Thankful for Tea and More Tea and More Tea!

The college audition process is now complete. Thanks be to God! I was impressed with how this particular school conducted the process. The hospitality was great, and they even provided lunch and free tickets to the department’s production of Chess tonight. The faculty spent a lot of time talking and answering questions. They had representatives from all the applicable areas a prospective student and her family could desire information — housing/student life, financial aid, and admissions.

Of course, my dear perfectionist daughter is concerned about how she may have “bombed” her audition. We’ll see. She is way too hard on herself. I personally have a good feeling about this program and its potential “fit” for her growth and development as an artist AND scholar. We’ll fine out soon enough, I suppose.

40/40/40 Update

Honoring Relationships

Today I want to give a big shout out to my two step-children. Although I’ve only been a part of their family for nine months, they have welcomed me, made me feel at home, and supported their dad’s marriage and new spouse. Thanks, K & K! You’re awesome, and  I am proud to be a part of your lives.

Giving Possessions

More clothes in the bag today! It is amazing how I am finding it easier to part with items of clothing that I do not really need nor wear often.


I am thankful to spend time with my youngest daughter today. We spent a delightful afternoon in a tea room with Russian tea cakes and some amazing pots of tea. The ambiance was amazing, the Wi-Fi was free, and the music delightful. It was a good time of destressing after the audition. Now we’re off to supper and the musical followed by the long drive home.

What is your favorite tea or hot beverage? For what are you grateful this day?

Photo by Brandon Geisbrecht used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

Joyful Noise–A Feel Good Film with Good Music

It isn’t going to be up for a passel of Oscars, nor will it be one of those films you’re likely to remember for the rest of your life, but Joyful Noise is still worth a couple hours of your time and the price of admission. It might even lift your spirits and give you something to sing about.

This feel-good film is anchored by the considerable chemistry between Dolly Parton (G G Sparrow) and Queen Latifah (Vi Rose Hill). Flamboyant G G and traditional, hard-working Vi Rose trade some lame (but funny) lines and even engage in a food fight as they try to bring the Divinity Church Choir of tiny, downtrodden Pacashau, Georgia, together to win a national competition.

Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee) as Vi Rose’s melodious daughter Olivia, and Jeremy Jordan (Newsies) as G G’s rebellious but talented grandson are the predictable forbidden lovers who bring the fresh take on music and life that will carry the choir forward.

The high note of Joyful Noise is that it doesn’t pretend to be something it is not. The  story is sugary-sweet as Southern iced tea, and the plot as predictable as Miss Dolly is country, but the music and the pairing of two strong female leads gives it some play.

There is definitely a time and a place for a “feel-good” flick, the kind that reminds us that the world can be a better, more joyful place even with its brokenness and pain. Joyful Noise does just that, and that’s o.k.

My rating: 7/10 (on the strength of the music, Queen Latifah, and Dolly Parton)

The movie is rated PG-13 and has a running time of 1 hr. 58 min. Todd Graff is the director.

Thankful for the Gift of Music

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

~ Berthold Auerbach (1812-1882)

I am thankful for the gift of music. Like Auerbach says, music has a cleansing and regenerative effect. It is a common language to which all humans can relate and understand. Leonardo DaVinci even claimed that one’s “soul is composed of harmony.”

Listening to various kinds of music has been found to help reduce stress, boost productivity, assist in studying, enhance exercise, and reduce pain. There’s no doubt that music has incredible power to heal, to bring people together, and to communicate when mere words fail.

Think of the vast variety of musical genres and instruments. Surely a person can find something that “washes away the dust of everyday life” be it jazz, classical, country, praise, rock, or other styles. I find myself drawn to many different styles of music, ranging from classical to jazz to alternative rock and folk.

Right now I’m listening to a CD by saxophonist Chris Potter entitled (appropriately enough) Gratitude. The album is a tribute great jazz saxophonists. Of the title track, Potter says, “‘Gratitude’ sums up the theme of this CD. When I wrote this, I was in a particularly ungrateful, lousy mood. Writing this tune brought me back around to a more positive state of mind.”

Yes, Chris, I can understand how it would bring you back around. Music is powerful medicine. Music is the rhythm of life. I am so thankful for music and for those who bring it to life.

What kind of music sings to your spirit and makes you soar?

Click here for a YouTube version of Chris Potter, John Scofield, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette playing “Unspoken.” Enjoy!

Photo by Tim Geers used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!




Thankful for the Gift of Music

“Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same.”   ~ John Denver ~

I am thankful for the gift of music. In fact, I couldn’t imagine a life without music. My musical tastes are eclectic; I listen to jazz, blues, alternative, classical, rock, show tunes, bluegrass, big band, and more. I can find something enjoyable about virtually every musical genre.

Music is powerful. The right song can spur a team to victory, cause a person to dissolve in tears, or evoke a vivid memory.  I’ve been humming Adele tunes off and on all night, and my husband is listening to Angels, a classic Windham Hill CD.

On winter days I often listen to Jean Sibelius’ stirring tone poem Finlandia. I’m also fond of Dvorak. Here’s a link to Humoresque No. 7 in G Flat Major you might enjoy. I was a music major as an undergraduate, and one of my favorite works played in recital was Robert Schumann’s Kinderszenen Op 15. Here’s one last classical selection I adore, Chopin’s Etude Op 10 No. 4 (played here by Valentina Lisitsa). Enjoy!

Two of the most profound musical experiences I’ve had to date happened in Chicago at the Festival of Homiletics. The first simply involved hearing so many voices singing hymns in the sanctuary of Second Presbyterian Church. The second experience was hearing Andy Tecson and the Chicago Jazz Mass Ensemble play in worship. Talk about holy ground!

I could talk about music all night, but it’s late. I think I’ll go put David “Fathead” Newman’s The Blessing on the iPod and wind down for sleep to the mellow sounds of “As Time Goes By.”

How about you? What genres and artists inspire you?

Photo by esc651 used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!