Monday, January 27, 2014


Sometimes you're left with a choice in life in which no matter what you do you have to give something up that's very important to you. A few month ago when my husband told me he had to stay in Florida he gave me a choice; he told me I could stay in Virginia instead of moving down to Florida to be with him. But I told him that my place was with him. I told him I loved him and I couldn't be away from him any longer. I would do anything for my husband; I love him dearly, but it doesn't mean that the sacrifices I make for him are easy.

Music is important to me. There is no way I can express how important it is to me in my life. My faith is also very important to me. I have been so lucky in that I have been able to combine those two important aspects of my life into one by being the music director for a church. My faith is made stronger through my music and my music is made stronger by my faith. It's an indescribable feeling for me when I'm at Mass playing or singing my music to God. By leaving Virginia, by leaving my job and the people I've come to love I am losing a part of me. 

But eighteen years ago I made a commitment to my husband and as difficult as it is for me to leave behind something so important to me I know where I must be. I know my place is with my husband. I have to believe that God has a plan for me. God has something greater in store for me and I need to trust in Him. I need to trust that He knows what He is doing. I need to believe that everything will work out. 

The decisions we make in our life are not always easy, but it's a part of life. I believe that God has a greater plan for me. I may not be able to see it right now, but I am ready for whatever He has in store for me on this journey I am about to embark on.

Friday, September 6, 2013

God's Plan For Me

When I first moved to Virginia playing for a Catholic church was not a part of my plan, but I  have come to realize it was a part of God's plan for me. It was what I was meant to do. I am a person of few words and many times when I speak I speak quietly and my words tend to get a little jumbled, but music has always been the language I speak with utmost clarity.

My average work day usually consists of me at my computer planning liturgies, planning rehearsals, finding new music etc. or in the church practicing. I do get suggestions for pieces, but for the most part it's my job to find music that fits the readings and is appropriate for Mass. It is not unheard of for me to spend several hours in search of one single piece.

Of course the most important part of my job is the Mass itself and before Mass even begins I am out there playing my prelude music. That is when I prepare myself and my soul for Mass. The music I play before Mass is always my own rendition of some standard hymn that expresses what I'm feeling at that moment. When I have a cantor who is late, equipment malfunctioning, rehearsal runs over or whatever emergency may arise before Mass that prevents me from playing my prelude, it throws everything off. My prelude is essentially my prayer before Mass and is very important to me.

When Mass begins I am completely and utterly immersed in the service and my music makes me feel an even stronger connection to God. I play with utmost care and and I put my whole soul into what I play. Playing a piece 'well' is not good enough for me. It needs to be perfect. Every note I play, every note I sing is important. Music can be very powerful and prayerful; the right song and how it is played or sung can have a huge impact on the liturgy and the people and their relationship with God.

I love that God moved me in this direction in my life. Music and my relationship with God are very important to me and I am glad to have this opportunity to bring these important parts of my life together.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Let Me Help You

When I arrived in Pensacola yesterday my husband said to me, "Yeah, you're going to stop taking that medication." He seemed to know immediately that I was not myself and that this medication I was on was doing me more harm than good.

This medication messed with my system. I have not been myself and it has been a bit worrisome. I have been constantly exhausted, wanting nothing more than to sleep. This constant exhaustion has made me lose focus, made me kind of depressed, clumsier than usual and who knows what else. This made me think; I don't know that I was completely aware of what was going on at first. I don't think I realized how bad I was getting, but no one said anything to me. No one asked me if I was all right. No one asked me what they could do to help. A couple of people said something to me in passing, but no one sat me down to talk to me, which is probably what I needed.

I am one of those people that would also ignore the outward signs of others around me, and I think that is something that needs to change. I'm not just talking about reactions to medication here, but people's emotional well-being as well. Sometimes people just need someone to talk to or need a little extra help with something. We are in a society where it can be very difficult to ask for help when needed and that is when I think it is up to us to freely offer that help to others and to truly mean it.

A friend of mine said one time that one of the most overused statements we all use is, "If there's anything you need let me know." She said this statement is just an easy way to show people you care but you really don't give a s*** enough to actually do something. She said if you really did give a s*** you would actually do something and wouldn't wait for someone else to ask you for help when they were in need.

*To update you on the medicine situation, I have stopped taking it. I am still feeling a bit foggy, but hopefully I'll be back to myself in a few days.

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Lenten Journey

As a practicing Catholic a big part of my faith begins this Wednesday when I begin my Lenten journey with Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday we are marked with ashes in the shape of a cross on our foreheads. As we are marked on our foreheads, with these ashes, the words "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return." are uttered. This is a sign that our life upon this Earth is fleeting and that one day we will surely stand in judgement before God. If I were to stand in judgment before God today what would He say to me? Did I live the Christ-like life that I wanted to live or would I hang my head in shame as I stand in His presance?

I have been stumped as to what I want to do this year for Lent. I am always striving to live a Christ-like life, but I sometimes I feel that is an impossible endeavor. How could I ever be like Christ, the Savior of the world? But yet, that is what I want to do. And hopefully my Lenten journey will take me closer to this endeavor of mine.

When I was looking around for some information about Lent I came across a few keywords for me to think about. Some of these words are penance, repentance, reflection, self-denial, prayer, fasting, alms-giving and self-examination.

'Self-examination' was the word that really stuck out for me. That word  made perfect sense. That's really what I need to do. I need to spend this Lenten season in examination of my life and determine how I can be more Christ-like and how I can apply these principals to my life. I can't just say I want to live a more Christ-like life I need to live it. I know that's easier said than done, especially in this crazy and chaotic world we live in today, but nothing is impossible. With Christ all things are possible.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tell Me About Yourself.

