Category: Motivational

Puzzle Pondering

When I was younger we had a 25 piece puzzle of Bambi (one of my favorite movies at the time).

I couldn’t get the pieces to fit together the way I was pretty sure they were supposed to…actually, the way I was VERY sure they were supposed to!!

So I took some scissors to the puzzle pieces and I cut them to fit.

Well, what do you know, they actually weren’t supposed to fit together that way and I totally ruined the puzzle.

Puzzle pieces tulip

I had that exact same impulse when I was putting together my tulip puzzle over the weekend.

The puzzle was from dollar tree and when I finished the border I had a whole bunch of edge pieces leftover.

I was so sure the dollar tree people screwed up!

Time to break out the scissors and make it fit!

Thankfully my husband walked in before the massacre began and when I showed him  he helped me to realize that even though it looked like I had pieces left over, In fact they were pieces that went on the inside of the puzzle but they just looked like edge pieces.

Yikes! I realized that is definitely one of my impulses for life as well. When I don’t really think things are fitting together like they’re supposed to, I take my scissors to it and make it work.

“I’m going to pound on the pieces until they jam together.”

In reality when you find pieces that really do go together they fit together beautifully, easily, and it all just flows.

The resulting picture is much prettier.

So…the puzzle that did turn out beautifully and all 101 pieces I actually did belong in that puzzle. (Thank you dollar tree you didn’t screw up after all.)

puzzle picture

Here are my lessons learned:

puzzle ponderingThe pieces (and you and I) are exactly the right shape.

We may be in a  place where it doesn’t seem like things are going to fit together, but we are exactly the right shape and have exactly the right skills.

puzzle ponderingWe have exactly the number we need.

We may feel “not enough” for whatever situation we’re in…but we have exactly what we need!

puzzle pondering

We fit easily where we belong.

We can stop making ourselves fit where our pieces are not meant to be.

So if you feel like maybe you’re not the right size and maybe you don’t have exactly what you need to succeed I would encourage you to go buy a puzzle at dollar tree (or wherever fine puzzles are sold) and see what discoveries you have while you are putting it together.

Music and Meditation

My New Year’s resolution was to have a daily spiritual practice.

I’ve done ok so far, but making it more than 5 days in a row is a struggle.

How are you doing with yours?

For me, something’s gotta change.

I need some inspiration, some reason to continue when I’d rather sleep in.

Feedback from these posts are very helpful to me, so I began reading through them for inspiration.

What came up over and over was something like this:

“I really enjoy these weekly devotionals.”

What?!? Don’t tell anyone, but

I had no idea I was writing devotionals.

Looking back over them, I see now that is what they became.

So in an effort to embrace what works, here’s a thought:

I’m offering a daily music and meditation experience during February. 

Sound like something you’d be interested in?

Each morning an email will arrive with up to 5 minutes of instrumental music and meditation prompts for you to use as a devotional.

Next week I’ll put out a sample, but if you want to get in early I’ve created a special gift for the first 15 people to sign up!

Check out more details here! 

music and meditation

Permission Granted

It all started Friday night when I found out that a shipmate passed away.

Unexpected. Unbelievable. Unexplainable.

We were stationed in Navy Band New Orleans together. He was a good friend.

How could this happen?

It’s given me a greater sense of urgency to stop waiting around.

I’ve thought for so long that there was some magical degree,

or amount of money,

or number of followers,

that would make me feel that it was finally ok to follow my passion.

Step out and begin.

I’ve been waiting around for validation that is NEVER coming.

Because there is no committee in the sky passing out permission slips.

You were born with a permission slip to be you.

So was I.

Somehow or another I lost mine along the way.

I found it this morning.

I hope this song inspires you to grab your permission slip as well.

permission granted begin


I wonder when the show will start

And will it take you far?

When the curtain rises and the show begins

Will you step up and be the star?

Ooo Ooo This is where life begins

Ooo Ooo Your adventure awaits within

This is the start, You can go far

Believe it and dare to jump in

Ooo Ooo This is where life begins

I wonder how long the show will last

And who else is in the cast?

When the curtain closes and the show is over

It will all have happened so fast!

Ooo Ooo This is where life begins

Ooo Ooo Your adventure awaits within

This is the start, You can go far

Believe it and dare to jump in

Ooo Ooo This is where life begins

So put your show on the road

Get a ticket, let’s go!

Push the pedal to the metal

Pull the pin on your potential

You’ve got the gift

Untie the bow

Ooo Ooo Now your life begins

Ooo Ooo You’ve found the adventure within

You’re at the start, You will go far

Believe it you’ve dared and jumped in

Ooo Ooo Congratulations, Begin.

Race Tempo

When I’m teaching a student to play or sing a new piece of music they tend to slow down in the hard parts and then race through the easier parts.

