one on the way out, babe."  We made our way to "The Big Piano" upstairs, and as we approached, the line of customers waiting to play it somehow dispersed.  The employees asked us to pose for a picture in front of a green screen (this is standard operating procedure) before asking us to take our shoes off in order to play The Big Piano.  Then, this happened:

video

Yep.  He asked me if I'd explore the future we'd been talking about with him and, "Will you marry me?" after we'd just played Chopsticks with our feet on The Big Piano.  What?! 

We'd been talking about the future quite seriously leading up to this, so I knew the question was coming at some point.  My only request, as far as the proposal went, was to be surprised...and he sure got me!  

If you know me at all, you know how special and wonderful this all was and how much it meant to me...and how many tears were shed afterward!  ☺  Not only did he choose to propose on a meaningful day, but he chose a fun, meaningful venue (for those of you who may have forgotten - I teach piano lessons.  Seriously - could it get more perfect than a giant piano?!), and he (and everyone else in on the plan) kept it a secret from me...AND his family was around to help capture the moment!  I'd never imagined I'd get to have pictures (his sister just happens to be a talented photographer), much less a VIDEO of the moment I got engaged!

Afterward, we got to spend a couple days enjoying the rest of the trip as planned, but as an engaged couple!  It was so, so special to be able to enjoy the quality time together and to celebrate with his family, too!  And we got free dessert at dinner that night...as if the day could get any better!  ☺  

We even got to have a couple mini-engagement-photo-shoots with his sister!  Here are some of the great shots she got:


Did I mention he'd bought me a rose that morning in honor of our 6-month anniversary?  Little did I know he had that gorgeous ring for me in his pocket!!  He also wrote me a letter to read afterward, since we were in public and he had lots he wanted to say to me.  ☺
I am so, so excited and blessed to be marrying into Bryant's family!  His mom made me an "Almost Mrs." shirt and cute bag with my "new" initials, and his sister bought me my first wedding magazine.  So very sweet and thoughtful!  A huge "thank you" to them for making the trip and proposal possible...and so special.

It's been so much fun to share our news this past week.  Thank you to those of you who have already shared your excitement in various ways!  My students, especially, have had some pretty priceless reactions and comments.  ☺  One 2nd-grade-boy whose mom had shared the news with him prior to his lesson said before starting to play his first assigned piece, "So, who is he?"

As is probably obvious, I could go on and on about how great it all was and has been...and about how much I love my fiancĂ©.  I'm going to be done gushing, though (and hope to get a post about the rest of the amazing NYC trip written, at some point...and maybe one about long-distance relationships...and God's perfect timing), and let someone else do the talking for a bit.

I asked Bryant if he'd like to share anything as part of this post, and he graciously agreed to drop you all a line, or two.  I've never had a guest writer on "The Scoop," but who better to be the first than the man with whom I'm going to spend the rest of my life? ☺  Here's what he had to say:

Those of you who have known Kensy for a while know how wonderful she is.  I have had the privilege of getting to know her recently and have come to realize what an amazing person she is…which is why I asked her to marry me last week.  She said YES!!!!  I am very much looking forward to spending the rest of my life with her when October finally arrives.  Haha.

From the first date walking around the Haymarket, to the Giant Piano, and all the calls, emails, text messages, and face-to-face time in between, I have been learning how great Kensy is for me.  I never understood the people that said, '"When you know they are the right one, you just know…"  Now, I do understand that statement, and I am so grateful that God brought her into my life.

I can't wait for you all to meet him!

That's all for now, dear friends.  Thank you for reading - I know that was a long one.  Hopefully, it was worth it, though. ☺

Engagingly,
Kensy

P.S. Yes, he said October.  ;-)


Favorites of the day:
my newest piece of jewelry!
seeing and celebrating with friends and family
generosity

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I hope...

Happy spring! (Maybe for real this time...?  The calendar says so, at least.)

I've been mulling over pieces of this post for some time and decided today is the day to share it.  Happy reading!


I hope...

...God continues to provide discernment and guidance in all I do...and in all you do, too!  ☺

...I won't forget half the flour next time I double my chocolate chip cookie recipe.

...my future children (God-willing) enjoy playing in the sandbox, building with Legos, baking "creations," playing with Play-Doh, coloring, playing "house," building blanket forts, exploring, etc.

...those of you seeking truth and meaning in your life find it...no matter how/when/where.

...there are always patches/yards/fields of green grass in which to walk barefoot.

