Saturday, April 15, 2017

Good Friday

i had worship team practice on Tuesday this week. i was helping out with some back up vocals and as we wrapped up, i asked if i could pray for reconciliation in relationships over this holiday where believers around the world celebrate Christ's death and resurrection. I prayed for families to be restored & friendships... but over & above all that, i prayed for a softening of hearts to be reconciled to their Creator. 
Later on in the week, Elmer had been sent to his bed for some behavioural infraction... i climbed up the steps and kneeled beside his tiny sobbing form. He's only three, but he's a bright, articulate little boy - always saying things that take me just a little off guard. 
"I wish i was just always a good boy!" he cried... and i almost cried with him, "oh honey - i wish i could always be good too! i know exactly how you feel!" i stumblingly explained to him that we are always becoming - that as we grow, every decision changes us and that i was so proud of his desire for 'goodness'. 
Finally Friday arrived and my mind was on other things... i had a turkey in the oven, my kids were coming over for a feast, i hadn't had time to vacuum and we left the breakfast dishes out... but we settled into our seats in the dimmed sanctuary and i held my tiniest son on my lap as they played a video that explained the fall of man - and our desperate need for a saviour.
Elmer turned to me and asked, "But... who will save us mom? Who will save the world?"
The story had suddenly come alive for him - and he started to connect the dots... i whispered explanations throughout the service and his little heart soaked them up, seeking clarification and understanding. Finally, we were taking communion and i told him that communion was something that is done to remember Christ's sacrifice for us - it's something that people do, who have accepted that Jesus is Lord in our lives and in our hearts... 
He told me he wanted Jesus to be Lord in his heart, and so with my hand cradling his tiny head - we whispered a prayer of submission and then his hazel eyes met mine and he smiled at me.
& i honestly don't remember these moments of surrender with all my children... some stuck out to me over time more than others - but i know that i serve a Faithful Father - who heard my prayers for softening and reconciliation and He called my tiny son to come and be reconciled to Him - and Elmer heard... and obeyed. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

buckled

i've done this thing this past year where i've tried to get outside more. It started this fall when i started running across the street to the park in the afternoons and running up and down the hill a few times. It was kind of what blogging used to be for me - just a few quiet moments to let my mind run wild and free reaching back and forwards, stretching out of the here and now and the must gets done to the what-ifs and flipping over the days gone by in my hand like a multicoloured stone that has been polished by the ocean.
i stopped when it got too cold and icy... i replaced it with marching around our kitchen island, up and down the stairs, around my loop over and over again... i would read a book to show my little ones that mama was occupied, and the little afternoon rise in heart rate did wonders for my winter blues... But as the snow has melted, i've found myself grabbing on my shoes and running for the hill when i can. 
Sometimes i have music in my headphones and i dance up and down the hills arms and legs flailing like a fish on a boat's deck... Sometimes i just want a minute - just a little minute... to breathe, to feel, to praise... And so i do. 
Today, as it is most days, it was Twenty One Pilots... and it was a throw back to their self-titled album & a song called, "a car a torch a death"... 

The air begins to feel a little thin
As I start the car and then I begin
To add the miles piled up behind me
I barely feel a smile deep inside me

And I begin to envy the headlights driving south
I want to crack the door so I can just fall out
But then I remember when you packed my car
You reached in the back and buckled up your heart

For me to drive away with
I began to understand
Why God died

& as i listened, it hit me... this is motherhood. 
watching these tiny wreck of human beings bundle up into a car... a little metal cage that will hurtle them down a highway full of danger and temptation... 
& strapping my heart in their back seat.... 
over and over and over again... 
And i refuse to care less - and it would be impossible to care more. And i'm invested, i'm all in, there's no turning back... 
And there are all these little people - driving around with my heart buckled in their back seats.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