It’s a natural tendency we all have and something we have to fight against in music in order to keep a steady tempo.

And so I remind my students…It’s not a race.

Slow down and learn the notes.

It will all come together eventually and become a beautiful song.

And then I realize how true that is in life.

We’ve all heard slow and steady wins the race haven’t we?

Yet it’s so easy to get caught up in the fast and furious pace all around us.

I know I’m often tempted to skip ahead to something that looks more fun or easier than where I am now.

So this is a reminder to myself…It’s not a race.

Enjoy the journey…Eventually it will turn into be a beautiful song.

Pieces of Peace

This week I learned (yet again) that if I wait for the world to provide me with peace, I’m never going to get it.

As I was rushing to get the rest of the decorations up around the house today I started wondering when this season was going to stop being stressful and start being fun.

Of course, I was pretty sure this wasn’t my fault. I had a pretty good list going of all the things other people should have done that would have helped give me some peace. If only my husband had said this, or there weren’t so many programs and activities to attend, or my dogs weren’t barking incessantly…. 

Please tell me I’m not the only one….?

So I set out to pick up the pieces of my sanity (littered amongst the wrapping paper, unopened mail, and Christmas lights) and find peace in the best way possible….playing music.

Music Dynamics or The Dynamics of Life?

Through teaching music, I learn about life.

Especially from the refreshingly honest perspective of children.

I’m constantly amazed at their insights and intuition!

Yesterday as I was explaining to a student dynamics (playing loud versus soft) we had an interesting discussion. He was protesting the need to play soft because playing loud is so much easier.

He is totally right…playing soft does take practice and develops fine motor skills that you don’t have immediately.

It also requires a level of concentration and discipline that only develops over time.

(I suspect he also enjoys playing loud because it annoys his younger siblings…but that’s just a theory!)

It’s much easier to be loud in life too, isn’t it?

In this week alone, I’ve loudly lamented the long lines at Sams, poor customer service at a local pharmacy, and lack of selection at a restaurant.

Just writing those out makes me seem totally superficial and ridiculous. But it’s true….I’ve seriously wasted valuable time and energy on this.

So now I’m going to take my own musical advice and practice playing soft.

Instead of approaching perceived injustice with laments, I’m going to try the opposite approach. After all, it’s not like I got anywhere with my indignance except spreading frustration to everyone around me.

And just like it takes time to develop the skills necessary to play soft, I’m sure that I will not be totally successful.

But I will practice.

I don’t expect perfection from my students, so I will try not to expect perfection from myself.

Here’s to a playing (and living) a dynamic life!

When music is your escape, but also your job…

Here’s a few phrases we’ve all heard about music:

Music is my…

way of getting away.





Those all may be true.      But here’s another truth:

Music is my job.

And I don’t have to tell you that Christmas a very demanding season.

Dozens of services and performances, not to mention the planning, practice, and rehearsals associated with each.

It can get overwhelming.

And if I’m not intentional about clearing time every morning to pray/meditate I’ll get sucked into the vortex of craziness and come out at the end of the day a frantic mess.

Just ask my husband…

To that end, I am committing to doing a Facebook live every morning from now until Christmas. This will just be me singing and/or playing songs for the pure enjoyment of it. Not super rehearsed, not polished, and definitely not perfect. A time for me to create music for the pure enjoyment of it, before heading out to make music experiences for others.

So here’s my challenge for you this season:

Pursue what makes you happy and fills you up before you fill your day helping/serving/working for other people.

Do you think this sounds selfish and indulgent?

Here’s a reframe that has helped me:

Anything that makes you a better person to be around is a benefit to everyone!

Deal? Deal!

It is Well

I spent some time this week remembering painful times in my past.

I’m not a glutton for punishment,

the intent was to remember, forgive, and move on.

In reality, I found myself descending into a spiral of

“it’s not fair that this happened…why me…I shouldn’t have to deal with this….”

Not productive.

And definitely not helpful.

In the middle of arguing with myself about how best to handle this

I started singing…

not on purpose, the song just came back to me in the moment

when I needed it most.

It is Well with My Soul

Events that stop us in our tracks force us to reevaluate everything.

Send us spinning out of our normal orbit and into an unknown world of emotions.

It can be painful, but it can also be an opportunity for change.

A complete reset of how things will be in the future.

As we pick up the pieces and begin to put ourselves back together,

we have a choice.

We can put everything back exactly where it came from,

try and make it exactly like it was before,

or we can choose to change. 

Incorporate a new habit, change up a routine, or cut out things we don’t need anymore.

My new habit (at least for this month) is to meditate every morning.

So far so good…although I’m only a few days in!

When sorrows like sea billows roll, I’ll be singing…