Friday, November 14, 2014

I do other things!

It's so much easier to post about the family, most times. I don't have to analyze too much...at least at this stage...just enjoy the strange, wonderful thing it is to have little people in the house.

But, I am doing other things besides mothering. I am still teaching, just not in a public school setting. And it is going fairly well. I am still singing, just not frequently, and it is going fairly well. I don't post about those nearly as often as I think about them or do them. It's just harder to make coherent sense out of them when I get a chance to sit down and reflect.
some cutie patoots from my 2 year old First Steps in Music class last year

So, teaching. I am teaching my First Steps in Music classes for the littles and it is pretty fun this session! Not that it wasn't the last couple sessions, but I am enjoying this batch of mothers and children very much. Many of them are from my church or the seminary, which makes for a deeper immediate camaraderie. I don't get much time to fellowship with others at church right now (being at church with a child Isabelle's age is no picnic - it's no naptime = ugh), so it is hugely encouraging to me to be able to talk with some dynamite women every week and feel like I'm still part of our church community. I mostly have a bunch of 2-5 year olds, which is a switch from my last couple sessions of mostly younger kiddos - and I definitely enjoy the older kids' class more. It is very similar to how I teach a young elementary class - so it is very comfortable for me.
an example of the activities we do in my First Steps in Music 2-5 year old classes

The only squidgy part this fall is I am doing my FBE (Field Based Experience) for my Masters of Music Education program using First Steps in Music as the Experience a.k.a practicum. It is easy enough, it just takes a long time to be analyzing and writing out everything. It has been encouraging to be observed and affirmed in what I am doing though. I am very ready to not have this Masters hanging over me!
from this past spring's Cosi fan Tutte

I also have been singing, albeit not as much as I would like. I am teaching privately more this year than I have been - I have 5 students so far this year, with a potential 6th starting up next week. This has actually ended up being the meat and potatoes of the income I am bringing in. It's just strange to me, because I haven't advertised for private teaching much at all in the past few years, and this year I have people asking me left and right if I am willing to teach. It has been a rewarding experience this year too, instead of the dread and agony I tend to feel after private lessons in the past. I find it much easier to relate to a class of people than during a one-on-one time. There is one woman I am teaching voice to who has been especially fun - she and I learn similarly and therefore speak the same language, making the imagery click and teachability factor go through the roof. She is sounding really great lately, and I am so excited for her, and excited for me that I am helping her in some way. She is also someone that I have considered asking to be a sort of mentor for me...she is gracious and funny, is about 5 years ahead of me in parenting years, but is about 15 years older than me.  We get along very well, and she has such a strong sense of God throughout our life here on earth, which is hugely encouraging to me. I hope I will be able to actually spend some good time with her over the next few years.
because, really...who doesn't want to spend more time with this weirdo?
(that's me, by the way...)

So, teaching singing is different than performance singing. I just don't know how to fit that in. I am singing for occasional (paid!) gigs, either through my church or friends who need someone to fill in.  And I love those types of things since I can't commit to a weekly rehearsal right now. And it is really hard to go anywhere at night right now because Isabelle is so mommy-dependent. I just keep telling myself that it is a season of life, and things will get easier and maybe someday I might be able to go to the grocery store after 7pm or even on a date with my husband...but let's not get too crazy. :)  This is why I stayed home - to take care of the littles and be available. And, by the grace of God, I am!
Izzy, when she was about 8 months old -
she was handed a lightsaber and didn't know what to do...
So, I do other things besides just mothering. I just don't blog about them often. Someday I will do posts that aren't updates...more thoughtful ones. Have a good day all!  

Friday, October 31, 2014

grace

Life is going by very fast these days.

I blink and it's the end of October and Jeremiah is practically 5 feet tall and eats more at dinner than Jon and Isaac is not far behind and oh my word how are we going to feed these children on a pastor's and teacher's salary?

There were only 3 meltdowns by our middle son today - 2 of them somewhat warranted, with the wounds from elastic bands and pavement to prove it. The other one could have been avoided if I had realized it had been about 4 hours since he last ate anything of substance. After the outburst, grab a couple spoonfuls of the lunch I left out on the counter that he refused to eat and make him eat it because this is why you are crying, my son - please eat!

