Category Archives: Motivational

my anchor holds

Anchor Hold

I used to think of an anchor as something that

weighs you down or holds you in place,

Until I learned one thing changed every thing…


You see, my very first full time job was as a singer in the Navy band.

I primarily worked, traveled, and performed with men.

For the most part, everyone acted professionally,

With one exception.

Early in my career an inappropriate incident occurred with a superior officer.

I had to file a report,

deal with the aftermath,

and we still had to work together.

Not easy.


I use the strength I gained from that experience as an anchor.

Because sailors use anchors to hold the ship in place,

but climbers use anchors to pull themselves up to a higher place.

Totally changes everything, doesn’t it?

anchor soul both hands let go

So, I’m sharing music this week based on a hymn that uses anchors.

And although I will forever be a sailor,  I am also a climber!

anchor holds stormy gale

What is your anchor when things get rough?  Share this and let us know!

 

 

 

Because of who you are

It’s been almost three months since I stepped down as music director at our church and I can’t believe it’s gone by so fast.

Truthfully, I was afraid I would lose my friends when I lost that title.

Like I only had friends as “April the music director” and not as “April the person”. 

It’s embarrassing to admit now that I was that insecure.

Especially since every single person has been supportive, loving, and understanding. 

What was I thinking?

That has been the greatest realization I’ve had in this whole process….that

my worth and value does not lie in

what I do

but in

who I am  

And who I am is a someone who enjoys building spiritual connection through song.

So…drumroll please….

I hosted my first ever online event, “Hymn Sing Surprise” on Facebook!

Welcome to Hymn Sing Surprise! Download your free music essentials guide here: www.AprilSingsalot.com/hymnsingsurprise

Posted by AprilSingsalot on Monday, July 31, 2017

 

You are enough.

Just you.

Not because of what you do for people. But because of who you are.

Know someone else who needs this reminder too?

Share this post on Facebook! 

 

bootcamp hard

Bootcamp wasn’t this hard…

Would it make sense if I told you I’ve been in the middle of a soul growth spurt?

That’s the only way I can describe what this feels like…the constant anticipation, excitement and disappointment that has been the “Adventure In Fertility.”

In other words, an exercise that is building my patience muscle. <sigh>

At least with bootcamp there was a definite end in sight.

Because I believe in the power of music to help us heal, I am creating a collection of songs that acknowledges this unique pain. Instead of ignoring it (which hasn’t helped) I’m going to give it a voice. And as it helps me through, maybe it can help you too.

This is a taste of what I hope to create….music that acknowledges the darkness and leads to light.

You need encouragement to match the intensity of the challenge you’re facing. Rob Bell

Through many dangers toils and snares I have already come

Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far And grace will lead me home

priest walks into a harpist

A Priest walks into a Harpist…

Sounds like the start of an awesome joke, right?

Even better, it’s a true story…


I was alone, driving a borrowed van, headed to retrieve my harp from school where everyone was already gone for spring break.

The place would be deserted.

This meant for the first time ever I would be faced with loading this massive harp all by myself.

Time to pray! ​ “Ok God, let’s review:

~ I’ve never loaded the harp alone.

~ It weighs 96 pounds.

~ It is the most expensive thing I own.

The way I see it, we’ve got two options:

1. Help me do it on my own or

2. Provide someone who will help me load it…

(preferably a responsible adult).”

I got to the school, covered the harp, strapped it into its custom dolly, and started walking through the building, all without seeing another soul.

Just as I was nearing the door, a man came walking through the building and asked if he could hold the door for me. I accepted and then asked if he could walk me out to the van and help load it in. He graciously agreed and we accomplished the task without incident.

As I was thanking him, I realized he was one of the priests on campus! I smile now just thinking about how God answered my prayer for a responsible adult with a priest! 

So glad I was specific, and so glad that God cares about EVERYTHING in our lives!

I created this meditation “My Hope is Built” with voice and harp is a great musical reminder of this!

puzzle pondering blog post

Puzzle Pondering

When I was younger we had a 25 piece puzzle of Bambi (one of my favorite movies at the time).

I couldn’t get the pieces to fit together the way I was pretty sure they were supposed to…actually, the way I was VERY sure they were supposed to!!

