Thursday, December 24, 2009

Change and Trust

There have been quite a few times in my life when I thought, “What is God thinking?” Life takes unexpected twists and turns and there are times when I’m not sure how I got where I am.

But then again, I wonder why I am surprised when God changes the course I am on. He leads me to places that I never pictured myself in. These unexpected turns are usually the most crucial in my growth as a person and as a woman of God.

Because these unexpected experiences have turned into blessings, I have learned to trust. God has always been able to give me a certain peace that I have not found anywhere else. I know that God is good all the time and he loves me. Therefore, I know that he has my best interest at heart.

Due to the fact that I will not be able to graduate in May, I will not be returning to CBU in the spring of 2010. My family and I have decided that I should move home in January and continue my education at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, California (my hometown). This is going to be a big change and a hard transition, but I truly believe God’s hand is in all of it.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Have you ever had one of those days that you knew was a big deal? A moment was going to come (and soon) that would be a deciding factor in your future... I had that moment today.


That word alone sends a hundred emotions through my body. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, let me enlighten you (and be glad you don't have to deal with them)... Juries are a big deal to music majors. It is the day at the end of the semester where your teachers and other music faculty sit together and decide your future. Okay, to be a little less dramatic... the teachers and music faculty judge whether you've improved, what you need to improve on, and whether you're ready to do your final recital.

I had been anticipating this moment for the last year and a half, waiting to hear if I'd get to do my senior recital. Well, I won't find out my results until tomorrow, but it's going to be a deciding factor on my course for next semester. Yes. Big. Deal. Very. Big. Deal.

Last night, after talking with my mom, sister, and praying a lot, I was overwhelmed with a certain peace. Yes, this was going to be a big moment, but all I could do was my best. And all I wanted to do was my best for God, the one who's opinion matters most to me. I knew that if all my efforts were for God, he would be pleased with the song I gave to him. And I think he was pleased. And now, no matter what happens, I know that I put my best efforts forward. I worked hard to improve the talents he's given me and tomorrow we'll see what doors he's opened and which doors he's closed...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wedding Mania

So for the last month or so, my life has consisted of two things:

1) School


Crazy, right? ... since I'm not even getting married! Haha It's been interesting. Within 24 hours my big sister and my close friend from school both got engaged. So all of a sudden I am constantly on the phone with my sister talking about wedding plans, photographers, bridesmaid dresses... and the list goes on and on. (I'm the Maid of Honor, by the way!) And then I go to meals in between classes with my friend Natalie, who is also planning her wedding. Here comes flowers, family, invitations, etc. etc.

I know so many couples who are engaged that I had to start a list... yes, I seriously have a sticky note on my laptop that has the names of all the couples I know getting married. It's impossible to keep track otherwise, believe me! It's kind of ridiculous... the list only consists of 10 couples at the moment, but it was up to 13 this last summer. And as summer gets closer, the list will grow!

So why am I telling you all this? I guess because it's been a fun, exhausting, interesting ride so far... and I just wanted to keep you all in the loop :)

I'm so happy for Tiff and Mike! They're getting married on May 22nd and I'll finally have a brother!! :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

A new adventure...

A lot of you know that I come from a very creative family. My mom is a graphic designer and my sister... well she's all about the crafts haha (She worked at Beverly's Fabric Store for 3 years and hasn't stopped doing projects since!) And I love to make scarves and cards and such! My sister, Tiffany, and I have always wanted to start a little boutique filled with one-of-a-kind items that were all handmade... so this year we decided to put a website together and start a collection of our handmade, one-of-a-kind items! It's finally here and we're still adding products, but I think you should definitely check it out :) We wanted to have it done in time for Christmas shopping! I hope you enjoy it :)

If you see something you like that is sold out, just let us know and we'll try to make something similar to the original. Also, if you don't see something you'
re looking for, contact us because we will do custom orders as well!

Oh and if you're wondering where our store name came from, it is both of our initials... Tiffany Chew Shibata and Tamara Chew Shibata :) Click on the link below to see the site...