fair trade

There are things that i've gone through in my life that i had understood at the time to be moments that i had to learn purely to trust. People spoke about purpose in pain, and i thought that the ability to grasp the purpose was like some magical mathematical algorhythm that i lacked the capacity to understand. Pain was something i could accept with blind faith, but i never had an expectation or hope for complete understanding. i've always been ok with that. i didn't look for purpose or reasoning to understand my pain... As far as i was concerned, i figured my Father had reasons that might be generations in the making - and i trusted Him - and that was enough.
Recently though, He has given me clear insight into some of the why's of my life. And that insight itself is some kind of strange, painful beauty. Pain in the reliving of my own grief, and beauty in seeing where He has brought me since. i am able to recognize and remember moments of confusion and agony and apply it in situations that would have boggled my mind before.
i'm aware.
And i wonder if that is some small gift that comes with age and experience... To compensate for the fine lines and soft sagging flesh, we get tiny glimpses of understanding.
It might be a worthwhile trade.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sostenuto

"Often, the most precarious part of a mounting, sustained line is found not in approaching the climactic notes, but in descending from them. Breath energy has been expended improperly on the dramatic "high" note, with nothing left in reserve." - The Structure of Singing by Richard Miller


i've been reading my vocal class text book from college. i pace around the kitchen making weird sounds as my husband watches sports on the couch with my boys, laughing as i try vocal exercises - weighing their value and my understanding of the technique required to perform them properly. i often have to read and re-read whole sections before i understand them - it's a slow, plodding read, but i do find i'm re-learning a ton, and i am enjoying it. 

i came to the quote above last night and i read it a couple of times before highlighting it in sunshine yellow. i want to remember that. Sometimes beauty is in the ability to hold on after the dramatic high - to remain constant and supported during the re-descending. i felt like that passage uniquely captures a tiny piece of mothering in these strange in between years - where i have adult children and a three year old. And of course, i would be a fool to assume that it's possible to hold anything in reserve from those years of sleep deprivation and baby making and the laundry and food and constant, perpetual action... but as the author describes the skills that need mastering in order to avoid cumulative strain and fatigue - as he explains that when we lack the ability to make rapid adjustments freely - the vocal instrument is sure to tire - it hits home. As the melodic phrase of my child bearing years has come to it's height and begins it's descent, i want to be faithfully sustaining the passage that follows as well as i live my life in sostenuto. 

"The ultimate test of technical ability lies in sustained singing. Energy and power are frequently required, but these attributes of the good singer must be balance by freedom."- The Structure of Singing by Richard Miller


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

learning to teach

Knowing something and having the capacity to teach it are two very different things.

I'm learning new things, and for each new thing i learn, i dissect it in my mind and try to organize it into a lesson - something digestible to a person wanting to learn. Things that have become intuitive for me over the years, little frills or licks on the piano, vocal effects, breath support or vocal onset... have become things that i slow down, pick apart, analyze and then offer back.
i'm enjoying the challenge, and i do feel like i'm getting better at it as i use one way of expressing an idea with one student and i see the lightbulb go off & then i file it away to use again with the next person. i'm gaining experience - and i'm so grateful to these first students who are so graciously gifting me with the opportunity of obtaining it.

But over and above all that, i want to share the one thing that motivates my desire to teach.

It's a single thought - and i'm sure that without it, i probably would have already quit... but i was praying about teaching one day, and i was struck with the knowledge that it's all about the people. As the idea hit... not idea - "transformative knowledge" is maybe a better way of phrasing it... i pulled out my "to do" list where i jot down ways to get better or things i want to accomplish that are outside of my normal.
i wrote my name... getting my future self's attention, and put a box around it.
"Paige, remember: God loves people. This is so important. Figure out how to incorporate this into every step."
Beside it, i placed a little empty check box... so that i would always see it and remember that i'm not done pouring out for people - the ones loved by Him - the ones He gives me to teach and to love too.

So, there is my snippet of thought on this Wednesday afternoon as i prepare another lesson and research method and technique and transpose another song that will be sung... Over, above and wound through this little bit of effort is the knowledge that i use to act upon:
God Loves People. This... This is what matters.

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