Tuesday, November 22, 2016

An Abundance of Thanks

An Abundance of Practice
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

I'm thankful for a God who has the whole world in his hands.

I'm thankful for a husband who loves me unconditionally.

I'm thankful for Calvin and Mary who light up my life and teach me something new everyday.

I'm thankful for my family and Bill's family. We are blessed with family. My mom, my sister and Sam, Bill's folks and his sister and brother-in-law. There's just a few of us--we've got to try to take care of each other.

I'm thankful for our home and that we can share it with people we love and fill it with music, light, good food and a glass of wine now and then.

I'm thankful for my friends--Lord, what did I ever do to deserve such good friends. Laughter. Love. Light. Really they are angels.

I'm thankful for Doris's piano this year. It's getting played around eight hours a day. It sounds so beautiful. God's perfect timing. I'm thankful for Doris and all the teachers I've had. I'm thankful for the new teacher in our life, Paul Wirth and the love of music that he's sharing with Calvin. God's perfect timing.

I'm thankful for the piano kids, old and new. Driving out to New Ulm for their workshop on Saturday, I did a lot of thinking. A lot of thanking. I was thinking about the group lesson right before the Christmas recital, I don't know what year, but I had to stand in the back and pretend I was listening to the sound back there because I was so overcome with love, and tears--Knoplohs were moving, Jonelle was leaving Tom, and Tammy had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. All these years later she is cancer free--thank you God. Cassy and Stefanie did Grown Up Christmas Wish. . . and Waldrons did a quartet of Oh Holy Night. It was a sacred time.

All these years later. We have new families, and I love them just as fiercely. I teach them and they teach me. Everyday. There's gonna be more sacred times at this Christmas recital when you see these little ones playing duets and trios together. I'm already sniffly.

Abundance. Of love. Of Thanks. Of joy.

God bless us, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving to you--and if you are reading this, you know that I love you and I'm thankful for you.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is darkness, light; and
Where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
--St. Francis

There is so much post election hate spilling out of the news and Facebook. Some of us sensitive folks absorb all that hate. Families, communities. No one is immune. People are behaving badly. I have even gotten sucked in to fighting with the people I love most. I can't even remember what the fight was about. I'm ashamed.

Perhaps there is one thing conservatives, liberals, people of all races, religious people and non-religious people, gays and straights. . .could agree on. Maybe, maybe, perhaps we could agree to love the person, even when we differ about the ideas. I haven't felt loved this week. And I haven't felt very loving. Personally, I can't go on like that. I need my family. I need my community.

To me love wins is not a political platform or a religious theology, it's just what's gonna have to happen if we are gonna make it through this life with any sense of joy and participation.

Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me. My grandma Hope's leitmotif.

Can you love me if my ideas are different than yours? Can we love each other through this?

I vow to protect everyone I know from hate.
I vow to love each person I know, tenderly and forever, no matter what they think, say or do.

Create in me, a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Post Election Thought

I'm writing this for me. Not really for anyone else. I'm not going to boost the post on Facebook. In fact I'm quietly signing off Facebook for a week, maybe more. Calvin invited me to do this and we are doing it together. My "friends" are making me feel isolated and lonely.

When did politics become religion to people? Are you really governed by the POTUS? I'm not.

Yesterday morning at 7:45 a.m. I watched the good people from the City of Eagan public works remove black spray painted election night graffiti from the walls at the corner of Yankee Doodle and Blue Cross Blue Shield roads. This on my walking path. Suburban hate. Thank you, Eagan, for not letting those words see the light of day.

Lord, above, don't we want to power wash us all?

News flash: hating haters is still hate.

This morning I'm going to run a SAM board meeting. Later today I'm going to start piano lessons with a little five year old girl who speaks Hebrew. Tomorrow I'm going to go see young friends sing in a play. Saturday we are going to have a chamber music workshop here and fill the house to the brim with music and pizza. Saturday night we are taking the family to the Feed My Starving Children Gala. Sunday the choir is going to sing two services and then more chamber music and then we are going to see the From the Top concert, of the cream of the crop young people at the Ordway.

I think I'm gonnna have to listen to the Messiah this morning, "and He shall purify the sons of Levi."
That's what I'm needing. An offering in righteousness.