...my fear of change never gets in the way of my excitement about what the future holds.

...Charlie doesn't fall off the fridge while trying to get into the empty crock pot box sitting on top (though I kind-of do hope it happens...it almost has on a few occasions...).

...I am able to continually show/remind friends and loved ones, near and far, how much I love and appreciate them.

...my students use their assignment notebooks when they're practicing at home...and that they practice, period.

...we never cease to be amazed by the beauty of nature and the everyday miracles God reveals to us.

...no one ever pays full price for anything at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Seriously - if you find yourself making a purchase at that store without a coupon, call me...immediately.  Even after chock-full wedding seasons over the past few years, we have enough at the coop to last a while...quite a while. (Full disclosure: I had originally typed those as "awhile," but decided to look up the difference between "awhile" and "a while," and now I'm realizing how strange "while" seems by itself...and how I rarely type it without the article "a" in front of it...(though it could be used in this type of sentence "I wait while he pulls the car around.")...and how similar it is to "whale"...which makes me think of "Finding Nemo"...and this clip...and how long it's been since I watched that movie...  Hope you enjoyed your ride on my train of thought. ☺)

...this post blesses you in some way.

What do you hope for?


Student story:
A little while ago, during one of my Asian student's lessons (she is in first grade and speaking more and more fluent English every day!), I was introducing a piece called "Copy Cat." Shortly after reading/hearing the title, she started copying my instructions to her.  It only took me a few seconds to catch on, and when I gave her a look, she gave me a knowing grin and continued to copy me.  I started laughing at the fact that she was intentionally being a copycat because of the title of the song, and she started belly laughing like I've never seen/heard her laugh before.  All this from the girl who said maybe 5 words during each of her first few lessons.  ☺

Enjoy the day and upcoming weekend, everyone!  Thanks for reading.  ☺

Hopefully,
Kensy


Favorites of the day:
audio books (just finished listening to Divergent and am looking forward to seeing the movie this weekend!)
Special K Pastry Crisps
sunshine (Charlie would probably agree with that one...)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Break 2014

Happy spring (almost)!!

You all know how I feel about skirts and flip-flops...so, you can imagine how I feel about switching out my wardrobe in the near future.  ☺

I feel so spoiled to even be writing a post with this title, much less be able to say I had a break from work for almost an entire week.  Praise the Lord for working around the school schedule and setting my own hours (and being able to answer emails remotely).

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few highlights from my week with you all!

The break kicked off with my favorite guy and I visiting my aunt, uncle, and cousins.  We all prepared and enjoyed a delicious supper together, followed by a couple rousing games of Sequence.
Salad with homemade ginger dressing, spring rolls, and Pad Thai! Not pictured: Mango Pudding
So delicious!
These were on the dresser in the room I stayed.
Gotta love fresh flowers...and super thoughtful family members. ☺
This little guy greeted me on Monday morning. ♥
That same favorite guy and I made supper for my parents Monday afternoon/evening.  The menu included "Fried" Pickles, Cheese and Bacon Potato Rounds, Pan-Seared Steak, fruit salad, and Monster Cookie Dough Cupcakes.  What a perfect way to spend time together. ☺

Tuesday was spent in with my BFF in her first grade classroom.  I got to help the kiddos with a special math project that day: Two Dimensional Shape Creatures!
Her awesome example.
I actually got to be a part of this project with her class last year, too, and made a sign to hang in the hallway with their finished creatures.  Conveniently, I was back this year in time to amend the sign to include her new last name.  ☺
Before...
...after!
Not pictured:
shopping/browsing trip
Chick-Fil-A
painted toenails

Wednesday morning was spent on the road to Wichita to see my favorite brother.  We met for lunch at Spear's Restaurant and Pie Shop and enjoyed some good-down-home-cookin'...and pie, of course.  ☺

This is what greeted me at my quarters for the day/evening.
Q lives with some thoughtful and talented guys. ☺
An evening of pizza-making and cake-decorating was preceded by a (very welcome) quiet afternoon on the couch with ample time to catch up on emails (work and otherwise), Facebook, and Pinterest.
Homemade supreme pizza...yum!!
Q was asked to make a friend's wedding cake in a few months.  This was his practice cake.
It tasted as great as it looks!
After meeting Q at work and getting a tour of his office and the plant (so cool!), I stopped in to see some family in Lindsborg before completing my loop back to Lincoln.

I'm so very thankful to have had the time to see and spend quality time with so many important people in my life...and the week isn't over!  Looking forward to a productive day at work before heading to a good friend's house-warming/St. Patrick's Day party!

