O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go.
Greetings and Christmas blessings to my friends, family, and whoever else reads this letter!
I never really do an end-of-year letter, but I do like getting them in the mail and catching up on what is going on in people’s lives. This has been an interesting, but fun year of growth for me. Every year should be a year of growth, but I feel like God has been nudging me a little more this year.
This past January saw my sister, brother-in-law, and niece find their own home – what a blessing! While it was wonderful to be together and see my niece grow up from one to three years old, it is also nice that we all have more space to live and function and develop or own creative endeavors.
In January I also performed my second solo concert, this time of winter and Christmas themed music. A week before the concert my grandma passed away. That feisty woman sure lived a long life! Her death was slow, but it was a blessing that family could be with her every step of the way to Jesus. I am sure she is dancing and singing with him. ;) She also had W. by her side, who was such a blessing to her the last few years. I am actually writing this as my 4-year-old niece is helping grandma make a cake for “great grandpa’s” birthday. His birthday is today and we will be celebrating with him this evening.
My concert went well, even in the midst of trying to stay healthy, and was very personal for me at times. I performed some old Christmas traditional pieces you don’t always hear on the radio. I love music that comes with a rich history of tradition behind it. You can watch the concert on my YouTube channel and purchase a selection of songs from the concert on cdbaby.com.
As those closest to me know, I have always been into health and staying in shape. Now in my 30s, my body needed more of a challenge and I made some changes. I discovered the Element 22 family in Midland with Barre, Pilates, and Yoga. My 1-year anniversary was the beginning of this month. Yes, I started my New Year’s resolution BEFORE January last year. I recommend it. From the first class, I knew this was the place to be! No judgment, only encouragement, and it is a family that is always open to new siblings.
I love discovering music from around the world, which I continue to do, but this past year I also made a decision to get out more and experience the local music scene. I started with attending The Patchwork Art and Music Festival and made sure I went to every concert that week – which for a person obsessed with music, is not that hard to do. Besides my concert, I acted in three Radio Dramas, sang at a fundraiser for a local theatre group, and performed a few songs for an open mic night with a friend.
We all do it. We talk about traveling and going places while we are in college with our best friends. But, my best friend and I actually made that dreamy conversation a reality and spent two weeks in England this past September. The first week we stayed with good friends A. and O. and made day trips to Bath, Oxford, and Cambridge, and then spent the second week in London. It was great to have a change in pace. I needed to slow down to just take in new things, blessed by good conversation with friends, and just…BE. It was also a time to reflect on what is next for me.
The past five years God has not opened any doors for me to move on somewhere else professionally in art administration (I am still having fun where I am too!), but he has continued to open many creative doors. He has also brought many new friends and relationships into my life, old and new, even up to this past month. God has used these rekindled and new relationships to bless me, open my eyes, stretch me, and always help me see other perspectives and sometimes affirm my own beliefs. I am being reminded again that prayer is powerful, so be careful what you pray for. Sometimes the little things he teaches us are what are most profound in our growth as humans.
I am so thankful for my friend T. who nudged me to participate in a Faith Walking Retreat in November. As a follower of Christ, I are constantly being transformed into his likeness, but that transformation is a life long journey. We do get stuck because of our fallen human nature. I learned more about my human self and where, how, and why I was stuck. I am thankful, humbled, and in awe, that no matter what age, Christ can totally transform us. And it is amazing to see that transformation come to life through our character, actions, and daily life. It is NOT easy, but so worth it. We are unconditionally loved by God and he desires for us to be fully human in Him, and remove our false self. I pray this for all my brothers and sisters in Christ.
"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
I have a few plans for next year, but am wide open. I am currently in rehearsal for a production of Oedipus the king, which has been life changing and so wonderful to work on. The performances are in February 2018. You don't want to miss it!
I am planning another concert, and re-evaluating who I am as an artist and developing another concert. There is always room for growth and change in every aspect of our lives. Really, that IS living. I have many passions and ideas of what I could do next, and I know next year that will become more clear. So stay tuned!
As we take the time this season to reflect on Christ’s birth, may you be reminded that in Christ you have the ultimate riches and love. His word “is like a deep, deep mine; and jewels rich and rare are hidden in its mighty depths for every searcher there.” (Edwin Hodder, hymn Thy Word Is Like a Garden, Lord, 1855)
Blessings to you and your loved ones,
PS: I didn't mention my BTS concert and BTS in general because well, I've already posted and talked about them to no end. You can look up that adventure in a previous post. ;)
O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death's abode.