Create in me a clean heart, O God . . . .
Here it is the fourth or fifth week of my vacation and instead of being happy, I am just bored with it all. I don’t want to go back to school but I don’t want to be here in this place either. Lord, I am sure this boredom shows that there is something really wrong with me and I ask you to show me where I have gotten off the beaten path. I want these last final weeks of vacation to be happy and peaceful and restful. School starts soon enough and with it all the anxieties and trials that go with it. Lord, give me your peace today and let it carry me through the weeks of summer.
Today has been a nice day to hit the ground running as far as practicing is concerned. I will try to get in another hour on flute and then go to harp. I really need to be productive and excited about playing harp and flute this summer – Frank Voltz says “thank God” every day for music and your talent.
Today was really the last day of school. I was able to turn in grades, computer and keys and leave for the summer! Let’s hope it all goes through like it should. Today has been a day of overload information on the Orlando shooting that took place Saturday night. I cannot wrap my head around the hate that comes from the Muslim faith and how the more devoted you are, the more you want to kill others and in this case, it doesn’t matter who the others are. In San Bernandino it was a Messianic Jew and in Orlando it was a gay nightclub. Hearing the politically correct response from the White House and the Democrats is nauseating – they truly don’t seem to care about American lives and are willing to sacrifice just about anybody to push forward their agenda. It makes me sad and angry and furious and afraid, all at the same time. God is on the throne and that is the only thing that keeps me sane in this madness.
The Day after the “Last Day” of School
Friday was the last day of school even though I have to go in on Monday to get the rest of my grades printed out and turn in my keys and computer. Hopefully it will all be over by 12:00 noon. In the meantime, I have totally chilled out and not done anything that important but should get back into some kind of schedule next week. I hope to see Love and Friendship with Beth and dad next week and finalize my travel plans for Ohio. This is going to be a short summer so I need to savor it all. We did grocery shopping and watching TV – I need a more useful course of action for next week. We watched “Walt before Mickey” and I was inspired by Walt Disney’s can do spirit in spite of many obstacles. If I really want to build a studio of 20 students, I need to adopt this attitude – obstacles cannot stand in the way because if they do, you never succeed. Disney showed that just because you are down doesn’t mean you are out. He also showed the value of hard work. I need to be working of flute and harp this summer and reading everything I can get my hands on. Rest and learn this summer is what I need to do!
Thursday – the day before the end of school which is always spent running down people and trying to get signatures for the end of the year checklist. Yesterday I began the 25 day etude challenge and so far have finished the first two etudes. I have compiled a list of ABRSM solos and hope to order more next year. I would also like to get some ABRSM flute materials and offer that to people when and if I can get a studio going. There are two things going around in my head – two goals that I would like to accomplish professionally and personally in the next several years. I would like to get a studio going of between 15-20 flute students and be able to use that money to help pay off the house and start saving even more for retirement. I would like to be able to retire in 10 years and have the studio up and running by that time so that it could support me and Jon along with a part-time teaching gig. The other goal is writing some sort of book, but just what kind of book eludes me. Do I want to do a novel on the church in America or the early Christian church or the Reformation or some time in history that interests me – even World War II? Do I want to do some sort of devotional for Christian musicians in high school and early college? I was watching a video by Jon Herman tonight and he talked about the 90 day year challenge and focusing your goals so that you accomplish them within 90 days. He believes like Dave Ramsey that you have to have short term goals and success quickly to keep you going on the path you have set for yourself. The summer affords me time to think about the 90 day year challenge. What is the 90 day goal I have set for myself and how can I accomplish it? Do I want to teach and who is my target audience? Places and people to contact?
Bridge Prep Academy St. Lawrence Catholic Church music director
Girls after school place down the street Church on Sligh Avenue
Seminole Heights Elementary Hillsborough High School
The elusive Cambridge Christian School Tampa Catholic High School
Ways to advertise – Flyers, web site, business cards, referrals.
Today is the first day of what will hopefully be a report on the summer of 2016. Graduation at Blake High is always a bittersweet time for me as I say farewell to the seniors. This year we have seven seniors and I’d like to reflect back on my engagement with them.
Ailianna B. – She was only harp about two years and played viola. This last year because of car problems I didn’t see her a lot but she showed up for the concerts.
Mykala M. – Mykala was a shy, introverted singer if you can believe that. She told me the last day of harp that it was one of her favorite classes. I enjoyed having Mykala because I wanted to encourage her to not be afraid of being shy.
Kris C. was a late addition to harp coming in the third quarter of 2016. He seemed to like harp and fit right in with everyone. He plays trombone and wants to continue with harp in college.
Ashlyn D. – I had Ashlyn my first year in the school system at Lockhart Elementary. I lost touch with her in middle school and reconnected with her at Blake. She seemed to enjoy harp and was active in student government this year. She is going to Bethune Cookman next year.
