Part of the Harmony

I have not spent enough time at my piano in recent weeks. So this week, I decided to remedy that. With it being Christmas time, what to play was an easy choice.

As I played through several old Christmas hymns, the word balance kept coming to mind. No matter the context, there are always notes, voices, instruments, rhythms that need to be heard above the rest. And quite often, that spotlight is shared, giving others a chance to be heard.

Even though one voice might not be the momentary focus, it remains essential to the music. Where would that melody be without harmony? Or that jazz riff without the brushes of the drum floating behind it?

When I sat down to play this morning, I began by playing the hymns as written. Though tempting, I did not add any embellishments. My goal was to play so that the melody rang out clearly, while the harmony provided support.

After reading the music as written, I went back and added new rhythms, patterns, harmonies while keeping the melody clear. Both versions required the same thing-balance.

I have said this before, but the only time my brain is calm is while I am playing the piano. Somehow, it provides an inner balance. There is that word again. Outside voices are quieted. Worries of the day temporarily disappear.

Music reminds me that I do not need to raise my voice above the crowds. Although I may have something important to say, unless it is balanced with love for those in hearing range, I should probably remain part of the harmony.

Harmony-that is my prayer for this Christmas. For there to be less shouting and more listening. That we may experience joy amid our sadness. And hope that outweighs our fears. Merry Christmas!

Please enjoy a few Christmas carols! ❤ Kelley Morris, piano

What Child is This?
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Dat
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Hark the Herald Angels Sing

A New Word

There is little more precious than experiencing joy through the eyes of a child. It adds more than happiness, another layer of contentment.

However, this week, I experienced the phenomenon on a different level. And this level requires a new word.

Thinking back to when my kids were young, several events come to mind. Times I was able to see and feel their joy. Viewing star clusters and planets through Uncle Larry’s high-powered telescope. Fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. Their first time to experience snow.

I can picture them all bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves. Red glowing on their little faces. Also, of course, the plastic grocery bags covering their feet. The kids still chuckle at that one. I like to think of it as being resourceful. We did not get snow often enough for snow boots. 😉

Just this week, we had our first significant snowfall in seven years. Many little kids were building snowmen and sledding down neighborhood hills for the very first time! However, it was the reaction of a young adult, two actually, that caught my attention.

My daughter’s boyfriend, Mike, happened to be visiting when the snow arrived. Rachel has experienced snow. Mike had only experienced it one time when he was two years old and had very little memory. This was like his first snowfall. At least, that is what his reaction said.

Seeing that white powder outside turned him into a little kid once again. Excited, bundled up, and ready to explore. Such happiness and joy! Not to mention wet clothes from immediately falling into the snow to make a snow angel.

Yet, this is not the joy requiring a new word. No, this has more to do with being a parent, witnessing your own children’s reactions to others. I felt it as I read Rachel’s tweet later that same day.

“In the midst of an incredibly trying year, watching Mike experience snow for the first time in his life brought me so much joy today.” ❤

Rachel is a high school special education teacher in her second year. She is beginning her long-planned-for career during a global pandemic. “Incredibly trying” is putting it mildly, but she is doing amazing things despite the situation.

Something about her reaction struck my core as a parent. Hearing her describe her own joy over watching Mike play in the snow was powerful. Knowing that she recognized how magical such a simple thing can be…made me feel?

Well, here we are again. I still need a new word. For this is more profound than joy and greater than pride. I will continue searching while this feeling plants itself deep in my heart.

Woven

Peace and love
Words that fit
Together seamlessly
But sorrow and happiness
Don’t belong in
The same line
Each word needs
Its own place
Fills its own space
Well, that’s how
It would be
In a perfect world
But the truth is
This world
Is not perfect
Honest reflection asks
If perfection should
Be my goal, anyway?
Without deep sorrow
Can there be
True happiness?
No simple answer
Only a mystery
One I must accept
Allowing its truth to
Sink way down deep
Into my soul
Where sorrow
And happiness
Are woven together
An unbreakable seam
Holding the fabric of
My heart in place


When Words Won’t Come

Some days an attempt to write falls flat and the words just won’t come. Today started that way. Frustrated, I decided to play the piano instead.

Sitting down at the piano, I hoped a favorite hymn would put me in the right frame of mind to write. But my playing also fell flat. There were too many mistakes. The melody sounded choppy. Not very musical.

Though tempted to give up, I played the hymn one more time. When I began to play the second time, the words were suddenly present (in my head) along with the melody.

What a difference! Musically imperfect, but a clear message. And this time, playing brought a true sense of joy.

Hmmm…maybe when words won’t come, I need to hear words that are not my own.

So, today I say, “Happy Easter” with the help of English poet and clergyman, John Newton. My prayer is that Newton’s words and a familiar melody will bring you joy and hope on this Easter Sunday.

🎶Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
We have already come
Was grace that brought us safe thus far
And grace will lead us home
🎶

Special Guest

I am excited to have a guest writer on my blog today, my mom. ❤

When I was a little girl, my mom loved to write poetry. Sometimes for special occasions, usually written for or about an individual. She would share them with family and friends. Her words are displayed in frames in many of her siblings’ homes. But more importantly, her words have been stored in hearts.

She has not actively written in many years, but she has consistently encouraged my writing. Our current world circumstances influenced her to write again. She was a little nervous about sharing, so now I get to encourage her. 🙂

I hope her thoughts bring you peace.🌺

Break of Day

Birds singing
Break of day
Tune’s different
In harmony
This day

Flower Blankets
Covering ground
Soft colors
Fragile-Beautiful
This day

Gentle breeze
Dancing leaves
New life memories
New beginnings
This day

Joyful reminders
Hope and love
Steadfastness
Break of day
This day

Great Shepherd’s hand
Gently leads
On mountains
Through valleys
This day

Stand still
Know peace
Given by God
Break of day
This day

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Comfort and Joy

Today is Christmas Eve, 2019. That does not sound possible. As a child growing up in the 1970s, the year 2020 was hard to fathom. And yet, here we are.

This time of the year causes me to reflect. I remember Christmas Eve parties at my Grandma and Grandpa Mahar’s house. Surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sharing our favorite snacks and sweet treats. Drinking lime sherbet and ginger ale punch. Those were beautifully simple times.

Added to those memories are the ones of my own children growing up. Christmas programs, music, opening presents, traveling to visit grandparents. Now they are grown. I wonder what parts they will remember in twenty years.

This year, we are hosting Gart’s side of the family on Christmas Day. They will gather in our home tomorrow. We have some new faces in our family. More people to love, to help heal the holes left by those we miss.

Although my Christmas reflections are predominantly happy, I recognize that is not the case for everyone. Many have faced unspeakable tragedies. Ones that do not simply vanish with time.

I want those friends to know it is ok to be sad, even amid celebrations. I should not expect them to just put on a happy face. And I hope they are not afraid to share their grief.

A friend recently shared the following verse with me.

“You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not recorded in Your book?” Psalm 56:8

The image of God collecting my tears in a bottle was powerful and comforting. On this Christmas Eve, I pray that thought brings you comfort and joy.

I also want to share some of my favorite carols. These are my own simple arrangements. Hope you enjoy! Merry Christmas! 🙂

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