Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Trombone Lessons = Life Lessons

Recently, Grace (my 6th grader) participated her music contest .  This is her second year playing the trombone and this is her second music contest.  She is becoming a really talented musician and her band teacher is noticing!  :-)  Last year, she got a Division I and got raving reviews from the judge!  That totally inspired her to keep at it!

Fast forward to October 2012.  It was time again to sign up for music contest.  She was struggling with adjusting to middle school....and everything that comes along with that.  She decided to sign up for contest, anyway, because she loves to play.  So, her band teacher picked out her music.  It was a considerably harder piece than she played last year.  Only one month into it, she came to me in tears. "Mom, I can't do this.  It's too hard.  The notes are too high.  I just want to quit."  My heart broke for her!  I could tell that she was really struggling.  But, I talked to her about how she made a commitment and how if she practiced that she would get better and better.  I also told her that Mrs. H knows what she can do and wants to challenge her to do her best.  She reluctantly agreed and she asked me to help support her.  We set up extra practice times with Mrs. H. after school....we found the song online and let her play along with that....she practiced 30 minutes, every single day for MONTHS!  

Fast forward to last Saturday.  She was so nervous but SO excited and relieved to be there.  As she and I sat in the gym, waiting for her turn, she said to me, "Mom, thanks for always helping me and pushing me to be my best."  

Below is the video of my girls performance.  

Grace Playing "Cantilena"

I am extremely proud of her for doing her very best!

After we found out that Grace got a Division I (highest rating possible), I spoke with Mrs. H alone.  I told her how Grace wanted to quit and how she was really discouraged in the beginning.  Do you know what the Mrs. H said?  She said that only three students had been assigned that piece.  Two of them where eighth graders.  And, Grace plays that as well as those two eighth graders.  She told me that she believes that Grace could handle the challenge and that she will continue to push her to the best she can be.  She went on to say that Grace's dedication and drive to NEVER give up, and to seek help when needed pushed her success.  

I walked away, in awe.  Of my little girl.  For not giving up.  For Mrs. H. For pushing her to face her challenges.  

Then, I thought about the times that life has gotten challenging for me.  When have I said "I can't do this.  It's too hard.  This journey is not worth it.  I just want to quit."  It's in those times, that I have a choice.  I could quit.  I could just walk away and not continue on this journey.  I could....but I CHOOSE not to.  I decide to seek out support from friends, who will challenge me to really look inside....who believe in me, even when I don't believe in myself.  Who don't give up on me, even when I give up on myself. Who push me to be the best that I can be.  And, even if I mess it up, I CHOOSE to pick up the pieces and I press onward, knowing that I am doing my very best. I CHOOSE to continue to work hard and to pray hard.   

So, thanks, friends for always challenging me to be the best mom, wife, sister, & friend that I can be.  

Who knew that a trombone could teach me so much?! 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day???

This past Thursday was Valentine's Day.  I love Valentine's Day.  The flowers, the cards, the chocolate....ok....I just really love the chocolate.  I was at Target on Thursday and I was AMAZED that the number of people in the card, flower and the candy aisle.  WOW!! Talk about last minute.... :)

It really got me thinking about Valentine's Day.  The whole point of the day is to show those around us how much we love them and how much we appreciate having them in our lives.  Why do we need just one day to do this?  I just wonder what my world would be like if I shared my love and appreciation, every single day of our lives.  What kind of impact would that make?  That doesn't mean buying big flower arrangements or fancy candy every day.  I'm talking about simple gestures.  A smile.  An encouraging note.  A hug.  A prayer.  Watching a tired mom's kids so she can have some time to herself.   Bringing coffee to a discouraged friend.  Bringing up your neighbors empty trash bins.  Cleaning up the dinner dishes.  Shoveling a neighbors snow.  Calling a friend.   

These simple acts can that make a big difference in the life of those around you.

Check out this video.  You can see the impact that one simple act has on the world.  

Spread The Love

What kind of difference COULD you make in the world if you just spread the love?  What is one thing you can do today to share your love with the world?!  


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

See Ya Later

I had the honor of spending last weekend with some of my favorite people in the whole world....my family.  Saturday and Sunday were PACKED full of family fun and just being together...something that doesn't happen very often for me, since I live SO far away from everyone!  

Last weekend, I had to say "see ya later" to my little brother.  See, he and his wife are moving to North Africa, tomorrow, to serve the people there.  I am completely proud and humbled by my brother and his lovely wife.  Their hearts are fully ready to jump in, even though they don't know what the future holds.  God has asked them to leave their comfort zones...leave everything that they know....and trust FULLY in Him. All they know is that God is already there and He has ordained these things to happen for HIS glory.  

How do I feel about all of this?  Honestly, while I am extremely proud of them, I am SO SAD.  I am sad about the thought of not seeing my baby brother for two years.  Plus, I think there is a small part of me that is fearful that something will happen to them, as the country they are going into is very volatile right now. 

But I choose to not let that fear control me!  The fact is that no one is ever guaranteed our next breath.  Every moment in our lives is ordained by God.  

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Psalms 139: 13-16

Fighting the sadness is just going to make it worse.  A good friend suggested that I add the phrase, "I accept ____" to whatever you are feeling;  it helps.  "I accept that I feel sad/afraid/lonely."  What is to be avoided is chiding yourself with such thoughts as "I should be ____" (for example "I should be over this by now, or fine, or whatever").  Emotions are not wrong;  they just are.  Is it easy?  No, but I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

So, I'll miss my baby brother and Monica, but I know that I'll see them again soon!  So, instead of saying goodbye, I say, "see you later"!