Here are a few products you'll see on our website:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Noticing the details...

About a week ago, I was encouraged by an email from a professor and wanted to share the story he told...
There was once a sculptor in Greece named Phidias. Although he was a heathen, he had a great deal of integrity. In fact, he had self-respect. Phidias was commissioned around 440 B.C. to create the sculptures that stood upon the roof of the Parthenon in Athens.

When it came for the city fathers to pay Phidias for his work, they balked at the price. They felt that Phidias had done too much work on the statues, charging them for carving details on the backsides of the statues that could not be seen from below. Why should they pay for detail that no one would ever see?

Phidias' response to the city fathers was to tell them that they were wrong. For although humans could not see the exquisite details from the street below, "the gods could."

This was a good reminder for me, because I often wonder about details that no one really sees. Like why do I need to go to every class... other people miss all the time... what's the big deal? Why do I need A's in all my classes if I can pass and graduate? Why be the one person who's always on time and reliable? Etc. etc.

I loved the reminder that God sees the details. It's so easy to work and just get by, but God deserves more than that. Doesn't he deserve my best and not just what's left over? Like it or not, every decision I make builds on my character. Other people may not notice those details in my life, but God (the one who matters) sure does!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Once upon a time...

there lived 3 college students named Tamara, Natalie, and Laura. All three girls were highly distraught over their ugly dresses they had to wear for choir. One weekend, they decided to take a road trip and be rid of the ugly dresses forever. They packed their bags (and dresses) and headed to Pismo Beach...
Upon arrival, they took in the nice scenery, played on the swings, and made sand angels...
The girls then moved to the water and continued to ruin their ugly dresses...
The girls were overjoyed that the dresses were finally destroyed.
And they all lived happily ever after.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Significant moments

Did you ever experience something and know afterwards that it was going to be a significant moment in your life? I had one of those moments on Thursday. I was in choir rehearsal when they announced to the group that one of our singers, one of my friends, was undergoing tests for cancer. Well, we spent some time praying for him, but things quickly switched back into rehearsal mode. The next two hours passed slowly and every song seemed to be dragging. Everyone seemed to be sick or totally exhausted. Doc obviously could see this and had us all sit down while the orchestra practiced the only song they play without the choir. I hadn’t heard it yet, but it was absolutely gorgeous. It was a song entitled “Song to the King.”

After Doc ran through it once, he said, “Nathan, have you ever conducted a song before?” Nathan said, “I wouldn’t even know where to start.” Doc then said, “Come here. I’ll teach you.” He led him through the normal conducting pattern and let him take the reigns. It was incredible. As soon as Nathan walked forward, I felt tears starting to form. As the music began, my heart was so full. (Not sure what it was full of, but it was definitely full – almost bursting). I cried through the whole song. And I was not the only one. As the song ended, the whole room gave Nathan a standing ovation as he walked back to his place in the choir… Wow.

I’m really not sure what this experience will mean to me in the future, but I do know I’ll never forget it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I miss my family...

my friends... my cat... knowing that I can drive 15 minutes and feel real sand under my toes... being in a place where I know people love me... feeling an overwhelming sense of support instead of an expectancy of failure...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Will you play?

I started reading this new book by Max Lucado called When God Whispers Your Name a couple weeks ago. I was drawn in by the book's intro and ended up sharing it in a devotional with my youth ensemble, Resound, as a devotional before singing in church. So I thought I'd share it with all of you today :) The intro begins with Lucado telling a story of being in an antique store with his family. He sits down to read a book and starts to hear some beautiful piano music being played...