I'm  holding on to the good part of that scene with the city men in neon yellow vests power washing the concrete--wash it away, Lord, wash it away. Leave the love. Purify us all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day Thought

"Aware of the suffering brought about when we impose our views on others, we are committed not to force others, even our children, by any means whatsoever--such as authority, threat, money, propagnada, or indoctrination--to adopt our views. We will respect the right of others to be different and to choose what to believe and how to decide. We will, however, help others renounce fanaticism and narowness through compassionate dialogue."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, November 4, 2016

Buying Time

You probably know who my favorite cat is

Sunset Cabin Weekend

You probably know who my favorite man is

And. . . my favorite girl

He's like a bad boyfriend. . . sneaking around and then bites you like it's your fault

You probably know what Mary's favorite animal is
Over MEA, the Minnesota Fall school break, Calvin went to St. Louis with the EVMB, Mary went to camp Grandmommy's in Iowa and Bill and I went to the cabin--hold your breath--all by ourselves. Best weekend of my life.

If you are married, I highly recommend this. You can even use our cabin. Sitting comatose in front of the fire for 48 hours? You can feel the life seep back into your bones. If you are single, you have to give this love, this time to yourself. Somehow.

Life is a process, an ebb and flow of growing and evaluating. Sometimes we slip back into chaos, hopefully temporarily for projects, like the workshop. Sometimes it feels like that chaos becomes the norm. Even after the workshop you still wake up at 4:30 a.m. and run the list.

For me, when the flood creeps closer and closer to the door, I stockpile. I better get seven gallons of milk from Costco, because who knows when the water will recede and I'll be able to get the car back out of the garage. Better order Mary's senior prom dress too, and Calvin will be needing cheese. If you have opened my fridge drawer you will know that there have been moments where there have been twenty bricks of co-jack. . . just waiting for the apocalypse. There are upwards of five pounds of coffee beans in my freezer at any given moment.

I've given a lot of time to SAM and to the SPTG and that is a complete privilege. Little by little though, I've got to balance things out a little. I've got to save time to plan my own studio events, and budget time to be gone for my own guest teaching. I'm going to New Ulm in November and out to DC in January. Someone else gets to stay up all night wondering who will pick ME up from the airport.

A couple weeks ago I asked Mary Lynn for more help. Over the last eight years she has been our baby sitter, turned friend, turned chauffeur. Now I'm buying a little of her time. A little of my own time.

Hopefully now, when the flood rises, Mary Lynn can take the life raft to the pet store. I don't have to stuff a thirty year supply of kitten kibbles into the laundry room cabinet. When Flopsy died, I gave an entire trunk load of bunny litter, bunny hay and bunny kibbles to neighborhood bunnies.

Buying time. Window washing. Leaf blowing. That's one kind of time.

Piano lessons for Calvin and jazz piano for Mary? That's another kind of buying time. Investing in someone else's knowledge.

Where your money goes, there goes your heart. My pastor reminded me of that verse when we were celebrating my least favorite holiday, Halloween. By the way, on Halloween I gave up refined sugar for 30 days. This is day five. This is a physical abstaining from the gluttony that has been the last few months. My thoughts on Halloween are a different post and you can probably go into the archives of this blog and you will see the same pattern. . . how three days after Halloween both kids get sick and run fevers and stay home from school. Mary throws up. If Halloween celebrates the dark side--for me that dark side is sugar.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:34.

This year a lot of our heart went into Doris's piano. That is a good thing. God's perfect timing.

It's not in my value system to buy more than I need. Food. Clothes. Toys. I'm not a hoarder, my house is probably pretty high on the tidy scale, but when I hear the lightning and thunder, I batten down the hatches. I buy more blueberries than an army can eat. . . stress requires antioxidants after all. . . and then. . . we throw them out when they spoil. Ditto for kids' clothes. What if I can't do laundry for forty days and forty nights? We've got to have enough undershirts to survive that kind of tragedy. Exaggeration alert. . . 

This entry is a really long and honest way of me saying that we're reevaluating. I'm reevaluating. Where is my heart? What is my treasure?

Family, church, friends, our kids' music education.

Our time.

Way back when I was taking Book 1 from Doris, I asked her how she managed to balance teaching and family life. She told me she had a good husband and a lot of help. I've got the good husband part. I'm upping the help part.

I'm on a self imposed spending moratorium, and I'm putting my money into my time. My sugar eaters anonymous program is a physical reminder of that. One other facet for me, is to use up the stockpile of everything that I have in my possession, before buying anything new. For shampoo, that means that I'm really hopeful that Mary's grandchildren like the smell of Paul Mitchell. I guess we have this much because you never know when things could get really busy, or terrorists could attack, and we might need to wash our hair 37,454,281 times. And conditioner of course, because in tough times you can't have snarls.

Much love to everyone. . . you are my treasure too!