So I took some scissors to the puzzle pieces and I cut them to fit.

Well, what do you know, they actually weren’t supposed to fit together that way and I totally ruined the puzzle.

Puzzle pieces tulip

I had that exact same impulse when I was putting together my tulip puzzle over the weekend.

The puzzle was from dollar tree and when I finished the border I had a whole bunch of edge pieces leftover.

I was so sure the dollar tree people screwed up!

Time to break out the scissors and make it fit!

Thankfully my husband walked in before the massacre began and when I showed him  he helped me to realize that even though it looked like I had pieces left over, In fact they were pieces that went on the inside of the puzzle but they just looked like edge pieces.

Yikes! I realized that is definitely one of my impulses for life as well. When I don’t really think things are fitting together like they’re supposed to, I take my scissors to it and make it work.

“I’m going to pound on the pieces until they jam together.”

In reality when you find pieces that really do go together they fit together beautifully, easily, and it all just flows.

The resulting picture is much prettier.

So…the puzzle that did turn out beautifully and all 101 pieces I actually did belong in that puzzle. (Thank you dollar tree you didn’t screw up after all.)

puzzle picture

Here are my lessons learned:

puzzle ponderingThe pieces (and you and I) are exactly the right shape.

We may be in a  place where it doesn’t seem like things are going to fit together, but we are exactly the right shape and have exactly the right skills.

 

puzzle ponderingWe have exactly the number we need.

We may feel “not enough” for whatever situation we’re in…but we have exactly what we need!

 

 

puzzle pondering

We fit easily where we belong.

We can stop making ourselves fit where our pieces are not meant to be.

 

So if you feel like maybe you’re not the right size and maybe you don’t have exactly what you need to succeed I would encourage you to go buy a puzzle at dollar tree (or wherever fine puzzles are sold) and see what discoveries you have while you are putting it together.

Lessons from Puzzle Pieces

Do you ever get frustrated by pieces of a puzzle (or your life) that don't fit together? Want to take drastic measures to make it work out the way it "should"? Here are some lessons learned from a dollar tree puzzle…1. I am exactly the right shape (even though it doesn't always feel that way)2. I have the perfect amount of pieces (even when it looks like I have too many or not enough)3. I fit easily where I belong (so cutting and pounding to make myself fit any other place is pointless)http://aprilsingsalot.com/puzzle_pondering/

Posted by AprilSingsalot on Monday, February 27, 2017

Want more? Sign up for a free five day meditation experience! 

music and meditation

Music and Meditation

My New Year’s resolution was to have a daily spiritual practice.

I’ve done ok so far, but making it more than 5 days in a row is a struggle.

How are you doing with yours?

For me, something’s gotta change.

I need some inspiration, some reason to continue when I’d rather sleep in.

Feedback from these posts are very helpful to me, so I began reading through them for inspiration.

What came up over and over was something like this:

“I really enjoy these weekly devotionals.”

What?!? Don’t tell anyone, but

I had no idea I was writing devotionals.

Looking back over them, I see now that is what they became.

So in an effort to embrace what works, here’s a thought:

I’m offering a daily music and meditation experience during February. 

Sound like something you’d be interested in?

Each morning an email will arrive with up to 5 minutes of instrumental music and meditation prompts for you to use as a devotional.

Next week I’ll put out a sample, but if you want to get in early I’ve created a special gift for the first 15 people to sign up!

Check out more details here! 

music and meditation

permission granted begin

Permission Granted

It all started Friday night when I found out that a shipmate passed away.

Unexpected. Unbelievable. Unexplainable.

We were stationed in Navy Band New Orleans together. He was a good friend.

How could this happen?

It’s given me a greater sense of urgency to stop waiting around.

I’ve thought for so long that there was some magical degree,

or amount of money,

or number of followers,

that would make me feel that it was finally ok to follow my passion.

Step out and begin.

I’ve been waiting around for validation that is NEVER coming.

Because there is no committee in the sky passing out permission slips.

You were born with a permission slip to be you.

So was I.

Somehow or another I lost mine along the way.

I found it this morning.

I hope this song inspires you to grab your permission slip as well.

permission granted begin

Begin

I wonder when the show will start

And will it take you far?

