Blog Anniversary!

Yesterday marked four years since my first Piano Girl blog post! I continue to be thankful for this WordPress family. I look forward to reading your words and continuing to find new connections.

A lot has happened in four years. Not the least of all, living through a pandemic. Times of sickness, death, isolation, masks, and vaccinations. Challenging does not begin to describe.

And yet, good things pushed their way through the muck. Extended time with family. New friends connecting across the miles thru zoom. Resilience tested and proven within so many. I even had my first book published!

No, those things do not erase current events distress from the wars in our world and gun violence in my country. They do, however, encourage me to cherish the connections I have, old and new. They remind me of the importance of loving, even when we disagree. They give me hope.

Here’s to year five! Prayers for peace. Actions with intention. Words to encourage. Stop by and say hello!

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. I Peter 4:8

You’ve Got Mail

My email inbox is quick to get overloaded. Because I tend to ignore it. Until the thousands of unread messages are overwhelming.

My daughter gets after me about this habit quite often. But she is also quick to help. And I must admit, it is a relief to see that empty inbox.

Today, its state is somewhere in between control and chaos. Cluttered, but not enough where I might miss an important message.

…like the one that arrived this morning with a swoosh.

I have met so many amazing people through the writing circle process. One of those sweet friends recently asked if I’d like to be on her mailing list. She sends a weekly letter out to a few friends.

Due to the often out-of-control state of my inbox, I almost declined. So thankful that I did not.

Her words are always timely, and today was no exception. Acknowledging the worries of this world while also brightly shining her light. Honest and challenging. Reading her words, I often find myself saying, Me, too! That fact alone places her emails at the top of my must-read column.

So, if you are feeling heavy today, you are not alone. And just as I received encouragement, long distance-may I offer some to you?

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.
Proverbs 12:25

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

Thinking I need to re-read.❤️

“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors—in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.” -Fred Rogers

An Old Friend

A jeans and t-shirt girl
That is what I call myself
Oh, I enjoy getting dressed up
For the occasional night out
But if you ask my preference
The answer never changes-
A comfy pair of jeans
And a favorite t-shirt
Now, those jeans can’t be comfy
Without a little wear
Walking down a rugged path
Resting on a large rock or two
Carrying smooth pebbles in my pocket-
They find their purpose that way
Not just a protective covering
No, much more
A reminder of where I’ve been-
Legs crossed sitting by the fire
Those jeans feel like an old friend-
And the t-shirt?
Well… if it’s my James Taylor t-shirt
There is no contest-

Today was a virtual/distance learning day for students in our district. Yes, we know in-person learning is best. But when so many teachers, staff, and regular subs are out sick, it makes in-person learning pretty much impossible.

That meant I pushed out music lessons/activities for students on an online platform. I receive a notification each time a student submits a response. They always make me smile.

After lunch, I noticed a stack of boxes near my classroom. I quickly discovered they were the new keyboards recently ordered for my piano class! Ten of them, complete with stands, headphones, pedals. I’ve got some work to do tomorrow!

This may not have been an ideal teaching day. But there were bright spots. And here I am, sitting on the floor in front of those beautiful boxes, wearing a favorite pair of jeans and a school t-shirt. It was a good day…

Not my James Taylor t-shirt, but it will do. ❤️

Beyond Happy Birthday

It’s all a matter
Of perspective
Well-rehearsed
Full of love
Celebratory
Happy Birthday!
Performance
Complete with
Full chorus
And orchestra

Impromptu
Full of love
Rambunctious
Happy Birthday!
Complete with
Kindergarteners
School hallway
Their stage
It’s all a matter
Of perspective

Each rendition
Delightful
In its own right
In its own space
But those sweet
Kindergarteners
Singing in
The school hallway
Provided a harmony
Beyond music

My birthday celebration this year was topped off with a special treat. My husband surprised me with tickets to see James Taylor and Jackson Browne in Kansas City, MO last night. Road trip! ❤️

Four hours of life’s soundtrack from these two artists who are still going strong. Both in their seventies, I was amazed at their energy. Inspired by their love for what they do. Sharing the power of connection that lives in their music.

