Thursday, July 30, 2009

So.. have you heard of Wordle?

I am sure I found out about this cool tool from one of your sites out there,
but I had a little fun with it and just wanted to share it.
It is so easy to do!

First you need to visit the Wordle website.
Once you are there follow all the directions and you can create
some really neat word art, like this ...
So you pick a word or a topic, and then add synonyms or antonyms or any kind of text at all, and the application arranges them all in a word cloud. Prominence is given to the words that are written more than once.

At first I tried to do a scripture verse,
but I really didn't care for the way the words came out.
The meaning of the verse was completely gone - and well...
I didn't think God would be too happy with me messing with His word -
so I went on to something a little less life altering for me.

I am always trying to come up with new ways to help the kids
at school learn the musical terms I am required to teach.
This is such an excellent way to do this. I know some teachers actually
have the students create their own 'manual' ( aka paper and pencil) word
clouds without a computer program.

I really like the way these come out though,
so I used some basic music terminology.

You can tweak the words in MANY different ways.
You can select different fonts, different colors, different backgrounds,
even more horizontal or vertical settings for your words. I originally saved them as .pdf files,
so I could print them, but then converted them to .jpg files for this post.
If you have a few minutes, it is fun to fool around with and
see what you can come up with.

One evening while I was sitting with Young One and Tall One
I asked them to come up with words that described me.
Here is what they said ....

It was funny to see this - as we sometimes try to define 'who we are' by 'what we do'. I had a great lesson in this a few years back.

I always considered myself a singer. That is what I did. That was who I was. But then one day I developed a case of whooping cough (aka pertussis). Did you know that the vaccine that we get as babies (the p in the dtp), wears off after like 10 years, and as an adult you are not protected from it any more? That sure was a wake up call for me. Now take WC and couple it with asthma, and I was pretty sick for 2-3 months. The side effects were even longer lasting. I completely lost my singing voice, and was without it for about 6 months.

This happened during the 13 years I was home with my sons. Thankfully I was not working (vocal music teacher) at the time, although I was still supposed to be singing every Sunday, leading worship at my church. Obviously for those 6 months, I didn't. I had many a sleepless night (not just from the coughing) but trying to determine who I was. Every single movement and breath brought on fits of coughing and hacking. If you have ever heard anyone cough with that illness, you will never forget it. It was a very hard time in my life. It was a very hard time in my family's life. Oh that cough was aggravating!

But during that time, God allowed me to see myself, as who I was to Him. It had nothing to do with what I did, but had everything to do with the facts that He created me, He allowed me life, He died for me and created the way of salvation. I was not an important creation because of what I could do .... but because of Whose I was.

I've learned that often times when we get in a tough situation we always try to pray ourselves out of it and beg for God to make it better. After that trial (and several others) I came to learn that it is often during those tough times - that God is teaching us, stretching us, helping us, to grow closer to Him and that is what really matters.

Well, after several months of vocal therapy, in which nothing was working, one morning I was putting one of my kids on the bus for school and I started humming .. and my voice was there. I ran to the piano and began to sing for the first time in months. I tried to figure out what was different, and realized that I had missed a few days of some of the asthma medication that had been prescribed for me. I called my therapist and my doctor and we determined that I was in the >1% category of people who had this specific side effect to the medication. They switched my meds and thru more vocal therapy I was able to regain my voice completely.

So the long and short of all of this (for those of you who are still with me) have fun with the Wordle Site, but don't define yourself and your importance by what you do ... It is Whose you are that counts.

Have a great day!