I turned to see who was playing, but couldn't see anyone. I stood and walked closer. A small group of listeners had gathered at the old upright piano. Between the furniture I could see the small back of the pianist. Why, it's only a child! With a few more steps I could see her hair. Short, blonde, and cute like... My heart, it's Andrea!
Our seven-year-old was at the piano, her hands racing up and down the keyboard. I was stunned. What gift of heaven is this that she can play in such a way? Must be a time-released gene she got from my side of the family. But as I drew closer, I saw the real reason. Andrea was "playing" a player piano. She wasn't making the music; she was following it. She wasn't commanding the keyboard; she was trying to keep up with it. Thought it appeared she was playing the song, in reality, she was only trying to keep up with one already written. When a key would dip, her hands would dash.
Oh, but if you could have seen her little face, delighted with laughter! Eyes dancing as would her feet had she been able to stand and play at the same time.
I could see why she was so happy. She sat down to attempt "Chopsticks" but instead played "The Sound of Music." What's more, she couldn't fail. One greater than she was dictating the sound. Andrea was free to play as much as she wanted, knowing the music would never suffer.

It's no wonder she rejoiced. She had every reason to. And so do we.

Hasn't God promised the same to us? We sit at the keyboard, willing to play the only song we know, only to discover a new song. A sublime song. And nobody is more surprised than we are when our meager efforts are converted into melodious moments.
You have one, you know, a song all your own. Each of us does. The only question is, will you play it?
By the way, as I watched Andrea "play" that day in the antique store I observed a couple things.
I noticed the piano got all the credit. The gathered crowd appreciated Andrea's efforts, but they knew the real source of the music. When God works, the same is true. We may applaud the disciple, but no one knows better than the disciple who really deserves the praise.

But that doesn't keep the disciple from sitting at the bench. It sure didn't keep Andrea from sitting at the bench. Why? Because she knew she couldn't fail. Even though she didn't understand how it worked, she knew it did. Even though you may not understand how God works, you know he does. So go ahead. Pull up a bench, take your seat at the piano, and play.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Highlights from a great weekend in San Diego

I love long weekends. This past weekend involved my sister (Tiffany), her boyfriend (Mike), my cousin (Brooke), Auntie Susan, and me visiting my cousin (Jessica) and her husband (Steve) down in San Diego. We went last fall to visit Jessica, minus Tiff, M
ike, and Steve. We arrived on Friday afternoon, went out to dinner and my sis, Jess, and I went to a free Pete Yorn concert. I admit, I had never heard of Pete Yorn, but he was good and the concert was really fun.

The next day consisted of sitting by the pool and relaxing
while the boys barbecued steaks and other yummy foods.
We also went to a bunch of craft/bead stores. The next
morning we went to service at Steve and Jessica's church, which was awesome. We then spent the rest of the day at the beach in Oceanside - reading, going in the water, napping, eating, all those good things. That night we went to Benihana's for Jessica's bday dinner - yummy!

The next morning (Monday), Tiff and Mike left to go home, and the rest of us went to the San Diego Zoo. I hadn't been there since I was little and it was so much fun! We saw every animal you could imagine, plus some that I could never
name! I even got to feed a camel :) So fun! That pretty much sums up my weekend! Doesn't get much better than that!

School starts on Thursday... Eeeeeek!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Well, I'm back in Riverside...

I've been here since Sunday afternoon and I am already exhausted. It's Tuesday night and we just finished our second day of rehearsal camp... meaning two days of 12 hour rehearsals (minus lunch/dinner breaks). Even though classes haven't started yet, rehearsal camp signifies the beginning of the school year and end of the summer for me. And I'm already missing summer! Please come back!

I didn't have any specific purpose for this blog, but just wanted to post a little update :) There sure are a lot of things going on my head right now... thinking about this year, my classes, lessons, graduation, everything. Scary to think about, but I'm just trying to take everything one day at a time.

If you want to write to me, I love snail mail and care packages! ;) My address is still the same at school... love and miss you all!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A day in Avila...

A bunch of us went to Avila Valley Barn to pick ollaliberries the other day.  We were pumped!

But alas, they were not ripe and we all picked 1/2 of a basket combined... not good.  

But we had fun walking through the peach and apricot trees...

... feeding the animals, and buying some delicious fresh fruit!  (Oh and a ginormous onion!!)  It was a fun adventure :)


That evening, we took the monstrous onion...


... and made about 50 delicious onion rings! (from that single onion about the size of Tiffany's head)
It was a good day :)


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cupcakes and champagne...

