Broken Hearts

Yesterday, we went to the memorial service for a former student of mine.  A 17 year old boy who took a corner too fast on a rainy day.  A mistake that took his life, forever altered his family, and left a community grieving.  Why?

There was a time of sharing at the service yesterday, stories of how much A like to eat, of how he always wore sunglasses, how he played and lived, how he loved to laugh, and how he had a deep faith in God.  It was the most beautiful memorial service I have ever attended and also the most awful.  And again, why?

One thing no one talked about yesterday was about how A was an amazing pianist.  He could work out any music I challenged him with, but he didn’t like music at all.  His mom and I would try everything, but there was just no love it.  Finally, she told A that he could quit when he could tell me he was quitting.  It took a year before he was able to do so because he didn’t want to “hurt my feelings.”  He was 15 at the time and he didn’t want to hurt my feelings.  Could someone please explain to me why him?

I’ve talked to friends.  “We will never understand this,” they say.  And I know, I know.  It is part of a broken world.  Living in this broken world means we will have many times in our lives when we ask why. 

A was loved by many.  He wasn’t perfect by any means.  Really, he was still a teenage boy.  He was still just a kid.  A kid who was looking forward to his senior year next year and talked about what he might want to do after he graduated.  My heart aches for his family and for the days ahead.  They’ve been so busy this past week as they prepared for yesterday’s service, but now they have to reorganize their family and their lives with one less person physically in it, but always in their hearts. 


Introverted, Nomadic, Pescatarian

A couple of weeks ago, I was teaching a class and we were asked by the lead teacher to share three words that described who we are.  We were challenged to try and find words that described more than just our roles in life.  It was difficult at first.  If you were to ask me who I am, I generally respond with wife, mother, musician, homeschooler, homemaker, but those words could be used to describe many people.  I know several in my own circle that fit that exact description.

So I breathed a sigh of relief as I looked around the room and realized that I had a good 3 minutes before it was going to be my turn.  We had many laughs and insight as each person shared.  My own son was in the group and it was interesting to hear him describe himself in a way I didn’t see him.  Hm, maybe this would be a good exercise for our family to do together. 

Anyway, it finally got around to me and the three words just popped into my head. 

I’m introverted.  Oh yes, I am.  I’ve been asked how that can be as I love to perform, to conduct large groups, to lead and speak, but as much as I love those things, they aren’t real contact with other people.  I’m most at home sitting at my piano or with my flute, alone with my music.  I could do that for hours and not feel tired.  I can spend hours, days without much contact with people and I feel energized.  As much as I love my book group, I’m exhausted after just being around and interacting with that many people for a couple of hours.  I promise that if you ever get me one on one, I will talk your ear off, but put me in a group setting, even a small group, and I will just stay quiet and take it all in.  It’s all right, I’ve finally found my place in our noisy world and I’m good with it.

Nomadic was my second word.  My husband would definitely agree with that.  I have about a 2 year cycle of needing something major to change.  Did I ever tell you that my husband doesn’t like change?  He’s good at helping me find ways to make small changes that keep me going.  Since he and I have been together: 1997 – Got married, 1998 – moved to Oregon, 1999 – had first kid(end of the year), 2002 – had 2nd kid (beginning of the year), 2003 – had 3rd kid, 2005 – moved to a more rural area, 2007 – got a new dog, 2009 – a new dog found us, 2011 – quite teaching music to focus more on homeschooling and hopefully performing again, 2012 – felt antsy…got a new dog.  Oh and through all this, I’m constantly bugging the husband about moving, to Alaska, or the East Coast, or maybe Europe.  See?  Not super huge changes, but just enough to keep me from going stir crazy.  Although I would be happy to start packing up the house for the big move.  Did I tell you my husband doesn’t like change?

And then there is pescatarian.  For those who don’t know what that means, it just means I’m basically a vegetarian who also eats seafood.  I blame it on my growing up years.  Living in Alaska, we mainly ate salmon and halibut with the occasional moose burger thrown in.  I still make all the meaty foods for the carnivores in our house, but I’ll stick to the foods I like and they don’t include meat. 

So, there you have it.  Now, what would your three words be?

Keeping Memories

My husband introduced me to the idea of a 10 year journal a couple of years ago.  The basic gist is that each evening you write one sentence in a journal and then turn the page.  When the year is over, you start back at the beginning of the journal and write a sentence for the new year.  That way, after 10 years have gone by, you will have 10 entries under each date.  It sounded like a neat way to watch the years go by and see how our family changes.  Then, I filed the idea away for a rainy day.  Something cool, but never got started.

This year, my best friend had a baby and I started thinking about how fast time flies.  Seriously, I was just holding our firstborn as a tiny baby and here he is 13 now.  I’m really not sure how that happened. When Christmas came I started thinking on something a new mom might find special and the 10 year journal came up.  I googled it and decided I needed to come up with my own thing.  Something a little creative. Image

So I pulled out some index cards and stamped each with a date.  I left off the year so that I could use the space I wanted each year.  Only one date per card which will hopefully leave me with enough space for ten years worth of memories.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I had some month papers leftover from a project a couple of years ago and cut them down to size.  To make them more durable, I laminated them.  (Always looking for a reason to pull out the laminator.) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Put it all together in a pretty basket.  For my friend’s gift, I added some ribbon and a couple of nice pens so that it would be something quick and easy.  I keep mine on my nightstand and as I climb into bed each night, I think back on the day and something that I want to remember.  It could be a quote from one of the kids.  It could be a special Bible verse.  It could be a special activity.  It could be a quick comment about how I’m feeling.  One day, I only wrote two words, “I’m sick.”  It doesn’t have to be much.