I vacillate between survival mode and callousness some days, while desperately wanting to live in every moment but afraid of what I will see of myself if I do. Today, I saw a beggar who is trying to be something but can't and wants to be accepted but is criticized and fails miserably at putting on a public face when teaching friends out of her home.

I love that I am home, teaching what I am skilled at, and able to give to my husband and children by holding down the fort.

I don't love that I take so much personally that isn't meant to be so, and feel boxed in at times, and have a tendency toward melancholy as winter approaches.

I so wish I could constantly be salt and light and never worry about pleasing everyone but still have assurance of everyone loving me.

Ah, the warring nature within ourselves. Delightful.

Friends and Family, I ask for grace. I feel like I am supposed to be an adult who has three kids and and a husband of almost ten years and a budget and meal plans and she-knows-what-she's-doing and did-I-feed-the-baby-this-morning? and why-does-anyone-trust-me-to-do-anything...I feel just as lost as ever sometimes, just with larger stakes on the line.

I ask for grace as I interact with you and maybe don't seem as connected as you might want. I ask for love when I am unlovely and selfish. I ask for you to treat me as I do not deserve, but so desperately need. I ask for you to be Jesus to me. It is becoming hard to focus my eyes on him when in the trenches of family life, feeling my way through this wonderful, blessed life. I know He extends to me His burden in exchange for mine, but I still amazingly am foolish enough to try to shoulder my own out of guilt that our culture tells me to just handle it, already.

But, I can't.

No, nothing is catastrophically wrong. We are, in all things, primarily doing well as a family unit. It is just good to admit how much grace I need sometimes. I get tired of trying to do it all. I get tired of trying to do it, any of it. I get tired of trying.

Thank God for Jesus. Thank you, Jesus, for loving us where we are at and being pleased to move us from there as You see fit. And thank you for showing grace when we need it most.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. - John 16:33

Friday, October 24, 2014

All about that bass

Check this out:



Love her voice, she's an amazing bass player, and the style is right up my alley now. I do not love the lyrics...but there are few pop songs right now that I DO like the lyrics to, which means a few things, I think:

1. I am getting older and more sensitive to terrible lyrics.
2. I am getting older and more apt to cover my childrens' ears or sing very loudly over the terrible aforementioned lyrics.
3. I am getting older and more apt to complain about the songs on the radio glorifying lust and sexual freedom and selfish gain, etc, etc.

So, the overall theme here is I am getting older and do not like today's music. But, I am a hypocrite in the highest form, because when you put today's terrible lyrics to a past generation's musical stylings...I love it and think it's cute and sassy instead of in your face and raunchy.

So, there I be. Ridicule and judge, but ask yourself - do you do this too? Maybe you love classic rock and can't stand jazz. Maybe you love jazz but hate hip hop. Maybe you love anything emo and nothing electronic. Maybe you listen for the words, maybe you only hear the notes and rhythms.

Each generation has it's own music and judges the next generation's terrible taste. It's safe to say that I have always loved music styles from the past, but I definitely used to tolerate pop music better than I do now. Which, I think, means that the next generation is grating on me. I am becoming a crankpot old lady who will roll her eyes at my rapidly growing son's taste in music and try to make sure jazz or motown or classical is played during dinner for at least 10 minutes so they get a well-rounded radio education. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

rant

So, haven't posted in FAR too long, but we are going with a rant here. Just recording for posterity's sake. :)

I signed into my USAA account and they informed me that I needed to update my occupation status so as to make sure it's really me or whatever every time I sign into their ridiculously secure site (they never trust it's me no matter how many times I secure a computer source or type in umpteen passwords...but, hey, they are really really really protecting me, right? It's a good thing, I know.) I went through and chose from drop down menus what I do for a living -

Self-employed - CHECK

Education field - CHECK

music teacher - NOT AN OPTION

Actually, the only option available to me, besides "Musician" was "Self-enrich Ed Teacher."

What the crap.  Not okay...this is such a shallow definition of what we do as music educators.

I don't normally write complaint emails, and technically this was a "suggestion" email, but I shot one off rather quickly, surprising myself a bit with my passion in this regard (I guess these last 5 years of Masters of Music Education study have done something...)

