Sunday, November 29, 2009


I've been thinking a lot about time lately, and how blessed I am to have so much of it right now. For as much as I really love my teaching job and the kids I get to see every day, I equally love that it comes with built-in time off. This Thanksgiving week has been a great vacation. I've spent time with family, decorated the house a little bit, had some friends over, took some time to get over the cold I had for the past 2 weeks, and so many other things.

So, even as I've been thinking about how grateful I am to have some extra time right now, there are some who have run out of time. Today I went down to the hospice in-patient unit to visit with a friend from church who doesn't have much time left. She has been fighting cancer, and fortunately her fight is almost over. Good because she's in a lot of pain, and the amount of medicine she's on makes her pretty out of it. Not good for her husband and her 2 young kids. As I sat there with her and just held her hand and prayed for her and her family, I was thinking about how we all end out time here on earth at some point. I was thinking about Grandma Bev and when she was in Hospice care. Thinking about what it was like to care for her in the last few weeks of her journey. Thinking about how sad I am for the husband and 2 young kids. Thinking about how blessed my time on this earth has been, and if I ended my journey today, that would be OK. Thinking about my sister and how sad she will be when her friend finally passes.

This whole week has been a gift of time, and then at the end of it I got a reminder that our time IS limited. We just don't know how limited it may be. As the thoughts of gratefulness and sadness and mourning and determination to make the most of my time all swirl about in my head, I hope that from now I choose to make my time worth it. Worth something. Worth talking about after I'm gone.

Serving at the Rescue Mission's Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless was a good start. But maybe I should not just focus on others once a year, but find ways to do that kind of thing more often.

Time is so precious.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

thankfulness addendum

Wow. First let me say that our High School group at church is great. Yesterday I went with 10 of them and our Youth Pastor down to the Rescue Mission Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless. We went to do whatever needed to be done, and just to serve. This have become a tradition, and I think this was my 4th year taking High Schoolers to serve at this event. They are awesome. They just jump right in there, and so whatever needs to be done. They serve with a beautiful heart, and are willing to hand out meals, or clean up. Some of them painted kid's faces, then helped put away tables and chairs.

That said, wow. I am so thankful for my life. I so often forget what a great life I have. Yesterday I just got a nice remembrance that I am so blessed to have the life that I have.

A couple kids commented that there were a lot of people volunteering, and sometimes they had to look for things to do. My reply was, how often do the homeless have people falling all over themselves trying to serve them? How are they treated most often? I think it is personally my mission to make them feel wanted and special for a day. I just realized that I feel wanted and special most days, and that I have an amazing birthday, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas every year. I have family lunch every Sunday, and get tons of gifts at school each December. I am SO blessed.

So as I think about how blessed I am to be a part of my family, my church, my school, to have my house, my car, etc., I just want to say that it is always humbling to realize that there are people who have none of this.
May I never forget, and always do my best to serve them whenever I have an opportunity. It's what Jesus would have done...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

my attitude of gratitude

On many occasions, I have given advice to people to be thankful. To be thankful in spite of circumstances, to be thankful for gifts you've been given, to be thankful for the good things in life, even if there are bad things too. I have always tried to be thankful no matter what. I believe that it is good mental health to look on the bright side, and to find the good in things.

My friend, Jen, is sometimes negative. I love her, and she's a good friend. But I've given her this "be thankful" advice several times before. I don't feel bad saying this, because if you asked her she would agree. But now, more than ever, I am giving myself this advice.

I think that even though life throws bad situations at us, and even though we might not be exactly where we want to be, it is important to deliberately look around and find things to be thankful for.

Here's my (partial) list:

I'm thankful for my family. I have a great Mom and Dad, a great sister and brother-in-law as well as two great nephews. I took Noah bowling yesterday, and he beat me. But we had a great time, and I love him.

I'm thankful for a great job. It's a lot sometimes, but I really do love my kids, and the hugs I get each week at school.

I'm thankful for a loving church family. I'm thankful for our new senior pastor.

I'm thankful for the kids in High School Group. They keep me young. :)

I'm thankful for a great boss.

I'm thankful for the Chorale and the opportunity to sing in a great group each week.

I'm thankful for good friends like Jen. I'm thankful for other good friends, like Beth.

I'm thankful that I get to spend Thanksgiving with family, 'cause for a lot of years I didn't.

Just wanted to take a moment to be thankful for some of the blessings I have in my life, and the good things that come along with the trials.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I teach piano to a 70 year-old Vietnamese man. I know that sounds like the title of a book, but it's true. I go to his house every Saturday morning, and we do piano together. In fact, it's a little different than any other piano students. Most of my other students are between the ages of 7 and 12, with the exception of a couple teenagers. I really like them all, and enjoy our lessons. But, with them we are working through a piano method book. They play the songs in the books, and as we come upon a new concept, I explain how it works, then they practice that in the next song.

