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Saturday, February 18, 2012


This has been a revealing week about the music in my life.  Music has always been such a big part of my life.  I planned my high school class schedule around band and vocal.  If I couldn't fit those in, the other classes were not an option.  I decided not to take Physics in High School because it would mean giving up a music class. My favorite activities revolved around music--marching band, jazz band, Singers, piano and flute lessons, District Band, District Jazz Band,  Bethel College Music Camp, and Kansas Ambassadors of Music trip to Europe.  There was music in my house almost every minute of the day.   The stress relieving activity that worked the best for me was playing piano--I'd get so involved in the music, I couldn't even hear what was going on around me.  I would go to sleep listening to some of my favorite music.

I began teaching piano lessons in high school as well as directing the choir and leading music at church.  Music performance was even my first major in college--much to the chagrin of some and the delight of others.  I changed it mostly because the love of music was quickly leaving me and I wanted music to continue to feel like a joy in my life and not just a job.  I quickly rediscovered the love of music.  I found myself singing along with every CD (or cassette) I played in my house.  I loved to watch musicals and dream of someday being on stage.  I even took voice lessons as an adult and sang with the Youngstown Symphony Chorus.  My love of music was firmly in place.

Then, comes the accident and music left my life.  My family made sure there was music playing all the time in my room when I was unconscious.  I hear that's great for brain activity and God knows my brain needed all the help it could get.  It was after I  got home, that music left my life.  I have quite a CD collection, but they rarely get played.  The radio is off more than it is on.  Musicals are no longer played on my TV nearly as often.

Piano has reentered my life in the past few years.  My fingers have begun working better together and I have been practicing and even began teaching lessons again.  I thought the joy of music was back in my life.  And, to an extent it is.  I love teaching and playing again.  I look forward to lessons every week.  I love having a reason to research music online and at music stores.  I have even been known to take a trip to Hays only to visit the music store.

This year, I attended the Christmas concert at Cathedral on the Plains.  It was all wonderful, but I found myself drawn to the flutist.  And, I found myself wondering if I even remembered how to play my flute.  I hadn't touched it in 7 1/2 years.  Much to my joy, I picked it up when I got home and played a song.  I remembered all the fingering to all the notes and cried with joy.  Guess that part of my brain had just been lying in wait for my fingers to work again.

This week, I had a revelation of why music has left my life.  Why don't my CDs get played?  Why is the radio silent?   I was listening to a Broadway soundtrack on my MP3 player and found myself picking which song I would sing.  I found myself deciding who I would sing a duet with and choreographing our performance.  Then, the awful truth hit me that that would never happen.  Singing is no longer a part of my life.  I want to sing along with every song I hear, but the sound that comes out of my mouth sounds like a dying cat.  And, since no one wants to hear that, myself included, CDs and radios are silent in my house.

Any good ideas out there about how to introduce more music in my life without adding the sound of dying cats?   Listening to or playing instrumental music seems to help.  Any other ideas out there?

Friday, February 17, 2012


I read the article "Raise the Next Steve Jobs" in Parenting: School Years .  Well, it got me thinking about what exactly I want for my kiddos and what the gifted program had meant to me.  My gifted program in Jr. High/High School played a big part in getting me safely through school.  I looked forward to the one classroom period each week where I could escape from the reality of regular classroom experience and actually get to relax and have a good time. 

It is the experience from Gifted class that remains in my memory and that I want to somewhat try to recreate for those in my life now.
  • I tried to create a new cultural experience for our youth group with food each week during our Lunch Bunch in the summer because we did that in Gifted class and I loved it
  • We have many of the same board games here at home that we played in Gifted
  • I still find myself reading books and watching movies not solely for mindless entertainment, but sometimes look for life lessons in them
  • I love experiencing new cultural events and want to introduce that to my family--Check out our blog at  I often thought of Gifted class on our adventures around the state.
The best part about Gifted for me was finding a group of people I felt comfortable with and could be myself.  We enjoyed spending time together enough that it was not limited to the 1 hour of Gifted class per week.  We found time to be friends and hang out in our other classes as well.  We even got to go on road trips to Scholar Bowls, Gifted Seminars, and one time to Kansas City.  When I think about my high school, often the people I was associated with through the gifted program are the ones I think of today.  I wonder where they all are and what they are doing.  I am still in contact with some of them almost 20 years later.  (Can't believe it's been that long!!)

So, I've decided what I want for my kids is not necessarily a Gifted program.  There are both good and bad ones out there.  I was just fortunate enough to have a great one throughout Jr. High/High School when I needed it the most.  What I want for my kiddos is to find a group of people they feel comfortable with and who will let them be themselves.  I want them to have a group of peers who will encourage them to always do their best and reach for the stars.  I want them to be challenged to continue to do better and better and have someone to celebrate with when they reach their goals. 