In other news, my students filled out teachers evaluations a few weeks ago.  There were many kind words, lots of positive feedback, and some funny comments.  Thought I'd share one of them:
You are a great teacher and you're teaching me so well that my mom can't play whatever I can now.

Enjoy the weekend, dear readers!

-Kensy

P.S. Happy Pi Day!

Favorites of the day:
warm sunshine
having time to unpack and settle back in
audio books
wake-up calls ☺

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Week of ♥: 2014

Hello, all!

I had hoped to be able to say "Hope you're enjoying the warmer weather," but as I'm writing this, it's snowing outside...and has been for a few hours!  It has kind-of turned to rain-ish precipitation, now, and the ground looks like it's covered by a layer of grits.  Or maybe couscous...possibly popcorn.  Regardless of what food it resembles, it's a very wet snow.  (Cue "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?")

Anyway, I hope this finds you well!  Things are pretty great here.  

I want to share some of the Valentine's Day gifts I received last week, but before doing do, can I just say again how blessed I am by the students I teach and their families?!  Seriously.  Not only do I love what I do, but I love who I get to do it with.  (Yes, I know - that sentence ended with a preposition...) I know that's not the first time I've said it...and it won't be the last.  And no - I'm not just saying it because they seem to shower me with gifts at any given occasion. ☺

My Valentine's Day week started with a cute heart Valentine and sucker from one of my new 4-yr.-old students, as well as this coffee bean/rose petal/foam sticker/heart decoration from another student.  Those coffee beans sure do smell good!
Tuesday started with a bag of chocolates from the family I nanny for, as well as this sweet gift and card from a piano student:
Outside
(It's worth noting that this thoughtful 6-yr.-old strongly hinted that this kind of candy was his favorite and he'd cleared it with his mom to maybe have one during our lesson...haha.  I took the hint.  ☺)
Inside
(Though I initially thought he'd drawn a picture of a minion from Despicable Me for me, it turns out that's a picture of me.  I guess I wear my glasses more often than not on his lesson days.  Not sure what to say about the hair...or lack thereof.)
The next day, an equally thoughtful boy student walked in with his arms very full, exclaimed, "Happy Valentine's Day!" and presented me with some beautiful Gerbera daisies and a candy bouquet!  I thanked him again at his lesson yesterday, and told him the flowers are still alive and well.  His response, "Yessss!" with a fist clench.  ☺
This gift was unrelated to Valentine's day, but I'm including it here, anyway, because I received it in the same week.
One of my adult students took a trip to Cabo, Mexico a few weeks ago, and she brought this precious hand-painted Nativity set back for me!  She said she saw it and immediately thought, "I think Kensy would like to have that."  She was right.  ☺
On Thursday, I walked in to find a box from FTD on my piano bench.  Inside were a dozen roses...complete with a vase!
The note said they were sent a day early, so I wouldn't have to take them along on my road trip to visit the sender the next day. ☺
Lisa and I exchanged Valentine's gifts that night.  You may remember the fact that we gave each other gifts in the same little mailboxes last year...?  Well, this year, we both unintentionally gave each other striped socks (among other things).
Mine are the fuzzy ones...she sure knows the way to my heart!  ☺

THEN, on Friday, I walked in my room at the studio to find a half dozen cupcakes from my favorite cupcake shop, Le Cupcake!
These came from the same sweet, thoughtful sender as the flowers...and I took them along when I went to see him that evening.  ♥ What a yummy Valentine's day dessert!
I also received a couple Valentine's Day pictures/letters from a couple families.  They sent those out instead of Christmas cards/letters.  Great idea, huh?

In other news...
I was somewhat recently introduced to a pretty awesome company called GreatStitch and got to help them prepare for a party idea that was more recently featured on a national blog.  (I painted the table legs! ☺)  Check it (and them) out!

That's the scoop, for now!  Enjoy what's left of the week and the weekend to come!

Gratefully,
Kensy

Favorites of the day:
the power of prayer (keep them coming!)
smoothies
technology

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thank you, snow!

So...here I am...on snow day #1 1/2 (we didn't have lessons yesterday, but I nannied in the morning/early afternoon before things got bad)...enjoying the time to actually write a blog post for you all!

But really, there's not a whole lot to report...

Work is good.

The coop is good.

Church is good.

Life is good.