Mr. Le is different. When he and I do piano, I just go and wait for him to ask questions. He ALWAYS has a question, and he dutifully takes notes. In fact, often he has more questions than we have time for in our half-an-hour lesson. He always serves me tea, and it is a very quiet time. I've really come to enjoy the different approach, and it keeps me on my toes. I never know what is coming, and often I have to distill a college Music Theory concept down to something he can understand, and then put it into simple English.

I was just thinking this morning about how I admire his determination. He often says that he will continue to learn, and become a better pianist until he dies, whenever that will be. Last year we stopped lessons for several months, because he was ill and in the hospital. He had pneumonia and a collapsed lung. Even now he's on oxygen, and seems pretty frail, compared to when I first met him. Nevertheless, we still do piano. He still asks questions, and is very eager to learn. Last week he said when he feels better how would like to do an hour lesson so he can learn more.

Just wanted to point out that the thirst for knowledge can never be satisfied. Make sure you have something you want to learn about, and your spirit will continue to grow vibrant, even as you body winds down its time here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

my mom, and the coffee cup

The other day, I was headed out to school in the morning, and hadn't finished my coffee. I know, I know, coffee is not that great for you, and I really should just quit drinking it. BUT, I can't. I like it, and now that I'm addicted to it, I get a headache if I don't have a cup of coffee in the morning. So as a result, I take my extra coffee maker on all trips, and enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning. One of my fellow Youth Group sponsors is also addicted, and is grateful for my extra coffee maker. We sit quietly in the morning, and feed our addiction before the chaos of whatever Youth Group trip we're on starts up for the day.

Anyway, back to my morning coffee. I wasn't finished, so I grabbed my cup, purse, lunchbag, and anything else that was going with me and headed out the door.

As I got into my car, I had a little flashback to when I was young. Maybe 6 or 7, maybe a little older, but not any older than 10, 'cause that's when we moved to another house. Mom and I were getting into the car to go to school, and she had a ceramic mug with her coffee in it. I clearly remember telling her that she shouldn't take that cup of coffee in the car because she was gonna spill it all over her lap and then she would be sorry. (Kinda sounded like a little know-it-all, didn't I?) Well she didn't spill coffee that day, but one day in the not-too-distant future, she dropped a mug of coffee and broke the mug. (And, of course, lost the coffee).

So this was my little flashback last week, as I sat down in the car with my ceramic mug of coffee. I just realized that I am becoming more and more like my Mom every day. Sometimes in class I say things that sound *exactly* like her. Often it takes me by surprise, and I have to stop for a minute. But I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. Because, you see, I have seen how Mom has grown up over the years, and she is not the same person that she was when I was little. (Probably due to the fact that I'm not in the house anymore - she's much more relaxed!) But really, as I think about how much I am like her, I hope that I too will continue to grow, and become a better person, like she has.

Thanks Mom, for all you've taught me. Both when I was little, and even now that I'm getting old.

I Love you .


Saturday, November 7, 2009

time in a bottle, time to go, time...

Yesterday I woke up at 5:15. Sheesh...I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn't so after about 15 or 20 minutes I just got up and took my shower. As I was doing my hair, I noticed that the clock in the bathroom said "7:00". After walking in to the bedroom to check that it was only 6am, I remember thinking that it was weird that I didn't change that clock to "fall back" an hour, but whatever.
So I changed it back.

Went downstairs, made breakfast, did a couple things around the house, made my lunch, then headed out the door. I had to stop at the bank before school, so I drove up to the drive-through. As I was sitting there, I glanced at the clock in my car, and thought I was having a twilight zone-moment: the clock said 8:20.

I reached for the clock to change THAT one back an hour too, then...

pulled out my cell phone and it said 8:21. OH NOOOOOO.......

I called school (where I was supposed to be almost 45 minutes ago) and when Penny confirmed that it was indeed 8:22, I really didn't know what to say.

Well all's well that ends well, and the rest of the day ended up being fine, but it is so discombobulating to be off by an hour, and not know it, then find out almost by accident, then be behind and have missed several things I should have done in that time.

I just realized that Not only do I have a clock in every room, I am totally dependant on them and am a very scheduled person. Not that I have a full schedule, but when that schedule gets thrown off it turns me upside down.

Is there a way to be less time-dependant, and still accomplish the things I have to do in life (like get to work on time)? Can somehow I not always need the time-keeping, and be able to go with the other rhythms of life, like the sun and the moon? Can I find a balance between the necessity of getting to work on time, and MAKING time to not be time-bound?

In my own time,