Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Last week I was humbled.

No, not like "I'm such a humble person."

I did something wrong, and totally had to humble myself and ask for forgiveness.

I spoke to someone at work harshly, and I shouldn't have. I had to go tell them I was wrong, and ask for forgiveness. But I am fortunate, because she was sweet to me, and everything is alright now.

Then, I had to apologize again. I had talked to our Assistant Principal about something, and gotten all upset that several of us weren't told about a situation.

Well. It turns out that the information we had was wrong, and we never needed to be told. I had to tell her I was sorry, and that my information was wrong, and that I should have checked it out before getting all irritable with her. She also was very gracious, and said I could talk to her any time. I do believe that. I believe that I CAN talk to her anytime, and if she has any answers she will give them.

But I also know that I jumped the gun, and should have checked out that information before assuming that we were slighted.


Doesn't it always seem like things are clicking along great, and then a stick is thrown in your bicycle tire, and you end up gym-pants over tennis shoes on the ground? Then you have to regroup. That's what I felt like last week. Like I had to regroup. Like I was not a very good person. Like I am a big mess.

But you see, I am a big mess. I am human, and make mistakes just like everyone. Just because I have a low tolerance for mistakes doesn't mean that I don't ever make them.

I guess the lesson from last week is to think before you speak. Lesson learned. For now. I'm sure I will have this problem again, but I'm thankful that I am flexible enough to learn lessons. That I can learn from my mistakes. That I am able to humble myself and apologize.

I used to pray for flexibility, and I guess this is the answer to those prayers. Thank you God, for loving me enough to teach me and make me a better person.

Can it not be so painful next time???

Friday, April 13, 2012

on the moment

Yesterday was the Spring Concert at school. 1st grade, 2nd grade and 3rd grade all performed, and they did great. I was very proud of them. One of the boys that sang a solo has had some significant challenges in life and in school, and he did so well yesterday that it truly was inspiring to see how far he has come. 2nd grade sang a song about the Olympics, and since my sister carried the Olympic torch in 2002, she let me have the torch for the past week. All the kids got to hold it, and my sister came to talk to all the 2nd graders. She is fantastic. Today was Teacher Appreciation - we had a wonderful lunch, and there was an improv group that performed, and we took funny staff pictures. It has been a great week, and I am blessed. Blessed to have a job that I love, blessed to have a family that I love and that love me, blessed to be able to influence so many kids, and teach them about all things musical.

Just as a forewarning, one of my parents at school showed her appreciation for the concert with a bottle of wine, and I am enjoying a glass.

This might get a little wordy...

As I was driving home today (WAY before having any wine), I got to thinking about how people often look at the short-term, and fail to see anything past the moment. Actually, I was thinking about the person that cut me off, but this is the philosophical side of that rant...

But really. I think that people often fail to see that there are often some pretty large consequences for decisions that we make, and that the possibility of them affecting us for a long time to come is huge.

Like, take that guy that cut me off. He was probably in a hurry, and had to get somewhere RIGHT NOW.
Or maybe he was just impatient. I don't know. But what will happen when he zips through a light at the last minute, and gets T-Boned by another car? What happens when he tries to zip around someone going too slow and side-swipes a van with a family in it?

Or let's take the possibility of making a rash decision with only the immediate present in mind, without consideration of what could happen to the future. Like, perhaps, leaving things in the car without taking precautions - leaving your purse on the front seat to...who knows. Leaving a closed laptop bag in the car, whether there is a laptop in it or not. Not properly protecting your valuables, or being mindful of where your purse/key/phone is. 

Is this the difference between being young and old? Between being ignorant and wizened? Between being cautious and carefree? What makes people think about just this very moment, and what makes people consider the possibility that things could happen that have a ripple-effect far into the future?

Why do some people not care about the future at all, and just completely live for this moment? Does this explain the recidivism rate for prisoners? Obviously jail is not THAT much of a deterrent, otherwise there would never be anybody going back that had ever been in jail in the first place.

Why would someone drive like there was no tomorrow, considering all the things that could go wrong, and all the damage that could be done?

Is there a way to instill an eye toward the future into people, or will they always only be mindful of the moment?
Just wonderin'...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

update and music

OK, this is an update to say that I'm not going to update - yet. I DID work on the spare bedroom project of 2012, but I did not get it done. I made some good progress, but it is NOT done.

So, I'm going to put it on hold, until school gets a little less crazy. This means I'll be back sometime in May with the final picture. I know, you can hardly stand it...

On a very exciting note, today I watched a segment of 60 minutes that made me cry. And it made me smile. And it was possibly one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time.

It was on a symphony orchestra. But not just any symphony orchestra - it was on L'Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste. It is based in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This report talked about the hardships that people face living there, in one of the poorest places on the planet. They talked about the struggles that many of the people face, often living on less that $50 a month. They talked about how there is not really any culture to speak of in this city, but...yet...there is a symphony orchestra.

What a fantastic feat of human resilience, to start, nurture, procure instruments for, teach lessons in support of, and direct this symphony orchestra and chorus. I am in awe of this man, Armand Diengienda. He put everything into making this project work, and it has become his life.

What a great life.

In the segment, they were performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony finale, and it was majestic. Having personally sung this piece at least 3 times, it gave me a special connection to people on the other side of the planet.

I got it.

And it gave me a little tear as well. The first time I performed this piece, it was the last thing that Pierce Arant performed. He passed away soon after, but he was a fantastic conducting professor, and I learned a lot from him. Whenever I hear Beethoven's 9th, it makes me think about Dr. Arant and how lucky I was to study under him.

And this piece also makes me think about the common condition of man, and how much I have in common with French-speaking people living in the DRC. What a small world.

So I give them and Mr. Diengienda a huge round of applause and a couple high-fives. Keep playing, and making great music. Even if it is an abandoned warehouse in Kinshasa, keep at it.

And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for keeping music alive everywhere.