So this summer I have found a new love for baking!  Joanna and I decided to make cupcakes on Thursday... the devil's food cupcakes (with our own mix of chopped up Reese's peanut butter cups and chocolate chips) followed by champagne was an exquisite combination!  


They were delicious!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Suuuuuuuummer fun :)

Summer is finally here and it's so good to be home!!!  I'm feeling spoiled because of all the fun stuff I've been doing.  Here are some highlights :)

Hanging at the beach...

Making strawberry freezer jam...

Plum jam...

Strawberry fruit leather...

Canoeing in Laguna Lake...

Directing Resound (youth ensemble) and Simple Offering (quartet)...

And spending some quality time with my girls!

It's been an awesome summer so far! More to come... :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009


It's been a long time since I blogged my thoughts. I guess I just feel like I have to have something amazing to say - I can't just write to write.  And then months go by and there's nothing written down.  Sometimes it feels like life moves so fast and there's so much going on that there's no time to just stop and think about all the things I'm learning.  Like sometimes I'm thinking so much about the next thing I'm going to experience that I forget to stop and reflect on what's actually happening now.  Like there are so many things that go on that I can't just pick one thing to learn - it's all melting together - like all these experiences are simply forming... me.  

I guess I usually feel like I have to have something to say or share - but this is just me.  I am who I am.  I'm figuring out who that is.   I think I'm becoming the woman God intended me to be (I hope!)  And I may not know exactly what God is teaching me every day of my life, but I do know that he is forming me... shaping me... into... what?  I guess I'm not exactly sure who that is yet.  I do know some of what it is.  I know that I'm a person who...

loves sitting in Starbucks with a friend (old or new) talking for hours about anything and everything - pleasant and unpleasant.
I love to have serious, hard, thought-provoking conversations.
I love to laugh until my stomach hurts.
I love people who hug me and don't pull away right away.
I love when a friend walks into the room and brightens my day without speaking.
I love watching sappy chick flicks with girlfriends.
I love little kids and the way they love unconditionally and without fear of being hurt.
I love the way music can connect strangers.
I love getting letters in the mail.
I love seeing someone's face after they've received an unexpected gift.
I love cuddling.
I love to see people worshiping God and being washed over by his wonderful presence.
I love snuggling up in a warm blanket and reading a good book.
I love getting dressed up and pretty.
I love dancing when it's with someone special.
I love taking goofy pictures with friends.
I love bonfires and Reese's s'mores.
I love people who challenge me because they love me.
I love God and the fact that he's given me so many wonderful things to be thankful for.
Thank you, Jesus!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm exhausted...

and ready for a break... and sleep.

:(  Evil music history exams.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas break...

A lot has happened since I last posted something... finals, Laurel's wedding, Christmas travels, being at home...

So first off - my first semester at CBU is over and it was an interesting one.  It has been very difficult (in ways I did not expect) but I do not regret transferring because I know that this is where God has led me.  He has stretched me through this experience and will continue to do so as I have only 3 semesters to go.  It's weird to think that I am already 1/4 of the way through my CBU career!  Just a reminder that I need to work really hard.  But I was very happy with my grades at the end of the semester :)  *The above picture is from a Christmas dinner we did with some of the girls in our apartment building before going home for the holiday.

Laurel and Daniel got married (again hehe) on December 20th and I was honored enough to celebrate it with them!  Laurel looked absolutely beautiful and was so happy!  

After Laurel and Daniel's wedding, I returned home for Christmas with my family.  We traveled to Indio, Pasadena, and Valencia this year to visit different parts of our family.  It was a great time to just relax and catch up with everyone.

After Christmas, I was able to be at home for a week before heading back to school.  My schedule was pretty much booked solid for the whole week, but I got to spend time with lots of people.  Everyone at home is so wonderful that it makes it very difficult going back to school!  But I think this semester will fly by and then I'll be home for summer :)
*Some of my former high school students/choir members (Leanne, me, Augusta, Lynne) - I love those girls so much!