I have been trying to be more social and have noticed I like to talk about myself a bit too much. Can I help it if I get excited when I talk about Wisconsin, my cat's, my husband, my family, my job, my travels, music, the Packers... Ok, I should probably stop now.

So here's the challenge: When I begin a conversation with a person I will put all the focus on them or on something else aside from me. I will not talk about myself unless specifically asked. I will not post about myself on FaceBook, unless it's something important. In fact I will try to comment on other's posts more often in an effort to be more outgoing and to get to know them better.

Sometimes I feel like I really don't know the people around me. I need to work on this skill, and the only way I see of doing that is to try this little experiment for awhile. I realize that this is kind of oxymoron since I am talking about myself right now, but I really can't be writing this blog if I don't talk about myself. There are certain aspects of my life that are going to be exceptions to this rule, and I will deal with those situations as they come.

What it really comes down to is I want to know more about the people in my life; I want to know who they are because they are important to me; I already know about myself.

Monday, January 28, 2013

It Was a Good Day; It Was a Bad Day

It's amazing how one day everything can seem to go your way, but then the next day everything appears to completely fall apart. It's funny how different people handle the same situation. Why do certain people handle these same situations better than others? I wonder if it's a matter of attitude or how they perceive things around them? I have no doubt events are going to happen in a person's life that are going to be good or bad no matter what. In those instances you just need to celebrate and say a prayer of thanksgiving on those good days and on the bad days you need to pray for guidance and lean on family and friends for support. But what about those other days?

I can't help but recall a specific event in my life that occurred a long time ago when I was in high school. A friend and I were going out for the evening; I believe there was a dance and we were going out to dinner beforehand. On the way to dinner I got pulled over and got a speeding ticket. The police officer held me a little longer than you would expect, and asked me a lot of questions. Apparently there was another car just like mine involved in a hit and run. After I got what would be my first speeding ticket, we went along our way. About a mile up the way, as we were making our way up the bluffs, my car suddenly ran out of gas. I knew I was pushing it, but I honestly thought I could make it. Luckily the cop wasn't too far behind us and was able to stop and call someone for us (no cell phones back then). Once help arrived we put a little gas in my car and were ready to continue our journey when the battery in my car died. Finally, later on that night while we were at the dance hanging out with our friends, someone broke into my car and stole some of our belongings.

It's hard to believe all of this could happen in one day and strangely it all seemed to be focused on my car. Through it all I don't think I ever thought of it as a bad day. I don't think I ever cried or got discouraged. I think we were actually able to laugh about most of it. We were making the best out of a bad situation. I considered that a good day. But I think many people would consider that a bad day.

I guess it really is all about our attitude and how we perceive things around us. I am the first to admit I don't handle all situations with grace. I know there are days when I just don't think I can take it. There are days that just seem never ending, everything is going wrong and I just want the day to end so I can crawl into my little hole and never come out. When I look back at some of those bad days I can see  they really weren't as bad as I thought; I just didn't have the right attitude. And as the above story about my little outing with my friend shows I do have the ability to make the best out of a bad situation. We can choose to live life believing something is the most devastating thing in the world and be miserable or we can choose to live life by making the best out of a bad situation and maybe even laughing about it. I think I will choose the latter.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Confessions of a Socially Awkward Person

I have always considered myself to be a rather shy person. Some people may wonder how it is even possible for someone so shy to have a job where they play the piano, organ and sometimes sing several times a week for church? Well, it hasn't always been easy; I used to suffer from awful stage fright. I literally would force myself to play in front of people on a regular basis to get over this fear. That fear could have held me back, but I chose to conquer it and my life has been so much better because of it.

But what really gets me now is my awkwardness in social situations. This is my new hurdle I need to get over. Sometimes I joke about being socially awkward, but it can be rather frustrating at times. To get a better idea about what defines a socially awkward person I have listed a few of our traits:

  1. The tendency to feel awkward in social situations (obviously).
  2. The lack of understanding as to what is appropriate in normal social situations. 
  3. The tendency to not always get our point across in an accurate way.
  4. Conversations lack a consistent flow.
  5. Frequently being avoided or ridiculed by others (This is the only one I don't think applies to me; at least I hope not.)
  6. The lack of meaningful connections with others.
For anyone who knows me they may be laughing right now, because I so obviously fit most of these traits; it's actually kind of scary how accurate this is. Others may not think I fit any of these traits. But that is because there are those few select people in my life where this just does not apply. Congratulations/Sorry if you are one of those people.

So how does being a socially awkward person make me feel? Well it makes me feel happy and I just love it when... Okay obviously it does not make me happy. Why would it? That's silly. What it does make me feel is frustrated, abandoned, upset, alone, unimportant etc. I know those are strong feelings, but in certain situations that is how I feel. I think anyone else would feel the same.

Just because I have those strong feelings does not mean I am a depressed person. It's not as though I'm sitting at home in utter despair and crying myself to sleep;  Although, I did do that last week when the Packers lost. As I said, that is just how I feel when I am in certain situations. I think most people can see I am a pretty happy person. But I really feel as though I have this need to form a stronger connection with others around me. Just like I confronted my stage fright, it is time I also confront this fear of social situations.

Now what can I do about this? All I really need to do is a few little things:  I need to think before I speak, be the conversation starter, and above all not be afraid of failure, because I'm sure to run across a few bumps in the road and I may fail in my initial attempts to become a more sociably adept person. It seems easy, but I need to put forth the effort and I need to have patience that I will overcome this fear in due time.