volume a

i’m home today for a few minutes to reflect on what i had hoped would be some quiet minutes to write.  however, there’s a baby across the courtyard, who refuses to be comforted, evidenced by her non-stop crying for the last 20 minutes.  i can hear her caretaker try to console her but to no avail.  oh, city life in a small apartment!  there are days i paint pictures of egypt and wish my home were larger.  it isn’t to be, for now. and before i go off on some depressing rant about what isn’t, here’s what is….

i have the most amazing set of friends, both male and female, young and old.  i have 2 almost adult children who are working on their futures.  i have a place to live securely.  i have a life with very little drama and i surround myself with truth tellers, who don’t need to be the center of attention.  i can mostly pay my bills.  i have a new someone.  he’s awesome.  i most likely have another ton of things to be thankful for, but i mustn’t leave out music.

this topic, and my thankfulness for it needs its own World Book Encyclopedia 26-volume set.  pull out volume a.  page 25.  addie.  remember her?  today, we had breakfast and made plans for more co-write sessions.  i encouraged her to set reasonable goals and to not be in a hurry to choose managers and producers and the team of people that she will require to invest in her life as she goes from this simple high school senior life to stardom. (www.addiehamiltonmusic.com)  yes, she’s getting heaps of attention but so far, she has people in her life, like me, who won’t let her get a big head.  i remind her to make decisions with integrity and to honor her parents in the process and to be honest to the spirit within to follow those hunches about songs and topics she wishes to sing about.  but she encouraged me back. she said – you should write a book about all these things you’re teaching me.  i laughed. i told her i would think about it.

i’m thinking about it.

the baby finally fell asleep.

i’m finding out lately that all the old things really are gone. or going.  and i don’t feel like i even have a right to hold on to the what was.  that even my way of processing is coming to a close.  perhaps that’s all a little vague, and maybe i’ll give more description in that forthcoming book, or on another blog note.  for now, i thank God for freshness and how things that feel old and stale, really are old and stale.  and how, i’m being challenged daily to consider new points of view and perhaps all that contemplative life i’ve lived for decades, is giving way to this fresh life and a celebration of all that has come.  just stop over-thinking everything and live in this joyful place.  that’s a happy day for sure.  and thankful-worthy.

the baby’s still asleep.  and i have way too much to say on this topic, for one short blog note. tomorrow i’ll pull out volume N or R.

15 minutes a day. i can do this. i think.

timer is set for 15 minutes.  go.  it is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  i’m not saying i’m writing a novel, and i’m not saying i’m not.  you, who know me, know i’ve never really set a limit on what i’m going to do, or what i’m not going to do.  i’m not really one to censor, and i’m not really afraid of saying i made a mistake, let’s try again.  god knows, i’ve made enough mistakes to last a lifetime, but we’re not talking about those right now.  right now, we’re talking about one of my students, erin, who courageously said to me this week.  i love your writing, i just don’t think you write enough.  i probably don’t. (thanks, erin.)  i do love sitting behind this screen and trying to bring some meaning into this world. how, this week, a 22 year-old at work, shared her story with me of how she lost her mom at 14 and there’s just not enough wine in the world to drown out that kind of pain.  that’s why i write.  songs. blogs.  living with purpose of integrating faith, hope and honest questions.  it’s all messy in there somewhere and if i can set a timer and not care about the result – (like am i writing to write a book someday – not gonna think about it – at least for a week or two).  what i hope is the same thing i tell my students. the busy ones.  yes, that would be all of them.  that even when the days are busy and you don’t even have time to iron your clothes for the next day or make a proper lunch, or remember that one word for the vocabulary test, that 15 minutes of good technical exercise is better than cramming 3 hours of practice onto the weekend.  that kind of practicing is ineffective in the long run.  so, i’m taking a dose of my own medicine. sit down.  fill the frame, as my mentor says.  oh, anne.  she doesn’t know she’s my mentor, but she is.  just do the thing you love to do.  this is about habit and intention, living presently and not missing moments. maybe i can take a break at work with the girl who lost her mom, and build a relationship with someone who could be my daughter and see where life takes me.  i thrive on that kind of adventure.  i relish the joy of discovering good words to encourage her and i get to sit in front of this screen and try to say something meaningful.  6:37 seconds to go. this last week i was reminded, too, that the power of our words is so important.  i just finished reading a book for a women’s group at my church, and it wasn’t my favorite.  at all.  i’m still trying to figure out why it wasn’t.  was it the cheesy answers, or the foundation-less, formulaic solutions to the difficulties we all face?  probably.  it could have even been the typeface the editor chose for the pages.  everything is important to me in a book.  and i say those words with apprehension that my words are equally judged by writers far more gifted.  to you, i apologize.  i admire your words, your brilliance.  how you can take something like a “God is enough” statement and turn it into something eloquent in a blog. http://www.colenesmith.com/2013/11/is-god-enough/ or a sermon.  or a podcast.  i admire people who can do that.  or stand up in front of Congress and give a passionate plea for help for xyz cause.  you’re my heroes.  so maybe that’s why i’m writing.  15 minutes a day.  my writing will get better.  like my scales and arpeggios.


last weekend, the living room got rearranged.  it had been 8 months since my son moved in and some “temporary” adjustments were made back then.  but i’ve been unsettled since december.  shoes by the door.  not my favorite.  dishes in the sink.  things aren’t as tidy as i’d like for them to be. so i’ve pushed back a little.  moved the couch from here to there. hung some pictures up in new spots.  claimed a corner of the living room for books and computer tables and peace of mind.

other things are rearranging.  i have a new man in my life.  yes, i’m making this public to the, perhaps, 2 readers of my blog.  i don’t mind that.  one day, there will be 3, and even if no one reads these words, i have to say them out loud.  i’m absurdly happy and most of the time, i find myself giggling about how quickly things can change. i know this has all caught me by surprise.  and if this is how God can surprise us with life and courage and hope and beauty and laughter, then i say, i want more.  a lot more.

all this rearranging has caused true serenity.  mind. body. spirit. disciplines. passions. friendships. family. even with my ex and extended family. things are good.  really.  maybe it’s just way, way too premature to say this, but i’ve been made ready.  looking back on the last school year, i was restless.  soul restless.  i thought it tasted like happy.  looked like happy.  smelled like homemade banana bread, but it was day old.  whatever that was, was a bad substitute for the real thing.  here it is.  happy.  i know that may be a stupid thing to say, out loud, on the internet for all to see.  i don’t really care in this moment.  i’m smitten.  smitten by mr. wonderful, and smitten by hope.  as in, Hope Himself.

this week, i got the music for the fall season at the church where i accompany the choir. once again, my director has chosen powerful tunes that honor God and are perfectly synchronized with the pace of my life.  it’s good music.  steve always has a way of doing that.  and that key change on that song!  wow!  i can’t wait to play it.  and i look forward to entering my 9th choir season with this group of church folk who’ve become family on thursday nights.  they’re not going to know what to do with me on thursdays.  i’m happy.

and i feel hope.  i learn that it doesn’t much matter what we do.  hope isn’t born that way, like taking a pill for a headache.  it arises out of places that we think are long gone.  quiet whispers afraid to be spoken, suddenly give vent to loud shouts from gym floors and city drives.  the things i was afraid to let go of, now don’t seem so important.   i still can’t quite say it out loud and i know there may be vagaries here, but you’re smart.  you can fill in the blanks.  at the very least, you can post a comment and i’ll send you a private message about all this hope stuff.

good night, y’all.  sleep well.