I'm just a wife and mother who earnestly desires to grow in my faith and it's demonstration. DISCLAIMER! I have absolutely no problem with women in the clergy. As a matter of fact, I have several female pastors who I consider friends. In my home, the pastor is a male so the pronouns I use to refer to a pastor tend to be male. This is not a statement of any kind. Just a reflection of my every day life!

Archive for March, 2014

My Hero!

My hubby is kind of my hero right at this moment.  I mean, he does little heroic things for me all the time and can be quite the Prince Charming!  But there is a very specific incident from today that has me admiring him quite a bit.

We are both in our mid-40’s – he is nine months older than I am . . . but I digress!  At this stage in life, it’s easy to settle into a rut.  A routine!  Settle into a routine.  Not a rut.  Because ruts are boring and . . . where was I?!  Oh yeah.  My “stage in life.”

Let’s be honest, the older we get the harder it is to motivate ourselves to try new things.  We don’t want to look foolish.  When you are young and try a new hobby, people excuse the foolishness because you are young.  Being young and foolish is acceptable.  Being middle-aged and foolish?!  Not so much.

In high school my hubby was a year-round athlete.  I was a performing arts geek.  Apart from a few months of piano lessons as a kid, he never dabbled in the performance realm and I ran exactly one year of track and was over the sports thing for good.

But today hubby did something that I never – and I mean NEVER EVER – thought he would do.  He tried out for a play.  Yes, you read that right.  He went down to the local community theater and auditioned!  The Hawkeye Community Theater is doing “A Few Good Men” in June and hubby LOVES that movie so he thought it might be fun to give this acting thing a shot.

There is still one more night of auditions yet so the cast list is still a few days out.  But I could NOT be prouder of any human being than I am of him.  Talk about taking a step outside your comfort zone!

Now, in all fairness, he was all but committed to audition but just couldn’t seem to pull the trigger for some reason.  I asked him why he thought he might be hesitating.  It basically came down to “I’ve never done this before” thing so I made him a deal – if he would take a deep breath and try something new . . . so would I.

For years he has tried to convince me to learn to golf.  He loves to golf and would LOVE for us to be able to do it together.  The sweet thing is he actually thinks I am capable of learning!  I’m afraid I’m going to hurt someone but that’s an issue for another time.  I promised him that if he would take a chance and step outside his comfort zone then I would to.  He auditioned which means he gets to teach me (or TRY to teach me) how to golf.

Regardless of what caused that final push, the fact that he even considered stepping into something new, something that was a bit of a leap outside his comfort zone, is one of most heroic, admirable things I think I’ve ever seen anyone do!  And he’s all mine!

 

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Thoughts From My Journal

I don’t usually post stuff from my journal on the web.  Even my family members know that they are taking a life-threatening risk by touching my journal.  It’s very private.  But this one is supposed to be shared.  Don’t know why, but here it is.

I am broken.

Sifting feels final.  Fatal.

And I feel stuck in the process.

Hopeless.  Useless.

 

But that’s the enemy’s goal.

He wants me immobilized.  Defeated.

It is his goal to strip me

Of both purpose and identity.

 

He will fail.

He has done nothing to shape my identity

So it isn’t his to take.

My true purpose is beyond his power to touch

 

But that knowledge – while precious –

Doesn’t make it less painful

To work without affirmation,

To have my work belittled.

 

But only my Abba

Knows my true name.

The name he gave me;

The identity he is refining.

 

The enemy sifts, hoping to ruin.

Abba allows it, knowing that sifting can refine.

While the enemy seeks my surrender,

Abba seeks to more clearly define my purpose.

 

So I take the next step, one more breath,

And move through the next moment

Knowing this is only a season

That is ultimately for my good.

 

Time to Dust Myself Off

Someone once told me that it was okay to pout a bit as long as you admitted you were doing it, ended it, and moved forward.  Indulge me a bit as I do just that right here.

This past April I hit the 40th anniversary of my first piano lesson.  Somewhere soon here will be the 40th anniversary of my first piano recital.  I taught my first private piano student almost 30 years ago and it’s been nearly 2 decades since I taught my first private voice student.

I don’t tell you this to brag.  I tell you this to lay the groundwork.