Thank you Mrs. Sebelius and the JJAAS.  I am who I am today partly because of you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happiness vs. Joy

I read something this week that talked about how we need to do whatever it takes to make ourselves happy.  The thought of us deserving happiness and doing whatever it takes to make it happen is dangerous. Happiness is so fleeting and dependent on circumstances. What I want to have in my life is joy--which comes through your relationship with God. Happiness seems to be a bit selfish and self-serving. (and temporary) Joy is not dependant on my circumstances.  Joy is trusting in the future and knowing the promises of God WILL be fulfilled.  Joy sees the possibilities in all circumstances.

Part of the problem is our sense of entitlement, that the world owes us. Well, the world doesn’t owe me happiness--in fact, I’m glad God doesn’t give me everything I deserve.  It would definitely not make me happy. I’m not sure it’s possible for anyone to “be happy” for any length of time if they are constantly focused on self. Focusing on self necessarily creates pain and unhappiness for others. That is not loving and not what I am called to do as a follower of Christ.

"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He had given us."  Romans 5:2b-5

I have joy because I have hope for the future.  I would love to help you get joy, but all I can do is point you toward God who wants to give you joy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all.  I think Valentine's Day may hold the most excitement for school aged kiddos.  The excitement for picking out (or making) the perfect valentine, making a valentine box or bag, hoping you will get a valentine sucker from that special someone, school parties, etc.  is palpable.  You can feel it in the air.  In fact, that's how I knew my son was really sick.   He doesn't even care that he may miss some of that today.

I love Valentine's Day and love that there is a holiday set aside to show love and appreciation for others.  I personally love showing family, friends, and my husband that I love them.  However, this should not be a once a year occurrence.  We should be showing love on a daily basis, not only at Valentine's Day.  Valentine's Day is a day to get all sappy, eat chocolate, and have parties.  I only hope it is not the only day of the year that the people in my life feel loved.  That is something I hope to be showing on a daily basis. 

It saddens me when I hear or read on Facebook others that are hating Valentine's Day and all it stands for.  I realize some people do not have a significant other in their lives right now.  I'm hoping everyone has someone (friend, family, etc) that loves them and whom they can love in return.  If you know people who don't, please let me know.  I am fortunate enough to have multiple people who love me and my cup is overflowing.  Not to mention, I know I have the love of God and would love to share with those in need.   Love is vital every day of the year, not just on Valentine's Day.

We were asked what we were doing for Valentine's Day and it took a minute to figure it out.  Part of that is because my Valentine's Day consists of helping with a school party and now taking care of a sick child.  Eric and I say we celebrated Valentine's Day early because our kiddos were with Grandma and Grandpa.  We got to eat out and see a movie and just spend time together.  We call that our Valentine's Day celebration, but we would have done it anyway, no matter the time of year.  I was relieved to discover that verbalizing Valentine's Day plans was difficult, not because we weren't doing anything, but because we weren't doing anything special.  Love is shown at our home all year long.  I hope you can say the same.

Don't get me wrong.  I love celebrating Valentine's Day and want the people who love me to continue celebrating Valentine's Day as well.  I think I might feel a little unloved if I wasn't recognized on this day.  However, we should be showing love all year.  Not necessarily extravagance, but love.  Not only to our close friends and family members, but to everyone.  In Thank My Lucky Scars, Ward Foley says, "When God is in the center of a person, love is truly seen, and it pours into their world."  May those in my life see love "pouring into my world."

How do you show the people in your life that you love them?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Painfree Childbirth?

OK.  I really need your input on this one.  I'm trying to do some Bible study based on the idea that we as Christians can have a pain free childbirth process.  I'm really struggling with this and would like all your ideas about what you think and most importantly the Bible has to say about this. 

Genesis 3: 16-17 says "To the woman he said , 'I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you'  To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, "You must not eat of it," Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.'"

I have heard people say that we can be free from the curse God set for Adam and Eve through our relationship through Christ.  They say it is possible to have a painfree childbirth and I've heard Galations 5:1-2 quoted as support: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."   Yes, we are free, but I don't find any biblical support to suggest this would lead to painfree childbirth.  In fact, in John 16: 20-22 Jesus says, "20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."  So, I'm thinking that if Jesus said there would be pain in childbirth, there will be pain in childbirth.

If I'm missing something, please let me know.  I know people will say if you have enough faith, childbirth can be pain free.  These same people would say if I had enough faith, I could be walking and free from my wheelchair.  I say this is not at all true.  I always say walking is overrated.  :)   God has opened doors to meet people and have experiences I would not have had without this chair.  

Besides, if we are free from the curse of painful childbirth, what about Adam's curse of working the ground?  Why doesn't food miraculouly pop out of the ground for us to eat once we become Christians"

Let me know what you think.  I'm really looking for insight and Bible study on this issue.