Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spent Yet Satisfied

An enormously busy last few days is drawing to a satisfying close.

My son's KMEA State Choir performance was Saturday, the culmination of two full day rehearsals Thursday and Friday followed by a very early Saturday rehearsal and afternoon performance. I still have goosebumps and tears when thinking about it.

He has been blessed to have participated in many incredible choral performances these last few years, all of which offered a CD recording of the performances. I've never been that interested in purchasing any of the audio recordings.

Until now.

Dr. Craig Jessop (formally with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) led these hundreds of students from across the State of Kansas in one of the most incredible music performances I've had the pleasure to experience. My mom and I sat in awe from the first blaring notes of "Fanfare for a Festival" (one my son knows by heart) to the haunting strains of "Lux Aurumque" (fabulous soprano solo), the foot stomping (literally) rhythms of "Wade in de Water" ending with one of my all-time favorites of sacred music "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing". Every single song was wonderful, but these four stood out to me.

Each note and word held such power no matter how loud or soft. At times it was difficult to realize that these were high school kids and not professional musicians.

And my dear son was among them.

There were several songs where I could pick out his voice from among the throng, and only one song where he needed to utilize his sheet music (he's a quick study). Even though he was absolutely spent, he had such a joy in his demeanor after it was all over. How could one not in the midst of such circumstances?

I think it even spilled over into my own choir performance this morning - felt the grandeur and awe in every note of music played and sang. Many commented after service how incredible the music was, my Sunday School teacher even saying that if you weren't moved by this morning's worship services to just drive yourself to the funeral home because you must be dead.

I laughed.

But my son also inspired me by his incredible performance yesterday. So even though I was already tired from a very busy last few days, I gave all I had this morning. Now I'm spent too.

Yet thoroughly satisfied.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Riding the Whirlwind

The last few days have been a whirlwind.

Last November I wrote about my son making District Choir and being an alternate for State Choir, both of which are incredible honors and opportunities. District Choir was in early December before the season swept us away, while State Choir was scheduled for February. So February is almost gone and with it State Choir possibilities.

Or so we thought.

Wednesday night I arrived home from my own choir rehearsal to find a message from my son's high school choir director. A quick return phone call confirmed that a last minute cancellation had come in from (it just so happens) a first tenor. Come to find out, my son wasn't just a high alternate on the list but the first alternate on the list for a first tenor position. We started scrambling and were up until nearly midnight trying to get everything together.

Yesterday morning rehearsals began (thank God nearby) and went until late. This morning he left before 7:30 to get to the rehearsal venue and will be rehearsing throughout the day until 9:30 tonight. Then Saturday morning we go early again before their one o'clock performance that afternoon.

I'm about to burst at the seams for this kid. What an honor it is (and it doesn't hurt that this pretty much guarantees him an in-state scholarship). I've been telling practically anything that walks and breathes the last couple of days.

I also find it interesting that it just so happens the one student who has to cancel, also happens to be a first tenor, and that my son just happens to be the first alternate and that we are close enough that the last minute machinations don't really mess up our schedule. Do you believe in coincidence?

Me neither.

I've always told my son that when opportunities come we need to be ready to drop the things we're holding so we can grasp what God is handing out in that moment. Otherwise all too soon it will pass and we'll be left wondering, "what if?"

So give me the whirlwind. All we've gotta do when it passes by is grab and hold on tight.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One Down - 200 More To Go

Well I have completed one major step in pursuit of my new career path and aspirations.

I passed my written State Board exam this morning!

It's hard to believe that eight months ago I started cosmetology school and now have only one more month to go. Then I'll get scheduled for my practical examination in Topeka.

For now this is a huge hurdle to have surmounted. I feel such relief tonight!

To graduate from school I'll need 1,500 hours, however a student may apply to the State Board to take their written exam at 1,000 hours (with the school's permission, of course). After several weeks of waiting, last week I finally received acknowledgment that they were approving me to proceed.

Having passed with a 91% means that the moment I certify completion of 1,500 hours I can accept employment and start working in a salon prior to my practical exam. Sometimes the wait to get into an available testing date for the practical can take a month or two. This way I won't be hampered by more time without an income stream into my happy little home.

But it does add a little more pressure for that crazy practical because if for some strange reason I DON'T pass my practical I then lose my temporary license immediately, must cease employment, and spend more time and money to retake the exam.

It can be a little hairy I've heard.

That's okay. For now I'm celebrating this little moment in time. Then in a month's time I'll celebrate the big completion.

Just under 200 hours more to go - woo-hoo!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blessings In Disguise

It's been a busy writer's day.

President's Day weekend has been our little writer's retreat weekend for the last four years now. The same thing, the same weekend - no questions asked.

Well this year the park office staff screwed us up big-time by making our reservations for last weekend instead of this weekend.

So we cancelled said reservations and decided perhaps it was time to consider other options.

Since it was too late this year, the GK Brainstormers decided to get together today over here at my humble abode to cuss and discuss reading, writing, and stringing up the stupid people who can't pull their heads out long enough to figure out which weekend is President's Day weekend when they have a calendar sitting right there in front of them.

We weren't bitter about it at all - can you tell?

Milford Lake twill be our chosen venue for 2012, and we'll be trying something brand new and see if we don't kill each other in the process. Typically at Osage Hills we've each had our own cabin in which to write during the day and gather at the big cabin that evening for our main meal and meeting time. At Milford Lake, we've decided to get the big two-story, five bedroom, two living room cabin with a full kitchen. Divided between the group, it works out to be about $41 apiece per night, much better than the $85 per cabin per night rates we have been paying.

Plus there's an added bonus.

Gordon, our dearly departed (only from the group, not the earth), leader who, once he moved, was unable to make such a long drive south. However, our new retreat location will be less than half the distance and will allow him to rejoin us for our annual retreats. I think we were all excited for that.

So all in all, the reservations screw-up could end up being a blessing in disguise. Can we all say an "AMEN" to that?

Then maybe next year I'll actually have some time to write again. That is if I can find a quiet corner to myself.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Controlling the Weather

February has come in like a lion!

A veritable white lion, but a lion nonetheless.

Since the beginning of February we have been hit by snow, snow, and more snow. This week my son used up his last snow day for school.

They have five total each school year.

So since I'm also attending school, my hours have been hit by our school being closed several days this month as well. Only problem is that keeps pushing my graduation date further and further back. Before all of the snow hit, I was on track to graduate the 23rd of March.

Now I'm looking at the 28th of March.

I guess I should be glad that it is still going to be March but I'd hoped to graduate nearly a month early because of my good attendance. My attendance percentage as a whole is still very high and unaffected by the snow closures, but each day we're closed I'm thrown further behind in graduating.

I should be thankful though. My technical graduation was to be April 17th, so I'm still well ahead of that date. Suppose my frustration has more to do with the fact that I'm so READY to get out of school and back into life again.

But it is quite interesting - even though I'm in school, it seems I'm still in the midst of life. There's so many lives that I've had the honor of touching in these months I've attended, that perhaps God needs me to linger just a bit longer in order to be of the greatest import to someone else.

Yes - I'll hold onto that mindset to get me through these next few weeks.

Unless I figure out a way to control the weather.