To whom it may concern:
It greatly disturbs me to see that the only option for me to select as a music educator is "self-enrich ed teacher"...it seems obvious to me that someone who does not value and/or understand the impact music and the arts has on culture made this list of occupations.  It is insulting to assume that music only enriches the individual - it has that purpose among others (building community, cataloging history, capturing cultural context, allowing for emotional connection and expression between parties, etc...I could go on) Please consider changing your occupation options to include "arts teacher" or some other similarly more adequately defined description of what we do.  Thank you.
Sincerely, J
As a music educator, this just gets to me, because there has become this assumption among the general public that music has to be "fun" and "self-fulfilling" at all times. It really does so much more than that, but it is under-appreciated as what it is and instead thought of for what it can do for everything else at the most (music study will increase your child's test score/brain balance/teamwork/insert anything and everything here because it does! But that is only one part of it, and really only the residual part! Those are some wonderful effects of music in a person's life, but that is so little of what it is. Music breathes life into a culture and creates community as people express emotions and thoughts in a way that is all-but-unreachable too often otherwise. Music reaches across race and age and language and gender to unite us as humans who enjoy camaraderie in this way. Music allows us to worship our Lord and Savior in a way that glorifies Him alongside the angels' singing. Music captures snapshots of history and culture as you research back to understand how folks used to live. It is, of course, amazingly self-enriching, but it does not stop there. If I couldn't sing, I don't know how I would understand the world sometimes. But that is far from the only reason for my teaching it.
 
What are the thoughts here?  Am I just so in my own little music educator world that I am offended easily, or does this seem a bit off to you as well?

 I will try to be posting more often - the baby has been cruising and I am just plain tired at the end of each day! It's a full life. :) i thank you God.



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

the baby!

Our darling girl. Here she is, all almost-ten-months of her, all grown up.

Remember this?

in between contractions, "oh no, take my picture so we can remember!"

minutes old...


And now, here she is!

mom and daughter

miss bedhead - i am in love with her hair

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: it has FLOWN BY!  How can life go so fast...

Just so I'll remember, here's what little Iz is up to -

crawling everywhere and pulling up on everything

eating Cheerios, watermelon, chicken, beef, eggs, all kinds of baby food, avacado, banana, beans, butternut squash, sweet potato...she wants to try it all! Will often grab food out of mom's hand...

very, very social.  Loves people. Smiles at strangers and laughs with friends.  Did I mention she's social?

Has learned to love her brothers and maybe be a bit cautious around them, as things are apt to get less than gentle accidentally quick.

is fighting nighttime sleep...life is just too interesting!

Mommy is certainly the favorite by far. It might have something to do with the food supply.

We sure love this little Isabelle. She is a delight to our days, the apple of our eyes, and such a gift from the Lord. 10 months. Craziness.

minecraft

So, Jeremiah has been talking more and more about Minecraft.

As he is rapidly growing into a big kid, I am unaware of what new things are out there for the new generation to be interested in doing. New clothes. New toys. New video games (do they still call them that?). All the newness. Ugh.

So, I naively kept thinking that it was the cute game that my generation used to play, which I think was called Minesweeper?

remember this?  Oh, the hours wasted before Facebook...


No no. This is so far from that. This is Minecraft.



Riding rollercoasters, and building your own community, and the biggest sandpile ever.

On a screen. Next to nobody with you.

Sometimes I just want to scream with all the focus on screens. What is this generation going to become? How can I get them to still be creative?!

I feel like I spend at least a third of my day (and at least half of my time with Jeremiah) saying, "nope, we are done with screentime," or "Screentime is over for the day," or "you need to try something besides looking at a screen." And all of this in a family where they only are typically allowed 30 minutes of screen time a day! The way they ask about it, you would think I allow it all the time.

Now, I did my fair share of Nintendo and TV and movies growing up.  But this is a different animal. Handheld personal devices are everywhere. I find my 3 year old trying to turn a page in a book by swiping his finger across it. Everywhere you go, if someone has to wait somewhere - anywhere...it could be an amusement park! - they immediately pull their phone out and interact with that world instead of the one around them. Heaven forbid we look around and talk to people around us.

