Today is the last day of school. There is a part of me that is very excited and relieved, and there is a part of me that is very reflective. This seems to happen almost every year. I wonder if this mixture of emotions happens to other people?

First, the part of me that is excited – I made it through another year, in another new building, with another new principal, with two new grades. Plus, I still have my sanity. I have found a niche teaching elementary music and I love the addition of the older kids. I feel like I connect with the older kids better but I love them all.

Second, the reflective part of me – Part of it is just my personality. I am a bit melancholy. In the past, however, I have always finished the year wondering if that one would be my last. Because of my work with church ministry and my work with teaching I can never decide what I am going to do when I grow up. I have always committed to God that I would be available to do whatever He wanted me to do, whether that was teaching or working with a church full-time.

Thirdly, for the first time in over a dozen years I do not have a summer job – yet. In the past I have worked with band camps or at the church. This summer I am totally free of any of that responsibility. I’m not even taking summer classes. It is a very weird feeling. There’s a part of me that wants to do something else and there’s a part of me that is saying just enjoy the time at home with your family. A refreshing summer might be exactly what I, and my family, need.

When all is said and done the job will sort itself out on its own. What I know for sure is that I have one more day to finish up school.

“Heigh ho, heigh ho, It’s off to work I go, Heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho…”

A teacher shared this letter with me regarding one of her students. The gist of the letter talked about how the student improved in her recorder playing skills this year. Her letter said something like the following… “I put the songs in my head and they came out in my mouth! Thank you Mrs. So-and-so.”

I thought that was the perfect way to put it and got a great laugh out of it. Upon reflecting a bit I realized there was one thing missing – the heart. Music not played from the heart is lifeless, even if it is note-perfect.

That’s the way it is with God’s word too. Yes, memorize it so you can let it come out of your mouth. Share with people and pour into their lives. But don’t leave the heart out of it. That is a dangerous thing.

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You (Psalm 119:11, NKJ).

These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me – referencing Isaiah 29:13 (Matthew 15:8, NKJ).

If you’ve ever had to travel with a young child or baby you know what this post could be all about! If the baby does not travel well no one travels well. We had one of those trips this afternoon. We were visiting family today for a pre-Easter celebration. We decided to go there and back in one day because we have a new baby that is almost 5 months old. She is not used to being in new places overnight and we aren’t either.

Our departure was timed to coincide with our newborn’s nap schedule. Our newborn didn’t agree though. She was overtired and was going to have none of it. About 30 minutes into the trip she started crying something terrible! Nothing we were doing was helping. All seemed hopeless. Then in a blast of brilliance I asked my oldest daughter, six years old, to start singing to her sister.

The result was nothing short of amazing!!!

Within minutes our baby started to calm down and even doze off. After 15 minutes of calm family singing she was sound asleep and stayed that way until we arrived home.

Music has a special impact on people in so many different ways. It is influential physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and academically. Today was no different. It calmed our youngest daughter physically. It kept us from going bonkers mentally. It was emotionally soothing and brought joy to my oldest to help like that. It was an answer to prayer (I know that analogy is a stretch but it’s true!). And finally, I taught my oldest daughter a few new songs in the process (that’s the academic part).

Music does something for the human soul that few other elements can. Thank God for music!

Over on the right hand side you will find a few more short songs that I’ve uploaded. One is a greeting song my oldest daughter created for my music classes (mistakes and all). The second one is a song that my oldest has been singing to my youngest even when she (the youngest) was in utero. To this day it has a calming effect on her.

I hope to be uploading a few more shortly. We love to sing and make up songs.

One of the things that I love to do is lead music at our church. I play guitar, work with a band and singers, and organize the songs that we sing on Sunday mornings. Recently, though, something hit me as I was preparing to lead music.

I was working through our set list and I was stuck on a transition between two songs. There was some problem with the key or with the tempo that just didn’t seem to work with the flow. So I did what I always do. I decided to pray as a transition.

Then it hit me…

I was using prayer, conversation with God, as a transitional/musical element within a time of praise and adoration. I was taking the privilege of speaking with the Creator and reducing it to a substitution for creative arranging.

That has stuck with me and I’m not sure I have a good response to it. However, it has challenged me with several different questions.

1) Is it appropriate to use prayer transitionally during “worship?”
2) When we pray transitionally are we setting appropriate examples?
3) What does this reveal about my own prayer life?

For all you worship leaders out there, what do you do?

For everyone else, I welcome your comments!

It’s official. I will be teaching music at Lynwood Elementary this upcoming year. We actually start a week from Monday.

To be honest, this has been a tough move for me. As I’ve written in a previous post, I do not see myself as an elementary music teacher. Ironically enough, this is what I spent so much of my university time preparing to do. I trained to do K-12 instrumental and vocal. I spent a lot of time working with the Indianapolis Childrens Choir and almost planned on going to Hungary to study music.

How that all got changed is another post for another time.

There is a part of me that is excited about the musical side of this job. I like music and I’ve missed a more hands-on interaction, musically, with my students. The part of me that doesn’t like it is the part that doesn’t know what to do with elementary students.

I really am open to appreciating and even liking this job. I bet it can’t have nearly the same kind of drama that I’ve experienced with middle school and high school!

I’ve has such great help preparing for the job too! I went back to a teacher that I worked with back in my university days. He took a day to come quite a distance to help me out even though we hadn’t talked for almost ten years. Thanks Andy! One of my professor’s, Dr. Penny Dimmick, also spent a day working with me. She loaned out many of her materials so that I could re-familiarize myself with music for elementary children.

Where will all of this lead? I don’t know. I’ve spent a lot of time praying, whining, agonizing, and struggling over this decision. In all of this there is a bit of peacefulness that I am doing the right thing.

I don’t get it, but one thing I know. Come Monday morning the students arrive and I will give them the best musical experience of which I am capable.

Fascinating!

Not exactly musical, but how about this one?