Category: Music to Soothe the Savage Beast

Internal Correspondence

There's a song on country radio right now by Brad Paisley, called Letter to Me. The premise of the song is what the singer would say if he were able to send a letter back in time to his teenage self. I really do love the song, for two lines in particular.

Oh, you've got so much goin' for you, goin' right,
but I know, at seventeen, it's hard to see past Friday night.

Because I can remember those terrible times when the angst would rear up and swallow me whole, much to the dismay of everyone who had to deal with my drama.


Have no fear, these are nowhere near the best years of your life.

Thank heavens for that!

And I got to thinking, how handy would that be, to have access to a time-spanning postal service? I'd be out of luck if it were a one-shot deal, though, because I've got a lot to tell myself.

After the FFA Banquet my Sophomore year: No, really, your friends are right. He's no good for you. But they're also wrong about who they think is good for you, so take their advice with a grain of salt. Especially when they're doing the whole "we like you--we hate you--oh wait, we like you again, for now" bit over the next year or so. That's mostly teenage girl, with a whole load of insecurity thrown in.

After a particularly tearful and dramatic fight with my dad, over a shirt I wanted to buy: He's right, you know. (And he usually is...) what you wear does send a message to others, try and make it a positive one. Oh, and throwing your hairbrush at the wall after you've stomped off to your room is just a little over the top dramatic.

Before leaving for college:
Study. You're going to have to. So far, you've loafed your way through school with little to no effort on your part, and that's got to stop. You've got to hold yourself accountable, and go to bed, and go to those hideously boring 8 am classes, and put effort into everything, not just your music.

Of course, if I'm going to be realistic about this, I would have to say that I'd actually be a little hesitant to even warn myself of any of the mistakes I ended up making, because every little thing leads to everything else, and I'd hate to screw up what I've got going on now!

In addition, knowing me, I probably wouldn't have listened to some old bat sending snail mail via a temporal wormhole anyway!

So what I want to know is, if you could write a letter to yourself, in any time in the past, what would you write?

A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight...

A lit tree glows brightly in the corner, topped with a sparkling angel, and bedecked with ornaments of all sorts, from delicate painted porcelain balls to snowflakes and Christmas trees made by the hands of small children.

A tea kettle whistles merrily in a warm, sunny kitchen, as a mother keeps watch out the back window, waiting for snow-covered children to troop in for a cup of hot chocolate.

Neighbors call out hearty greetings to one another over the handles of snow shovels, the bright sunshine sparkling on the new fallen snow.

Is it the cover of the Saturday Evening Post?

No, it's my weekend, believe it or not! Saturday honestly couldn't have gotten much more Rockwellian, unless perhaps a horse-drawn sleigh had skimmed by as I scooped the front steps. We finally, finally got the Christmas tree up this weekend. After I shooed the children away long enough for me to secure the most fragile ornaments to the branches, I turned them loose with a pile of kid friendly ornaments, which they proceeded to fall upon like locusts. All in all, a pretty effective way to decorate the tree, if you don't mind all of your ornaments below eye level, and clumped six to a branch in places. Still, with Bing Crosby playing on the stereo as we festooned our evergreen, it was the kind of thing that makes your heart grow three sizes right there on the spot.

After the tree was up, the temperature finally warmed enough for the snow to be fun to play in, so I bundled the children up and sent them to the back yard, where they promptly proceeded to make sure that not one square inch of the new snow from the night before remained un-tromped-upon. I remember doing the same thing as a child, although, living in the country, I had a considerably larger "yard" to tromp. When they came in, cheeks and little noses red from the cold, I was waiting, just like my mother before me, with cups of hot chocolate........and a broom to whisk all the snow off their winter wraps before they were allowed in the house.

It really was a great weekend, and certainly a change of pace from the week before, preparing for the Cantata. Which, by the way, was spectacular! I am so, so proud of my choir, and it really took every last little shred of my willpower not to order large, special performance pieces of music for every single occasion on the church calendar. It inspires me so much to work with these folks. So many people came up to me that evening and said what a good job I did. I didn't do that much. The biggest thing I did was believe in them. They did the hard stuff.

This next week promises to be pretty hairy, as we move into full, red alert holiday mode, so I was glad to have a nice, heart-warming little episode in there somewhere.


So, according to the 24/7 Christmas radio station, and the music playing in pretty much any store I poke my nose into, it's the most wonderful time of the year.

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Take my hand

Several weeks ago, I read an article about a triple amputee, a man who literally only had one leg on which to stand. His disability notwithstanding, he was able for several years to operate a motor vehicle (although not while under the influence, and often with a suspended license) and hold down a job (when he wasn't in prison for selling drugs). The thing that caught my eye the most, though, was the paragraph that detailed where he was once arrested for assault of an officer, for an incident in which he kicked said officer. You always hear the phrase, but rarely get a report of one in action, a "one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest."

By the time I was through with work today (or, perhaps, by the time work was through with me), I knew exactly how that man felt. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, even on days like today where we are buuuuuuussssyyyyyyyyy.. Still, by the time I got home, it had been the kind of day that encourages a girl to go home and just pour chocolate syrup right down her throat. Not that I've ever done that. *ahem*

And so, I was feeling terribly sorry for myself about a hard day at work, the fact that tonight was the first choir practice of the season, and that, as director, I was far less prepared than I would like to be. I felt like I shouldn't have to go. I didn't want to go. I wanted to huddle at home, buried in my book, feeling put upon.

I went anyway, though, and I'm so glad I did. I cannot even begin to describe the amazing grace that I felt tonight doing my "duty." The right anthems came to my fingertips, and the six of us that were there may have been small, but we were mighty indeed. By the end of the evening, I no longer felt bowed down by the day I had today, and the one I anticipate tomorrow.

As I led Cub out of the nursery room into the darkened hall this evening, she began to whimper about how she could not see. I gave her my hand, and told her I would lead her safely through.

I feel blessed this evening, for my own hand to hold when the way seems dark and oppressive.

Dancing the night away

Okay, so like I mentioned earlier, this weekend saw us going to see KLB. Honestly, I don't even feel like I have the words to describe how good they are. Every time they are in the area, we make a point of going to see them. Every time, I come away completely wowed by the skill and complexity of their music.

This particular show was the best I've ever heard. After some personnel changes this last year, they've really gelled, and the result is terrific. I love dancing to their music. The band's whole theme is "Celebrate Life," and that's what I want to do when I hear their music. I try not to kid myself. I'm a white girl from the back of beyond, and I'm sure that my dancing is nowhere near as cool as it feels to me. In fact, I probably look pretty spastic. But really? I don't care. They play, I have to move. I literally can't sit still.

There are a million mini-stories from that night, but unfortunately, most of them aren't mine to tell. I am pretty happy about one thing. We got their new CD. (Autographed, even!) And it will be on my iPod!

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