I am a little old-fartish about this...but I sincerely think it is going to harm society greatly if we do not figure out how to control the addiction to personal technology. I thank God at least weekly that I went to high school, college, and had my early years of marriage without the infringement of everyone being connected on a social network and checking their phones every 5 minutes. It amazes me how quickly this has become normal to do.

Ok, roll your eyes at me now. And no, I am not letting Jeremiah play Minecraft. I am going to pull every trick I can for as long as I can to get him to not play real video games for a while yet. At least that's the plan.  And I'm starting to realize how plans go when you are parenting...(sigh).  

Thursday, July 03, 2014

ramble ramble

Well.

I keep writing these little "idea" drafts of blog posts.

They are obviously not getting written...

So, here we are again, as a random stream-of conciousness...thing. post. thing.

So...here's the scoop:

(everything boils down to the nitty-gritty with the kids, no matter how grand I start out...observe)


finished second session of First Steps of Music

got asked to do a summer session with a local playgroup business (yay!)

volunteered with VBS

kept the house running (such as it is...) while Jon did a crazy intensive preaching course

started my own crazy intensive Western music course

should be reading/typing/researching more but pbbbbbt on that I have 3 kids!


happy Easter picture - first one with all the family
and I am convinced I also have about that many brain cells

so very overtired, but GOD never sleeps, thank goodness.

had my parents here for a few weeks, that was nice

actually wonderful

so good in fact that I felt like I went on vacation and kept forgetting appointments and things like paying bills because I did not have to wash any dishes while my mom was here...

it was amazing to come back from dropping my mom off at the airport and stand at the sink and realize I had not stood at the sink for about 2 weeks...

Jeremiah is on summer vacation and keeps singing "SUMMAHH!!!" in his best Olaf voice, which then makes me and then all of us (except my eye rolling husband) break into our best rendition of, um, all the Frozen songs

while boys are wearing various masks


which there have to be constant reminders to not bring to the dinner table

or put on their sister
is that who I think it is?
It's quite entertaining to hear Lord Vader singing "my power flurries through the air into the ground!"

my house is sadly, very dirty again

I think I may be a rather poor housekeeper, in the cleaning sense of the word...

and I have no desire to cook because it's hot and humid and I forget that the bliss of summer comes with the apathy of not wanting to cook because who wants to stick their face in a 350 degree oven on a 94 degree beach day?

"Pizza again!" (cheers from the minions - then, "can we have cheese because that other kind you and dad got last time was gross")

...(mom muttering to herself)...quiet, ungrateful child. you eat what you're told. 


...Ok, fine, we'll get cheese.


no this is not cheese pizza, it's scrambled eggs and ketchup.
so much of our lives is made up with thinking about, making, and discussing food.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Cosi report

Cosi fan Tutte.

Cosi fan Tutte!

I have not written about this at all, really.  It's still amazing to me how little brain capacity I have for things with all these children running around. I think I used to be a fairly intelligent person.  The last few children have reduced me to a blathering fool at times.  Seriously, Jeremiah looks at me sometimes and tells me what word I'm trying to say.  Oy!

Anyway, Cosi fan Tutte has had its opening night about a week ago. I think I can safely say that it went well: it was well attended, had a responsive audience, and I had only one major screwup (but I'm not even certain most audience members knew it was my fault?!) Anyway, overall, really fun.  The most important development over the time spent with this show is:

I'm not nervous anymore.

I'm not NERVOUS anymore!!!

I have always had a problem with nerves...ever since I can remember I would get the customary bundle of nerves every time I stepped on stage.  But, for some reason, this time I stepped on that giant stage in front of a couple hundred people, and was able to sing just as well as I have been singing in rehearsal.  It was like the audience was there in the best way possible - to give me energy and encouragement.  I think that's how it should always be, but I have never been able to do that. It was awesome!  I felt so happy to be communicating through music, without nerves getting in the way.

One more performance to go.  Hopefully the nerves will stay away again.  :)

me, as Despina in Cosi fan Tutte. I think it's quite flattering, do you? ;)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

When they will leave...

Whew. I just read a section of Rob Lowe's book "Love Life" in which he talks about his experience dropping his firstborn off at college.

