Monthly Archives: November 2011


There’s just something about stepping away from the daily “normal” that renews my vigor for what I do. This weekend I have had that opportunity in abundance…thanks to the IMEA conference/convention/All State. What is so good about it?

1. Being in Ames, Iowa. Because I have family here (and a place to stay), it’s not a big “trip” where I have to fuss with a hotel and navigating around an unfamiliar place. I know back roads, quaint spots for coffee and meals (check it, Thai kitchen was a 20 minute in and out for lunch today), and can relax. Also, I got to see good friends from my connection group here…Indianola may be my home, but I miss these folks and their weekly encouragement.

2. Seeing colleagues. It’s neat to upgrade from merely peers to colleagues…because on the educator side of things, some of the people who have been teaching for a bunch of years are technically my colleagues (and so I can learn from them). The collaborative spirit of the clinics and workshops means the old guard is [typically] just as eager to hear about the new stuff as the newbies are eager to hear about the tried and true. I love that. Also, my rapidly expanding network in the music ed community is reaffirmed with connections in sessions. I enjoyed that I got to talk with former professors of mine, see fellow Kodaly folks, and stop by a West Music Booth, as well.

3. New Ideas. I have KNOWN that a yearly plan, or at least longer-term plans are where I’m headed for the school year(s) to come. Granted, I have a bit of work to do to catch up from last year’s disasters in planning¬†¬†learning experiences, so this year will look different than last year, but a couple sessions about planning were motivational for me to get on that to make my life easier. I am all about streamlining ;).

4. Repetition, repetition, repetition. One of the big-dog presenters this year is coincidentally married to the big-dog presenter from last year, and a lot of her stuff is repeated because they share philosophical curricular ideals in music. I love hearing it again because it reminds me that the work is purposeful. I also got a great list of books to pass on to our school librarian (woohoo, don’t have to spend my budget…and kids can take them home and share them WITH THEIR FAMILIES!).

5. Folk dancing and activities. General music functions on the premise that it’s supposed to be pretty fun, though work, for students. Sometimes the fun is weeks in developing for a particular activity (oh, you think that’s fun…well, just wait!), but in the crowd of musical adults, we caught on to REALLY fun folk dances and activities in minutes. I was smiling from year to ear while we square danced (note to self, try square dancing with students, it’s not so scary, as it turns out). A stick dance with a long accelerando made me giddy and excited. Seriously, folk dancing is so great. It takes a teacher with clear instructions and good preparation for the dance (which I’m learning to do slowly), but it’s so awesome.

6. Matierals. Most workshop handouts are really brief (boo) and seldom include all the links and notes mentioned in the talk, but they do point to really worthwhile references and resources (usually). It gets me out of my small knowledge in the field.

There’s more than six, to be sure, but I feel like putting on some music and knitting for a while. As I am still staying with family tonight I get to enjoy a great dinner and a movie tonight. Woohoo!


Tonight I was craving a vacation. It’s the most wonderful time of the year…program time (happens twice in a year, actually)…and I am to the max with thoughts about staging, logistics, my schedule outside of the program rehearsals, everything. BLECH. My hope tonight was to knit and kind of put on hold the stuff occupying my mind, but I knit too far on the sock I’m making so I have to take out a bit and redo (not fun when you are 4 rows from finishing to entire thing) to make it smaller. DRAT. I definitely know the agony of too-big socks, so I won’t let this one go. I have my collegiate roommate to thank for knitting conscientiousness, and in case that doesn’t sound grateful, I am truly. The quality of the process is certainly worth a lot to me, but the quality of the product holds some significance, too :).

Today was also my first opportunity to look at the All State workshop line-up. I am pretty pumped to check out some of the sessions in particular. Lillie Feierabend is doing a session about teaching The Nutcracker. That’s a required unit in third grade by our district music standards and benchmarks, so ideas to make it even more engaging and fun are most welcome by me. I’m also a bit torn in a couple of the timeslots as to what I should attend. It will be a very full, not relaxed weekend, but followed by a three day week for Thanksgiving. I think I will rebound :).

It was really sweet to do some rounds of visiting this past weekend. I saw some family and dear friends in Ames, then headed to Iowa City. Stopping at West Music, Java House, and Parkview Church were extremely great (and made me nostalgic for the days of yesteryear when I was a student…sigh). It was sweet that the speaker for the Missions Conference at PV spoke from the scripture I intentionally meditated on last week. If I haven’t said it before, God is redundant in what He teaches me…and if I have, I’m also redundant :).

I believe it’s raining and has been for most of the evening. I have the sliding glass door because it was warm in here–78 before I started cooking dinner (I broiled some hurry-up Chicken Yakatori…not bad, though not quite like the slower version). That feels good. I don’t know if our apartment being too warm will be a problem for much longer (especially when our temperatures dip down and don’t come up so much as they have been), but it’s something I won’t be complaining about anytime soon :). Just glad for the difference cracking a window makes!

Bed time, fo sho. Hope your Tuesday’s excellent!

I was positively giddy awaiting Zumba tonight. I was probably giddy when I saw the new schedule that included it for the first time. I anticipated sweet choreography and fun ladies of every age, ability, and shape moving to music. That was my experience with the class in Ames. I had fun, more so than a workout video (sorry K, I’m not the biggest loser’s biggest fan for workout videos)…but it was tough. My mind wandered in the middle of non-stop high cardio dances to the Biggest Loser when contestants are yelping and crying and being yelled at to “push through”. I’m going back, but it’ll take some getting in shape and getting used to…HA. I imagine waking up is going to be hard to do tomorrow.

It was really fun to be joined by some Indianola friends, too. I don’t put a lot of stuff on facebook (well, compared to previous years), but my invitation to join in Zumba reached a few, and I’m so glad for it :).

Weirdest thing (besides weights, push-ups, and mountain climbers in the choreography)…no lights. There was some light bleeding in over the partition walls and a string of led-style Christmas lights under the mirror (a blueish hue)…but the overhead lights were off. Maybe it gets super hot if they’re on (it was already quite warm), but who knows. Maybe different teachers turn the lights on. I’ll check it out.

I should head to bed. Peace!

Yes, Lord

Obedience to God is not my first nature. Clearly, as I participate in sin daily (minute by minute, more like), but on the big things, too. Am I stuck in that rut? No. Have I shown evidence of the fruit of obedience before? Yes. Does either of those things make saying Yes any easier? No, unfortunately.

I’ve mentioned that I’m going to make this place home, that I’m going to strive to plant roots here. Today I said “yes” to God by saying “no” to something else very dear to me. I thought I was well resolved and glad for that decision to follow the Lord in obedience, but on this end it stinks because I have taken public steps to physically commit myself to this place, this small town, this community.

Lest you think I interpret God’s plan for me to be to stay here forever because I am making it my home, be aware that I am simply giving Him that option. I still have the desire to leave, but I’ll proceed as though I don’t with the confidence that God will give me flexibility to leave when (if) he calls me away. This under the assumption that He will grow me here in this place.

I’m trying to think of instances of obedience being difficult and easy when it comes to God’s commands. My memory fails me because I can’t think of difficult “yes” times happening before. Superficial ones, yeah. I mean, I’ve told God “yes” to his plans for my future (marriage, location, vocation), but never with concrete ramifications in mind that are painful or difficult to face.

So, yeah. I’m a little bummed. But my joy is in the Lord as I look to Him for fruit in this obedience. Even if it’s a little prickly on the outside and tough to open.