I hope to write more about this event. But right now, I want to bask in the harmony beyond music. It started with those sweet kindergarteners and continued right until the final note of last night’s concert.

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes, it’s alright
I don’t know no love songs
I can’t sing the blues anymore
Oh but I can sing this song
You can sing this song when I’m gone
-James Taylor

Dear Friends & Family

I continue to be amazed at the connections near and far created through blogging and am grateful for all who take the time to read and reflect. And I have a favor to ask. If you have not already, would you consider purchasing my first poetry collection, If I Were Made of Glass?

Friends, family, and my WordPress community, I am thankful for you! ❤️

Available now on Amazon and at Potter’s Grove Press.

I Saw Two Faces

Round and sweet
Neatly framed
With cropped
Gray hair
As I passed by
The corner
Breakfast table
Where she sat
With her son
Or grandson
Our eyes met
She returned
My smile

Frail and quiet
Head tufted
With remnants
Of white hair
As I passed by
The corner
Where he sat
In a cardboard box
Turned bed
Surrounded by
Carefully placed
Blankets and pillows
Our eyes did not meet

I wish they had
That we had
Shared a smile

I dared not stare

Check out my debut poetry collection. Available now on Amazon and at Potter’s Grove Press. (Above poem not included in collection.) https://pianogirlthoughts.com/2021/05/20/book-release-2/

Finding My Way

The feeling of being
Lost-alone-not sure
Which way to go
Is most unpleasant
I remember being
Separated from
My mom once in
The grocery store
A few minutes
Felt like a
Frightening
Eternity-
Other times
I absolutely
Was not lost
Knew right where
I was headed
And yet, that same
Feeling from
The grocery store
Seemed to creep in
Completely
Engulfing me
Perhaps it was that
Still, small voice saying-
It’s ok to change course
Go an unfamiliar way
Yes, it might be a
Little scary at first
But possibilities
In newness
Are endless

This coming June will mark three years since my first blog post. The idea of putting my thoughts out there for anyone to see was a little frightening. I’m glad that fear didn’t stop me.

I continue to be amazed at the connections created with people from all parts of the world. And even though different from close friends and family, they brighten my world just the same.

June also brings the release of my first poetry collection. I am still pinching myself. Thanks to River Dixon of https://thestoriesinbetween.com/ and Potter’s Grove Press, it really is happening! Not available for order yet, but for info about the book, check out the following link.

https://pottersgrovepress.com/product/if-i-were-made-of-glass/

Things I’ve Missed

How many things
Have I missed
On daily walks
Thru the house
Across parking lots
Up and down
School hallways
I’m certain there
Are others walking
The very same paths
Sometimes I see them-
Really see them
Past the superficial
How are you? I’m fine
But other days
The path becomes
So familiar
I simply stroll
Looking down
Focused only on
The thoughts inside
My own head-
Oh, to not miss again
The things I’ve missed before

An Unfamiliar Smile

The strangest thing happened on my way home from school yesterday. I had not driven far and was stopped at a red light. The soundtrack to “Hamilton” was blaring on my radio, and the sun was shining!

A quick glance to my right, and I noticed someone waving. The car window was rolled down, the driver smiling. His eyes looked familiar, but it took a few seconds to recognize him.

This was someone I see at work every day. But he is new to our school this year, and that meant I had never actually seen his entire face. Or, if I had, it was only for a few brief seconds.

Wow! I know we are all feeling the changes in how we connect during this time of a global pandemic. We have to work even harder at getting to know new people. Wearing masks, though necessary, makes it more difficult to speak, hear, and recognize others. And not being able to just run up and hug everyone I see…well, that is another thing altogether.

This experience was a real punch. Here I sat, realizing that this was the first time I had seen this guy’s entire face! We have been in school for over two months!

I waved and then rolled down my car window. We were both smiling. I said, “Man, it is good to actually see your smile!” He laughed and said something about wearing masks all the time. I nodded. We both drove our separate ways.

Did I mention we were both smiling?

It was like finding two puzzle pieces that fit together. That unfamiliar smile perfectly matched those familiar eyes.