If Jon hadn't been in the room, I would've been sobbing.

from this past Christmas
(yes, this post will have random pictures of the children in them, for your enjoyment)


You know, these kids are just going to break my heart, over and over with these life milestones. I am just starting to realize the hard nature of actual parenting. I have had people at my church (which has a lot of really big families in it - like, 9-13 kids) very gently smiling at our little family and casually saying things like:

"Oh, I miss those days" (as I am scooping up my whining toddler with one arm as my baby is fussing about a diaper in my other arm)

or

"You know, it seems hard now, but what they don't tell you is that it actually gets harder later." (gee, thanks for the encouragement!)

Which has gotten me thinking.

Isaac, helping Daddy fix a friend's car
Maybe it isn't the easiest time of life right now, as the babies/kids are small and demands are high, motherly attention is at a premium, and sleep deprivation convinces me that no decision is the right one and all matters under my jurisdiction are impossible.  But, as my rapidly-growing oldest boy is teaching me - a time is coming (and is sometimes already here?!) when I cannot fix things with a diaper change or a snack or a trip to the store or some playtime outside.  In it's own way, this is a beautifully simple time, full of innocent love and easy solutions to everyday problems.  A time when I can pretty much dictate what is going to happen in their days, orchestrating it so meltdowns are (usually) avoided, comfort is felt, and people are friendly (or avoided, if need be).  Soon, my baby girl and my toddler will be full fledged children, joining my oldest in navigating the social and emotional waters that can overwhelm.  And there are some things a snack just can't fix.
Fun photo shoot, a few weeks after Isabelle's birth
So, yes, I am starting to believe the people at church when they insinuate (or broadly hint) that these are actually the easy times, as physically draining as they can be.  Because letting your children become functioning people in this world is scary.  They will get hurt, they will hurt others, they will learn hard lessons, and face tough consequences - no one knows better than parents what it's like to be a kid/preteen/teenager.  I am afraid of when I don't know how to help. I am afraid of scars they will bear that I will not even be aware of until years later.  I am afraid of not being enough, pretty much...all the time.

me, at Thanksgiving. I'm thinking, "gee, I'm thankful I have this baby that needs to sleep on me so I have an excuse to not run after my other children and let the massive amount of food I just ate digest properly."
Selfishly, I am afraid that I love them so much...too much for my heart to handle, and I am afraid of the hurt that will come when they are hurt, the hurt that will come when they lash out at me as a safe sounding board, the hurt that will come when they are self-consumed and ignorant of my feelings in a given situation (as children are wont to be).
my sweet Isabelle
But mostly, I am afraid of when, after all the hard raising of them is done, and all the raucous laughter is made, and all the soul-releasing tears of adolescent angst are cried, and I have done what I can to help them understand how to navigate this life...I have to let them go.  I am not actively afraid for them (although I'm sure that will come) but more afraid of what I will be like at the end of this.  When it's just me again...left alone with my thoughts and feelings, not nurturing someone at any given moment...how lonely will that be?

because, boy, will I miss this. :)
I've never been one that needs to surround myself with people to feel better.  In the past, I have always preferred to have my space and let people come and go as they will...my time with them ebbing like the tide.  The military life (that I grew up with) will do that to you, I think. I've never been one for much nostalgia - I usually like to stay in the present and enjoy what's currently happening (maybe it has something to do with my very poor memory as well...you can ask my husband about that one.)  But these children have coerced me into thinking that I like to have people around. And I think I will miss them dearly when they have flown the nest.

Isaac, contemplating how many grains of sand there might be...
Maybe it's not something to worry about, especially as God tells us not to worry about such things.  But it makes me very much aware of why older folks look wistfully at my children and I and say, "the time flies by."  I will try to be more appreciative of the time God has put them in my care.  What a gift to love on these babes for these years.


At least I will have my hyper nostalgic husband to bear the pain of letting them go with me.  :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

My two sons

jer: is 20 or a million bigger?

Me:......really?

---------------------------------

isaac: (pretending with a doll) hi, isabelle!

me: what else is she going to say to her?

isaac: she's going to say......."ribbit."

---------------------------------

me: Isaac, it's time to get your pjs on.

Isaac: Can I keep my superpowers on? (proceeds to flex)

me:   .....sure, why not.

 --------------------------------

Me: Jeremiah, would you bring that...thing...in the barn...? What is it called?

Jeremiah: you can call it manna.