Three times in the past three weeks, I have heard colleagues make statements like the following –

“I’m glad that the kids will still have music, art and p.e. during the standardized testing.  The real teachers need a break from the stress.”

“Standardized testing gets the kids wound up.  Good thing that they get to go to specials so the actual teachers get a breather.”  

I get it.  I’m a music teacher and according to those statements I am neither “real” nor “actual”.  Apparently I am more accurately described as “fake” or “virtual”.

*sigh*  Three times in three weeks I’ve been told by my colleagues that I am not a real teacher.  My degrees are real.  Both the Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts (major in Music Education) and my Master’s Degree in Education.

I get it.  Being a classroom teacher has unique challenges that I do not face in the music room and I have nothing but respect for those in the classroom.  But four out of five days each week, I go from teaching elementary general music in the morning to college freshmen and sophomores in the afternoon.  That large an age jump brings some unique challenges as well.

The final insult came today when one student said to another “I don’t know why she (meaning me) is so picky about the rules.  It’s not like music is a real class.”  Interestingly enough, that child’s classroom teacher is one of the one’s who has made a derogatory statement recently.  She was number 2.

So what do I do?

I get up tomorrow morning, grit my teeth, and head back into a work place where a handful of my colleagues are willing to belittle what I do and where I get virtually no positive feedback (with the exception some of the parents who spoke to me after the holiday program back in December!) and I do it all again.  I signed a contract and will honor the requirements of that contract because it’s the right thing to do.

More importantly, I will NEVER refer to the work that other teachers do as not being real.  I know from first hand experience just how lousy that feels and would never do that to another human being.

Not a Kid Thing

Over the weekend, I was busy playing for the local community college’s production of “All Shook Up”.  If you are new to my blog, I am a SERIOUS musical theater junkie – acting, directing, playing, working on stage crew, whatever.    I love ALL of it.  (If you aren’t new, you already knew this!)  A friend stopped me during my pre-show preparation one day because she wanted to ask me a question.  This friend works with a campus ministry and we have interacted a handful of times in the past few years.  She made one small disclaimer before asking her question:

“You may need to think about this and get back to me, but what needs to change in churches to make our “arts” kids feel more welcome?”

The thing is, I didn’t need to think about it.  Not even for a moment.

“A passion and talent for the performing arts is a part of the divine fingerprint.  We need to stop treating musicians and actors as though their passion – in some cases a lifelong passion – is something they should and will eventually outgrow.”

I explained further and after chewing on it for a few more days, I’m sharing my thoughts here.

My passion for the theater is not a phase I’m going through. It’s not something I will eventually get over or outgrow.  I am the truest form of me that you can possibly know when I am in the throes of the latest production.  The only other venue that comes close is singing or playing the piano.  And I want those things to be done well.  Very well.  Excellently even.  But many churches do not include any kind of drama in their services on any kind of regular basis.  And just as many churches don’t give much thought or preparation to the music that is included in the Sunday morning gathering.  When someone like me questions it, I usually get the same answer.  “We’re doing it for Jesus.  That’s what matters.  It doesn’t have to be amazing.”

That attitude breaks my heart. And I have a sneaking suspicion it breaks the heart of God as well.  Cain brought less than his best and God wouldn’t accept it.  In I Chronicles 9:33 we read “Those who were musicians, heads of Levite families, stayed in the rooms of the temple and were exempt from other duties because they were responsible for the work day and night.”  Just let that simmer in your brain for a minute.  High quality music in the temple was such a high priority that musicians were appointed from the Levites, the tribe of the priesthood, and their ONLY job was to prepare said music.  Compare that with the attitude found in many churches today where we just wing it and expect God to accept whatever happens regardless of whether or not it was our very best.

I am very aware that this sounds like a rant.  But maybe . . . just maybe . . . the time that I spend in performing arts events with the youth – in middle school through college – in our community is just so I can show them that there ARE people like me in churches.  People who value the performing arts and want to see them done excellently as a part of the weekly gathering of the body.  And maybe . . . just maybe . . . I’ll help some in the church understand that a commitment to excellence in the arts is a calling, not just a childish hobby.

Song for Sunday

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