Karlea B. is a jazz singer who will be attending Berklee College of Music next year. SHe has a dry sense of humor and is really quite funny. She was in harp class in middle school and this last year at Blake.
Vanessa P. is one person I tried to impress and failed to do so. She is driven, determined, a hard worker and a good harpist. One thing I did for her was introduce her to Sue Carole DeValle who hopefully helped her get ready for college. She won a scholarship to FSU and a full tuition scholarship from a wealthy patron. She is the kind of student I like to get close to but that doesn’t always happen.
Valerie Z. is someone I would like to stay in touch with. She is a sweet person with a great Christian faith. She wants to be a nurse and I am hoping that she will also use harp with that career. I wish her the best in college and life!
So graduation has come and gone and my seniors are now former students. It is always amazing when that happens and there is some sadness that goes with it.
Today is Mother’s Day and my mother is no longer with us. I have been thinking about what my mother did right since a lot of the time I spent thinking about what she did wrong. My mother really took her faith seriously and she wanted her children to do so as well. Because of her and my dad, I cannot think that being a nominal Christian is okay. Either you take this faith seriously – with all you have – or you should just forget about it. I didn’t always appreciate this about my mother, but I do now. Faith in Christ has to be everything or nothing – it is either the most important thing in your life or you should just forget about it. Mom did not read Fenelon, but Fenelon agrees with her. Pastor Keen said this morning that Christ does not save us to be lazy or indifferent. To honor my mother and her life, this is what I need to do. I found a prayer today that encompasses my mother and those who have left this life who I love. Here is the prayer: We give you thanks, Almighty God, for all Your benefits, who live and reign, world without end. Amen. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
“We have entered now upon the beginning of the holy Fast, when every Christian purifies himself by great abstinence.” Second Canon – The Lenten Triodion
Isaiah 58:4 – “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the chords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”
What is the “great abstinence” spoken of by the quote from the Lenten Triodion? It is physical fasting because that is one of the things we are required to do during Lent – fast from meat, dairy and oil. However, the great abstinence is more clearly seen in the quote from Isaiah – abstinence from sin and especially injustice and situations that tie people down. God is especially concerned about justice and this justice is seen in good government which does not oppress people but gives them a fair hearing and equality before the law.
How does this apply to me? I am to seek to be just with the people I deal with on a daily basis. Treating them with fairness and impartiality – this is especially true with students who don’t want to cooperate with “the rules” – they can interfere with the learning of others and I am to step in on behalf of the students who want to learn and make sure that uncooperative students don’t impede learning by others. I have often been guilty of not standing up to students who need to be disciplined – this is a miscarriage of justice. During this fast, help me Father to stand up for the “oppressed” who sometimes are a part of my class.
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11)
“Through heedlessness I have fallen into the heavy sleep of sin. But thou, my Christ, who for my sake has fallen asleep on the Cross, do thou awaken me, that the night of death come not upon me.” (Canticle Eight – Lenten Triodion)
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee. from the hymn, “And Can It Be?” Charles Wesley
It seems as if Lent comes to remind me that I am still bound by sin and still have it’s chains wrapped around me. The passage in Romans tells me that I have a choice to make – will I awake or keep sleeping in my sinful state? And it also tells me that I really need to do it now because “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”
Sin has a lulling effect in my life. It makes me think I have years and years to deal with the problem instead of dealing with it now. Sin is like cancer and you can’t have a nonchalant attitude about cancer. It is a disease that demands that I put everything else down and work on it now.
I also love Charles Wesley’s hymn as it reminds me that I can only do so much in the fight against sin but that I must do what I can and leave the rest to Christ. After all, if I am in chains in prison, I have a limited amount of things I can do. I think what I can do is keep asking for help which is what we do all the time when we pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.” Praying that prayer constantly assures me that I am aware of the deep illness I have and that the only one who can help me is Jesus Christ.
It has been ages since I have posted anything on this blog. After a whirlwind of activities at Christmas, and then coming back to school and exams, things are settling down somewhat. We have had really cold weather this week which is a change for Florida. It was so hot in December that I thought we would never see cold weather again, but we have and it is nice most of the time.
Jon is not doing as well physically as I would like – he often seems depressed and out of sorts. We went to eat yesterday and he mentioned he really wanted to do the Legacy Journey DVD’s by Dave Ramsey to help prepare for leaving his affairs in order. I can understand that part but it made me sad and troubled to think about him (and me) having to do this necessary job. We need to set up our insurance papers, will and other documents so that they are ready should one of us fall asleep in the Lord. I have been reminded recently that all of life is a preparation for death and beyond and though that is sometimes an unnerving thing to think about it is exactly what I need to think about. All of my accomplishments to this point in my life don’t seem that great in comparision to this one thought – the remembrance of death. I pray that this will be on my mind always and that it will prepare me to live well.