Me:....what?

Jeremiah: you know, that's what "manna" means. "What is it"

Me....(laughing)...ok. Can you put the manna in the barn, please.


--------------------------------

(Background: I've been singing "were you there" for the boys' lullaby at night this week.)

Isaac (singing): were you there...?  No I wasn't...!









Tuesday, March 25, 2014

us, lately

What's up, buttercup?

Ok, so I never say that. But it's popped into my head a few times as I've seen random sprouts coming up during our *still* 30 degree weather we are *still* having. *Still.*

Ugh. I really really really really really dislike winter in New England. But, at least it's not winter in Canada/Greenland/Norway/Antarctica. Where it might be colder for maybe a month longer.

'Cause winter in New England is 6 months long, people!!!

So ready for Spring. And it's not coming.

And enough complaining. When has that ever changed the weather?  Thank you, Lord, for a prolonged winter, where hopefully more creepy crawly things will die and not invade our homes and sting our bodies come warmer weather.

Lately, we've not had much going on. Just a few things -

- Isaac had a random fever for two days, Jeremiah now has an ear infection, and Isabelle is still ok. We've had more sickness in the last 2 weeks than in the entire winter!

- Lyricora has been having Lenten concerts, and it is such beautiful and hard music. We had our first weekend of concerts this past weekend, and another one coming up.  It's a very taxing program to sing, but beautiful to listen to.  Maybe a little like Lent?  We're demonstrating it!  We gave up breathing during singing for Lent, and wonderfully rubato, moving musical phrases have resulted.  (Sort of kidding.)  This piece is one of my favorites that we're singing:




(not a fan of his conducting, but they do a nice job.)


- my next session of music classes is starting next week!  So far sign ups are looking good.  :) Excited to do class outside sometimes (if it ever gets above 30)!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

a trip!

I recently took a trip to middle America to see my folks and attend a conference with my mom (Hi, Mom!) and spend some time in an ice storm. I weirdly thought that maybe the southern middle part of America might be a bit warmer than the north eastern part of America in which I reside. I was deeply mistaken. I left my own state at about 7 degrees, and then left my folks state a few days later at -10 degrees.

And I almost hadn't brought a coat with me!

Anyway, Isabelle and I had a good time, even though she was a bit sick. Here are some thoughts I had while on my trip (in no particular order at all, not even the order in which I thought them):

1. I MISS MY POPCORN MAKER.  I know, you are probably wondering if I missed, oh, you know, my husband and other children.  But, no.  I miss my huge bowl of homemade, oily, buttery, salty goodness that I eat.  Almost every night. (no judging, I'm nursing.)

2. I love being free from responsibility.  There is something that is a little fun-squelching (at least, for me) about being responsible for....so many things.  I feel a weight on me as I try to remember all the sorts of things that are going to keep my children alive and the house not burned down and the bills paid. I kinda avoided responsibility as much as I could as I grew up, and then - there were kids and I kinda had to face it. So, when Jon and I are on our own, or I only have a little teensy baby to take care of for a few days...it's awesome.

3. I have zero concept of time while on a plane.  Ten minutes or 45 could have gone by, and I truly have no idea. Sometimes I feel we've just gotten on and we're getting off. Sometimes I feel there is no possible way that we aren't going to land soon, only to find out that we still have about 2 hours to go.

4. Isabelle is starting to get a little opinionated about her nighttime sleep.  Or rather, where she sleeps, and when.  This is good...but funny to me since she has been so easy-going so far that it hasn't crossed my mind until just recently to, maybe, put her down for the night on some sort of regular schedule.  My point being, I did not necessarily get any more sleep while away from home than I normally do.

5. While on vacation, I take more showers than usual.  As in, pretty much every day.  In steaming hot water, not worrying about if we'll have enough for baths and Jon's shower when he comes home after bathing in car oil all day. Again, don't judge - this is my stage of life right now. Daily showers are a huge luxury.

6. I am so glad that I was traveling with my infant and not my toddler. Those with toddlers will understand.  I was literally breathing huge prayers of thanks to the good Lord above about every half hour.  Or, I think every half hour. (see #3)

7. Flying over big cities at night looks pretty cool.  And a little trippy.

8. Forgetting one's book at home when you finally have unadulterated and guilt-free time to read is a real bummer.  I was seriously depressed about that for the first plane flight.  I am reading an amazing christian fiction series - no matter what your thoughts about christian fiction...this series has been blowing my mind.  Read it!