When the curtain rises and the show begins

Will you step up and be the star?

Ooo Ooo This is where life begins

Ooo Ooo Your adventure awaits within

This is the start, You can go far

Believe it and dare to jump in

Ooo Ooo This is where life begins

I wonder how long the show will last

And who else is in the cast?

When the curtain closes and the show is over

It will all have happened so fast!

Ooo Ooo This is where life begins

Ooo Ooo Your adventure awaits within

This is the start, You can go far

Believe it and dare to jump in

Ooo Ooo This is where life begins

So put your show on the road

Get a ticket, let’s go!

Push the pedal to the metal

Pull the pin on your potential

You’ve got the gift

Untie the bow

Ooo Ooo Now your life begins

Ooo Ooo You’ve found the adventure within

You’re at the start, You will go far

Believe it you’ve dared and jumped in

Ooo Ooo Congratulations, Begin.

Silly Side Note: There is also no magical meal that has permission to be eaten on fine china. My breakfast this morning? Eggo waffles on Christmas dishes and King Cake coffee in a tea cup. Let the fun begin!

It's not a race. Keep a steady tempo, in life AND in music.

Race Tempo

When I’m teaching a student to play or sing a new piece of music they tend to slow down in the hard parts and then race through the easier parts.

It’s a natural tendency we all have and something we have to fight against in music in order to keep a steady tempo.

And so I remind my students…It’s not a race.

Slow down and learn the notes.

It will all come together eventually and become a beautiful song.

And then I realize how true that is in life.

We’ve all heard slow and steady wins the race haven’t we?

Yet it’s so easy to get caught up in the fast and furious pace all around us.

I know I’m often tempted to skip ahead to something that looks more fun or easier than where I am now.

So this is a reminder to myself…It’s not a race.

Enjoy the journey…Eventually it will turn into be a beautiful song.

Fear not I am with thee, peace be still. In all of life's ebb and flow." Not just the calm quite times or the crazy busy times. ALL the time.

Pieces of Peace

This week I learned (yet again) that if I wait for the world to provide me with peace, I’m never going to get it.

As I was rushing to get the rest of the decorations up around the house today I started wondering when this season was going to stop being stressful and start being fun.

Of course, I was pretty sure this wasn’t my fault. I had a pretty good list going of all the things other people should have done that would have helped give me some peace. If only my husband had said this, or there weren’t so many programs and activities to attend, or my dogs weren’t barking incessantly…. 

Please tell me I’m not the only one….?

So I set out to pick up the pieces of my sanity (littered amongst the wrapping paper, unopened mail, and Christmas lights) and find peace in the best way possible….playing music.

Lessons on the dynamics of life from a childlike perspective.

Music Dynamics or The Dynamics of Life?

Through teaching music, I learn about life.

Especially from the refreshingly honest perspective of children. I’m constantly amazed at their insights and intuition!

Yesterday as I was explaining to a student dynamics (playing loud versus soft) we had an interesting discussion. He was protesting the need to play soft because playing loud is so much easier.

He is totally right…playing soft does take practice and develops fine motor skills that you don’t have immediately. It also requires a level of concentration and discipline that only develops over time. (I suspect he also enjoys playing loud because it annoys his younger siblings…but that’s just a theory!)

It’s much easier to be loud in life too, isn’t it?

In this week alone, I’ve loudly lamented the long lines at Sams, poor customer service at a local pharmacy, and lack of selection at a restaurant.

Just writing those out makes me seem totally superficial and ridiculous. But it’s true….I’ve seriously wasted valuable time and energy on this…

So now I’m going to take my own musical advice and practice playing soft. Instead of approaching perceived injustice with laments, I’m going to try the opposite approach. After all, it’s not like I got anywhere with my indignance except spreading frustration to everyone around me.

And just like it takes time to develop the skills necessary to play soft, I’m sure that I will not be totally successful.

But I will practice.

I don’t expect perfection from my students, so I will try not to expect perfection from myself.

Here’s to a playing (and living) a dynamic life!

 

Want a daily does of music? I’m doing a Facebook live every day through Christmas. Tune in here and join the fun!