I know the next 10 years will old a lot of changes for our family as the boys will most likely all be moving out.  I have such a bad memory that this will help me look back and remember those little things that have made us who are.

Wishes 2013 Style

Goodbye 2012.  You were a year of ups and downs. 

I turned 40 and celebrated that with a surprise party and a new keyboard to play with.  A month later, I got reading glasses so I can still see the music.  I become the mom to a teenager.  (Really???  Wasn’t he just a babe in my arms yesterday?)  We traveled to Mexico, Florida and California.  I sense there is a theme of sunshine to our travels.  If you lived where I live, you would search for the sun also.  I’ve learned how to make cheese and expanded my canning repertoire so that we are buying fewer things out of season.  I’ve learned to quilt and crochet.  I’ve connected with other women who are living a simple, more homemade life which is brought me out of my shell just a little.  A very little. 

So, on to 2013…

I don’t do resolutions.  They are usually too big and scary for me or they just seem like little decisions.  Instead, I do wishes so here we go:

*I wish to focus on my faith.  Finding God in all things.  Resting in Him.

*I wish to continue on my path to be healthy and strong physically. 

*I wish to go through the house, room by room and get rid of those things we don’t use or love.  The motto for the year is Use it up or wear it out, make it do or do without.  I will not buy into the materialism that is our society, but live accordingly to what I believe.

*I wish to move on from hurts and forgive even when it hasn’t been asked for.  I want to model that for the boys so that they will learn not carry hurt and anger through their lives.

*I wish to fill our home with joy, laughter, family.

Happy 2013!  May yours be filled with love, laughter and many cherished memories!

Our New Twist on Advent

ImageOur Advent Calendar

Like many others who celebrate Advent, the season leading up to Christmas, we have our Advent calendar as a guide.  A few years ago, I felt frustrated with not having a sense of organization to our December festivities so I decided to use our Advent calendar to organize all the activities we wanted to get down. 

Seeing as how this was all before Pinterest came about, I had to search out a way to format it.  I was all set to make up our own note cards and envelopes when I had an aha moment at the local coffee shop.  While I sat there making our list of activities and assigning each a day, I saw that they had a ready made calendar perfect for my needs.  There is a note card in each envelope with a short devotion and Bible verse.  I added our own activities in with some pretty slips of paper.  Things like sleeping under the tree, decorating cookies, hanging the stockings, etc.  Each day, the take turns lighting the Advent wreath, opening the envelope and reading the card.  Three boys, three things to be done.  It keeps the peace.

This year things are a little different.  We’ve been working with the boys a bit on what it means to have a servant heart as we look at the world around us.  So each day, there is a service activity to do.  Some are individual.  Some are as a family.  So far, so good.  Two slips of paper – a fun activity as we prepare for Christmas and a service activity to help keep our hearts focused. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of the season, but we’ve found this has helped us to simplify things. 


**There are some days where we just don’t have time to do the activities so we just add those to another day.  If I know it is a busy day, the activity could be color a Christmas picture.  The service project, leave a little “Merry Christmas” note for a neighbor.


Wordless Wednesday – 3 Boys + 3 Dogs = Not an Easy Picture!

I wished and things changed. Kind of.

I wished to live a healthier life so I dropped some weight, but I’ve still got more to go.  I’ve taught myself that it’s all right to have one brownie, just not the whole pan.  I’m working out 6 days a week and if I miss one of those days, my body itches to move.

I wished to be a better parent this year.  I’ve found that by taking that deep breath and reminding myself that they haven’t had a lot of practice in this life yet and they are still learning how this world works, I’m a much more loving parent.  We have a quote on our wall that says, ” May our home know joy, each room hold laughter, every window open to great possibilities.”  I see it several times a day and it serves as a reminder of what I want our home to be.

I wished to connect with others…and I’ve failed tremendously.  I’m just not good at putting myself out there.  I’d much rather the quiet of my little bubble.  I’ll work on it.  Honest, I will.

I wished to simplify my life and I am!  This is perhaps one of the most exciting/scary things.  As of the end of June, I am quitting my teaching.  I’ve only got 10 students right now, but we’ve decided that now is a good time.  With the kids needing more from me right now in schooling and life in general, this will free up my time a bit.  Still working on simplifying our household, but it is coming along.

I wished to create.  I’ve learned that I don’t like playing with paper nearly as much as I used to, but I do love sewing, knitting and cross stitching.  I’m even working on my first quilt.  Maybe I’ll post a picture.  It all depends on how it turns out.  Haven’t created with music yet, but with some of the extra time I’ll have from not teaching, I’m hoping to try writing music again.

Did you wish for anything this year?  How are they working out?

Sometimes You’ve Just Got to Relax on the Beach!

Justice is a Garment, Love is a Thread

Wow.  Just wow.

A weekend spent in discussion of justice.

Reminded of the pain, the sorrow that fills our world.

The impossible choices that so many face.

Mothers, fathers…the choice of doing something horrific or watching their children starve.

Hearing life stories of those who have become invisible to the average American.  To me.

Being amongst 4000 people, 46 states, 8 countries.  Our voices raised in anguish, in anger against the injustice that exists in our world.

And then, we head home.  Our hearts have been broken.  Our heads swimming with ideas of ways to help.

It is not hopeless because now there are a few more of us to give a voice to the voiceless, to bring hope to the hopeless and to bring justice where there is none.

It starts with me.  It starts with you.  In our neighborhoods, communities.  If we work together, we can make a difference in this world.

Justice is a Garment and Love is a Thread!

Sometimes you can’t just sit on the beach!