9. People are much more considerate than I think they are going to be in airports. I think I have a warped view of people, or I live in a somewhat inconsiderate state of the union...but everyone was very helpful - from unlocking my stroller, to putting my stuff under my seat, to holding my baby when I needed to get my water bottle to take a drink for the twentieth time on the flight.

10.  I became so incredibly thirsty while nursing and flying.  It was a bit ridiculous.  I felt like a camel.

That's all. Love to you and Happy Monday!

Friday, February 14, 2014

a broken heart

Ok, so I know I haven't posted for a while, and honestly, I've been finding it hard to post recently...it's not easy to feel you've put yourself out there and can't take it back and what if it makes people think ______ about you? Anyway...February breeds my meloncholy sometimes.

But, here is something I came across that I would like to share, if you haven't read it already. I repost quite a few things from Ann Voskamp, with her inspired "prosetry" as she calls it. She has posted something on her blog today that struck me as very wise, with things in it that I have been slowly, ever so slowly, trying to learn over the 8 years of being married to my love.  A few lines in particular pinged my innards:

"You have been brave and let yourself love. Which means you’ve let your heart be busted and banged up and this has kept you tenderized and soft. I am sorry. I. am. sorry.

What else would have kept us alive and real and from growing hard?

They didn’t tell us that at the beginning: The moment you let love into your heart, your heart starts breaking. The only way to stop your heart from breaking is to stop your heart from loving. You always get to choose: either a hard heart or a broken heart. A broken heart is always the abundant heart — all those many beautiful pieces only evidence of an abundant life."


...you've let you heart be busted and banged up and this has kept you tenderized and soft...the moment you let love into your heart, your heart starts breaking...a broken heart is always an abundant heart...

This was life-giving to read and ponder, because I have known heartbreak, and it is excruciating. I think it is safe to say that no one wants it, and I would never wish it on my worst enemy. But to think of it as a part of loving - that this side of heaven, no one can love you perfectly and you can't love anyone perfectly, save God Himself - and that with love comes the tenderization of heartbreak and humbling of disappointments and sacrificing of ideals for another soul's affection...it puts it a bit more into perspective.  It keeps us receptive to love!  And that is a very good thing.

Thank you, Father and Christ, for loving me perfectly, and knowing me perfectly, even as I am so very imperfect. Thank you for the patient family and friends you have placed around me. Help me to love them well, for they love me as I do not deserve.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Great testimony



John Henry Newman: “He has not created me for nothing. I shall do good, I shall do his work, I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of the truth in my own place– if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling. Therefore, I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness will serve him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what he is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me- still He knows what he is about- and I trust Him.”

Thank you, Mr. Newman. Good reminder of who God is...and who I am.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Teaching at home

It's time I told you about my First Steps in Music classes, eh?

So these classes are going really well, in my opinion. They started a few weeks ago and this is the 3rd of 12 weeks for the winter session. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from people, and have felt fairly successful in getting my name out there in advertisement, at least for this maiden voyage of classes.

I have 11 students total, spread out over 4 classes. My Friday classes are definitely the biggest and busiest - I have 4 signed up in the 2 year old class, and 3 (technically 4 because one registration is twins) in the 1 year old class. It is such a joy to watch the kids' faces as their parents do bounces, wiggles, tickles, songs, and beat games with them. It's also fun to feel so supported by friends, acquaintances, and even people I never knew before this as I attempt this new business!

I hope to get some pictures soon...not sure how since I will be teaching the whole time I would be taking pictures....and I need to get permission from those in class. The kids are really super cute.

A couple interesting things I didn't expect/think about regarding this venture:

- I assumed that Isaac would love doing these classes with me since he truly loves to sing and do anything like this at any point.  I forgot that he can be quite shy and stubborn when I want him to do things with me in front of other people.  He doesn't like to participate when I'm not the one teaching, and then have me be the one that everyone is following and he is supposed to stay in my lap and cooperate willingly?  Yeah, that's not really happening.  It's a little disappointing, and I'm fighting the feeling that it reflects badly on me as a teacher of this age that my own two year old won't participate.

