Times of Great Joy

Growing up, I always looked forward to Christmas Eve. My Grandma and Grandpa Mahar lived next door, and we always had a party at their house that evening. Memories from those gatherings remain lasting.

Grandma’s house in more recent years.

The most important of those memories revolve around family. My grandparents’ small house would be filled with aunts, uncles, and cousins. Kids were running around playing, laughter filling every corner. Barely a place to sit down, and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Grandma’s dining room table would be covered with all the goodies everyone brought to share. Homemade frosted sugar cookies, divinity, and fudge to name a few. Candy canes and fruit also added color to the table. We would snack until our tummies couldn’t take any more.

With all those treats, we’d need something to drink. Punch! Every year it was lime sherbet and ginger ale-so tasty and festive. I love the taste of that punch to this day. And of course, there was always coffee. 😉

Presents were sometimes part of this celebration, but oddly enough that isn’t what I most remember. There were so many of us, twenty-six grandchildren to be exact, I can’t even imagine preparing those gifts. But somehow, they did.

I’ve experienced this Christmas Eve party over the span of many years as a child, teen, and finally adult. My perspective may have changed, but the purpose did not change. It was a time of great joy which I always looked forward to, and a time I now greatly miss…

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. It will be a quiet day in comparison with the aforementioned parties. There will be cookies to bake and decorate, time with my family, and a Christmas Eve service with a message of hope and beautiful carols.

Our home this year.

Our house will not be full like my Grandma’s once was, but our hearts can be full none the less if we choose. They can be full because of the reason we celebrate.


Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing

Merry Christmas From A Tired Music Teacher

For teachers, Christmas break feels like it will never arrive. Those last few weeks are crazy! Students are restless, teachers are feeling the pull between home and school. Searching for time to decorate, shop, make travel plans…one can start to feel overwhelmed.

This year proved no different. Our final day before break started with leading the choir in some hallway caroling. Then my teammates and I assisted with parties in the gym. And although it was fun, we were on our feet all day.

Exhausted, but relieved break was finally here, I drug my tired body home. I could barely move. At home, I shuffled from couch to bed to couch and finally to bed for the night. The best part? No alarm!

The next morning was awesome. First coffee, a snack, and catching up on the morning news. And next? A nap, of course! Mornings like that are a luxury.

Once I was out of bed for good, Christmas music was on my mind. “Charlie Brown Christmas” was my first choice. I pressed play and started getting ready for the day.

Hair still wet, no makeup on, I suddenly had an urge to play the piano instead of just listening. Christmas carols, of course. The thought of recording songs to share had been in the back of my mind the past couple of weeks.

My initial plan was to go buy a book of fancy arrangements. But on this first day of break, I suddenly changed my mind. Upstairs looking through an old hymnal, I decided to simply play some of my favorites.

And that’s what I did-played these beautiful carols, adding a little of my own style. Nothing fancy, just honest and peaceful music.

My offering may not be extravagant, but that’s ok. It’s from me…from my hands…from my heart. The heart of a tired, yet grateful, music teacher.

Merry Christmas! Hope you enjoy!

Special thanks to my husband, Gart, for getting me set-up, giving me a refresher course on using garage band, and being my editor-in-chief. ❤️


Away In A Manger
Carols Sing
Infant Holy, Infant Lowly

O Little Town of Bethlehem
Silent Night
The First Noel

5th Grade Words of Wisdom

Why is it I’m so surprised when kids speak words of wisdom? Yes, sometimes it is difficult to catch amongst all the silliness and play. It seems to appear when least expected. Like today in the middle of Christmas Carol Bingo, for example.

I wanted the last few days before Winter break to be extra fun and relaxing. If I’m feeling stressed, I know my students are even more so. What could be more fun than Bingo? And when it involves Christmas carols, you can’t go wrong.

                                   Christmas Carol Bingo

My first class of the day is 5th grade. In the middle of our game, one of my students said, “Sometimes I have anxiety. There is so much to get done.” “Me, too,” I responded. “But sometimes music helps my anxiety.” This brief conversation, then the game continued.

It really was a fun class. We were singing along while we played. And of course, there are peppermints for prizes when one gets a Bingo. This first forty-five minutes of the day flew by.

Our game was over. All the marker pieces put away. Students were lining up to leave and face the remainder of their day. That’s when my friend from earlier walked over and gave me a hug. “I just wanted to say thank you, Mrs. Morris. I was having so much anxiety earlier, but now I’m not!”

Out of the mouths of babes…

Even as adults it can be difficult to deal with anxiety. First, we must recognize it, then find ways to cope. Maybe we can eventually learn to see it coming and feel prepared. But not kids. They need our help.

The funny thing is, in the process of helping my friend today, all be it unintentionally, his words actually helped me. I often talk about the power of music, the ways it can calm. I often forget, however, to utilize music when I’m feeling anxious.

These 5th-grade words of wisdom could not have come at a more appropriate time. Two days of school left before Winter break. Preparation for holidays and travel with family. Last-minute shopping. Joyful yet stressful times.

I think I’ll start working on my music playlist now. 😉

Here’s a good place to start. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/river/571368921?i=571369254