And I made these new vegetable recipes last night...
Coconut Oil Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli tossed in hummus, and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower




...and I helped the kids (yes, kids, plural - JP was home from kindergarten yesterday - wohoo!!  We hadn't seen each other in awhile...and cherished the few hours we got to spend together...with MA, too, of course) I nanny for finish putting together the 3D puzzle I gave their family for Christmas.

Who knows what the rest of the snow day will bring!  So far, it's brought cinnamon rolls and the Today Show.  So thankful to be able to work my "day job" from home. ☺

In case I have some time to write a more substantial post in the near future, I'd like to open the floor for suggestions for blog post subjects/topics.  Ready...set...GO!

Warmly (kind-of...),
Kensy

Favorites of the day:
a whole day to be productive!!!
yoga
Skype

P.S. If you're on Facebook, check out the video I was tagged in recently...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

he is real...but so is God

Hello dear friends and readers,

I recently had a sort of epiphany, and if you don't mind, I'm going to try to hash it out "on paper" in hopes that you might be able to relate, provide some insight, or just need something to read this evening.

I'd like to start by saying I consider myself a fairly positive person...and "fairly" may not be a strong enough word.  I strive to find the good in all situations and people, find joy in the smallest things (figuratively and literally), and been called "terminally cheerful."  Needless to say, I'm a "glass half full" kind of girl to the core...(this may not come as a surprise to those of you who know me well...or know me at all).  ☺

All that said, there have been times in my life (some more recently than others) that I have found it difficult to maintain my positivity, find my joy, and/or see the good in a given situation.

Examples include:

  • A moment of disagreement causes me to doubt an entire friendship.
  • Missing out on an evening activity causes me to resent my work schedule.
  • A single matter in need of compromise/middle ground rather than being in total agreement in all matters causes me to question the relationship as a whole.
  • A "closed door" of opportunity causes me to throw in the towel and not even look for the "open window."

These seeds of doubt/confusion grow into small ferns...bushes...even trees and cast their shadow on all of the good things in which I'm so accustomed to easily finding joy.  (I feel like this sounds like some sort of depression medication commercial...it's not.)  My first instinct is to mask these feelings and deal with them myself.  Past experience (and common sense), however, has proven this to be a relatively futile means of coping.

What hit me today is that these negative feelings/emotions/thoughts that throw off my positive groove are not coincidence - this negativity has to be coming from somewhere.  I'd be crazy to not be joyful about the job(s) I've been blessed with...or about the fact I have a job, period.  I'd be out of my mind to think a loved one or friend loves me less because of one little point of conflict.  I'd just be wrong to think God would deny me one opportunity without presenting another.  Right?  Right.

I came to the conclusion that feelings of doubt, confusion, and insecurity are coming from Satan.  I don't really know why it took me so long to realize/articulate/embrace/understand this truth.  I know I should be in the practice of being on the lookout for evil in my life, but I'm not, really.  I attribute this lack of practice to my optimistic demeanor (see above).

As I thought about it all more, I realized how much sense it makes that the things that seem to not make sense in my life (i.e. the doubt, negativity, etc.) are coming from someone who does not have my best interests at heart.  Satan is ever-present in this world, and we must, must, must be constantly on the lookout for him and the lies he spreads.  "...He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." -John 8:44

So, what should my(our) plan of action be when (I almost said "if and when," but there isn't really an "if" in this matter) this negativity shows up in my(our) thoughts and mind?

Pray.  Pray, pray, pray.  "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." - James 4:7

Like I said - my first instinct has always been to "deal with it" on my own.  But how can I possibly expect to combat Satan on my own?!  Ha!  Silly me.  Therefore, here I am...♫"standin' in the need of prayer..."♪ (Sorry...I couldn't resist.)  Seriously, though - I can't do it alone.  We can't do it alone.  So, if you're a praying person, I'm asking for your help.  Please pray that I am able to recognize and resist Satan's lies and retain my ability and desire to find goodjoy, understanding, and security in all God has and will continue to bless me with.

I'd also like to encourage you to pray this for yourself...and for your loved ones.  Don't let Satan get the best of you.  "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Ephesians 6:11

Thank you, in advance.  ☺

I hope you have a really lovely week!

Prayerfully,
Kensy

P.S. I'm sure there are many more passages of Scripture I could've referenced...feel free to chime in if you have any to add...or any thoughts...or anything, period! 


Favorites of the day:
leftover Papa John's pizza
50+ degree weather in January
the movie "Frozen" (Seriously, if you haven't seen it, you need to!)