- Since these classes are in my house, the children sometimes want to play throughout the house instead of stay and do music class.  I have solved that, at least temporarily, with a gate that I put up to block off the class area from the rest of the house.  It seemed to work this past week, we'll see how it works as weeks go on.

- After class, parents want to stay and chat!  This is a GREAT thing...but not one that I planned on, unfortunately.  The only day that it is a little hard is Friday, because I have two classes back to back, with a half hour in-between.  Maybe the next session in spring, I will try to have more time in-between classes so we start on time and people can get in and out without feeling rushed?  Or maybe I need to set firmer boundaries...still feeling that one out.  Most of the people here on Fridays are good friends, so they feel comfortable in my house, and I feel comfortable letting them hang out as they wish, so it's not nearly as weird as it would be if I didn't know most of them well.  :)  I think if I keep doing these classes in the future, and I (hopefully) have more sign ups, I will have to find a bigger space which will take care of this problem innately, as it won't be a cozy house anymore.

- my cord for my electric keyboard is gone.  Jon took it to church this past summer and returned without the cord, and now we don't know where it is.  Very sad, especially since I REALLY want to use it with these classes.  Now I'm brushing up on guitar skills instead (which, really is not a bad thing).

So far, things are working out.  I am so thankful for the positive feedback and support from everyone, and really hope this continues to work out. Next, I'm hoping to hear from our local library to see if we can do some classes there, and maybe even have some at the Jon's seminary.  Things are moving ahead!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Despina


So, I told you all that I am going to be Despina come spring.

But, I did not tell you the crazy way it happened.

I got a role for an opera and I didn't even audition?!

I mean, I sort of did, but it was the easiest audition I've ever done.

I got an email from a good acquaintance (who also happens to be the audition coordinator) asking if I was thinking about auditioning for their staged concert version of Mozart's opera Cosi Fan Tutte.  I had been thinking about it, pretty much wanting to, but dragging my feet about contacting them because I live in a world where I am often not certain what day of the week it is because I am no longer on a work schedule and then 2 weeks go by, and I'm all like, shoot I haven't done X, Y and Z yet and then I still don't do them.  It's a non-productive atmosphere around here.

Anyway...I said I wanted to audition, but needed to update my resume so I could email it to them.  She said, don't worry about it, just bring it with you and gave me a slot.

Audition day arrives, and my ear is swollen to about 3 times its normal size and HURTS.  Not really sure what's going on, but I am worried it's an ear infection, which adults don't tend to get, and it's weirdly affecting my singing.  I decide to take this as divine intervention and email my friend that it's not going to work and I can't come and I'm sorry.

She replies that they're sorry too and hopes I feel better soon.

Later that night, I have an email asking if I could send a video clip of me singing for a video audition.  Great idea! I think.  However, I do not have a current video of me singing, and although this company does, I am not about to make my good acquaintance do the leg work of my audition for me by telling her to go find my video among their archives and show it to the panel of directors. I tell her I can try to get a video to them by the end of that week, if that was acceptable (and if my ear situation settled down).

Next morning, I have an email asking me if I would be interested in either Despina or Dorabella, just as a preliminary question - or in covering either role (:cover" means "understudy" in opera speak).  I said, yes, either one!

Later that evening, she then informed me that I video auditioned with my Una Voce from the Gala last night and would I like to accept the role of Despina?  And I just laughed and shot back a reply, YES of course!  Thank you!

It is really neat to have this company of singers to work with, who know me and know my voice, and want me in their productions!  I am very excited about this role, and am happy to still have somewhere to preform that works with my current crazy mommy schedule.  God is blessing this dream, in ways I couldn't imagine there for a long time.  :)  SO happy to still be singing.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

dreams and purpose

Well this looks interesting:


“We are called to dream but we’re afraid to. But because we are called, when we don’t act on it we become restless—restless to find purpose, to make a difference in the world, to matter.”

(from this book...might be worth picking up?)
RESTLESS_MOCK
I've been reading more and more about human beings striving to find purpose, and all in seemingly unrelated books, magazines, blogs, songs.  This quote struck a chord though.  I definitely get restless when I take "breaks" from music in my life.