Saturday, January 26, 2013

Life is a highway...or a winding road

Growing up, there was always a mile marker to aim for and look forward to:

  • Learning to tie my shoes
  • Going to "big" church
  • Becoming a teenager
  • Going to high school
  • Sweet sixteen & driving
  • Voting in an election
  • Graduating from high school
  • Going to college / grad school
  • Graduating from college / grad school
  • Starting my first real job

As children, we can all chart somewhat similar paths with fairly predictable milestones along the way. We know we're going to do X, Y, and Z, and so we plan ahead for and anticipate those events.

After we reach the end of the predictable, life takes on a whole new meaning. The choices we make about what to do and where to go next really do make a difference. I am discovering that the road ahead has fewer known destinations. Other than birthdays to mark the passing of years, there are no set-in-stone rights of passage in the future. Yes, there are dreams of marriage and children, but there is no schedule or timeline. The once straightforward road has become a winding road, and I can't always see what is up ahead.

I am a huge fan of planning ahead. I like to have time to think things through, get all my ducks in a row, and be prepared for anything. God has softened me a lot over the past few years, teaching me that I cannot always plan for everything. And often times, the plans I do make need to change. 

A professor once told me that the day I walk across the stage with my bachelor's degree is the day I will feel the smartest in my whole life. After that, I will continue to learn everyday how much I really don't know. Boy, was he right! 

And so this path ahead is unknown, with winding roads, hills, valleys, picnics, lookouts, precipices, and oases. I take each day as it comes, praying for guidance and direction. I set goals but write them in pencil, as I am growing more and more aware of how God's plans are always ultimately better than mine. More than looking for milestones, I take the time to savor friendships and opportunities to learn from people I interact with. I don't want to look so far down the road for what is next that I miss the people and opportunities right next to me. 

The best part of all is knowing that God sees me. He knows when I sit and when I rise. He knows my every thought (Psalm 139:2). And I trust Him.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The soundtrack of my life

The soundtrack of my life has played all genres of music over the years: church choir, school and civic choirs, piano lessons, public school band, small ensembles, symphony orchestras, and wind symphonies. My parents encouraged music and creativity in my formative years, and I eagerly pursued every opportunity to make music. The bassoon chose me at a beginning band drive at the end of my fifth grade year. Little did I know, this slender stick would become my passion throughout public school, college, and beyond. I gradually progressed from struggling to assemble it to fumbling my way through forked fingerings to making the Texas All-State Band to earning a spot in the bassoon studio at the University of North Texas. 

I studied music education at UNT and had the honor of playing in the Wind Symphony under Professor Eugene Migliaro Corporon for three years. His instruction deepened my love for wind band literature. The general consensus is that the bassoon is the orchestra’s instrument. Not so! Modern wind band literature is ripe with demanding, exciting bassoon parts that challenge the player’s agility and concept of tone while introducing the listener to its wide range of personalities beyond the rich, deep sound it is known for.

During my time at UNT, I learned about the Lone Star Wind Orchestra and jumped at the opportunity to audition. Despite my love of music, I had decided to take another route professionally, so I was thrilled at the prospect of continuing to make music with talented musicians. Playing with the LSWO is one of the key highlights of my life. I have been with the group since its first season, and I hope to play with these gifted musicians for many more years, sharing music with not only the arts community, but anyone who will listen!

Music is everywhere: in your car, the store, movies, television, churches, schools, the elevator…It is all around us, and the more we know about it, the more we realize how much of an impact it can have on our mood and outlook on life. Isn’t it remarkable how hearing a familiar song can take you to a moment in time that will forever live in your memory? Everyone has “that song” – the one that elicits a special memory that will never be forgotten. My hope is to share the joy music brings me through playing with the LSWO.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Healing might hurt

Do you ever have those days when it seems like your body is falling apart?

Today was that day for me. I was diagnosed with a sinus infection yesterday, so although I got medicine, I felt much worse today. Next, I realized I had a *painful* cold sore on my lip (and I have a rehearsal tomorrow!) so I bought some topical ointment. Let's just say I didn't realize the ointment would make my lip and tongue go NUMB! Then, I cut myself pretty good shaving, followed by an afternoon of sneezing fits (I think I hit seven in a row at one point). The dreary weather outside only added to my complaining mood.

Ah, the life.

The good thing is that God always helps to bring things back into perspective. I am daily reminded of how He provides for each of us through our physical ailments and needs. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and so I want to take care of mine the best I know how (which means nursing this infection and getting plenty of rest). I want to keep it pure so that I can be used by God for good works. I want to always be prepared and ready to go.

It is important to realize that God works His will out in our lives, and complete healing may not be a part of that will. It wasn't for Paul. His story reminds me that I should be thankful for unanswered prayers, especially in light of the fact that God knows what I can handle. Healing might actually hurt me if it allows me to walk away from pain without praising and thanking Him. Going through trials makes us stronger because they push us closer to Him.

Today really hasn't been all that bad. There are bigger things to concern myself with. I just needed to put it all into perspective.