Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How to Make the Most of an Empty Week

When we had to cancel our trip to Nashville, we had 2 choices. We could spend the now-empty time watching television and constantly updating our facebook status with quotes from Oprah and Larry King. Or, we could make it an incredibly productive and creative time.

Obviously, we chose option #2. (If I'd chosen option 1, this would be a horrible blog post!)

So, here's how my non-Nashville days have been looking:

- Each morning, I start my day with 2-3 hours of creative time. This is my time to sing, write, and study. Currently, I'm working through John C. Maxwell's "Talent is Never Enough." I read each chapter taking notes, writing down my favourite quotes, and working on the application questions. Amazing book!

- I've just started a BSF Bible study of John. Intro class last week; first real class tomorrow. Very excited!

- I'm becoming a booking machine! When we moved home 3 and a half months early, that meant we had 3 and a half empty months on the calender. In the past week, I've confirmed a number of bookings. We're now booked for almost every Sunday morning from now til Christmas, and we're starting to book into 2010! We're also starting to book lots of concerts and Christmas parties. Of course, we still have space for more...

- I'm continuing to have pain from my neck, so I'm also continuing to have chiropractic care - 3 adjustments a week plus massage. Not really complaining about the massage part....

- The Christian DIVA event is coming up next week. Next week!! Must start memorizing my part of the 'drama'.

- I wrote my October SoGospelNews article about being a Christian DIVA. Should go online soon.

So with all that work, and the extra family duties around Mom's surgery, things have been pretty busy, but not too busy to celebrate the good stuff:

- Mom is recovering amazingly well from her knee replacement! Today, she graduated from a walker to a cane! Whoo-hoo!

- On Sunday, Dad celebrated 45 years of ordained ministry, and we're all the better for it.

- Yesterday, Mom and Dad celebrated 41 years of wedded bliss. Amazing and inspiring!

If it sounds like I'm just bragging on my family, that's all good. After our accident, Gerald and I wanted nothing more than to get home to be around our families, and this is what it's all about - being here to care for Mom through her surgery, lifting some of the burden off Dad as he takes care of the household stuff, celebrating the great moments with Greek food and cake from IKEA, and spending the quiet moments watching Autumn drift into Ontario. We are blessed, indeed!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tough Decisions...

I can't believe I've gone this long without blogging. I just had a friend write to see if I'm okay.

I am okay, but it's been a trying week. There's been lots of good stuff - last Sunday, we sang at St. John's West Toronto, and we're now back on their regular roster. I have a new date booked for November (I'm awaiting confirmation before it goes on my calender.) I've been reading a few great books that are filling me with new ideas and inspiration - "Talent is Never Enough" by John C. Maxwell and "11" by Leonard Sweet.

On Monday, Mom had a very successful full knee replacement surgery. She was in the hospital four days, and will be in recovery for several months. At times like this, we're really glad we moved home early.

But here's the tough decision of the week: After much tedious discussion and weighing of facts, Gerald and I have decided to cancel our trip to Nashville this week. It's no secret that our recent car accident has given us many challenges, the worst of which are financial and physical. When we looked at things from a practical point of view, there was just no way we could take this kind of trip right now.

We're sad about having to make this choice... I'm going to miss studying with Allison at the Elijah Conference. We're going to miss our NSAI training day. We're going to miss Songposium, seeing friends, and attending church at Redeemer on Sunday.

...but we also feel some peace as we know this is the smart decision. Normally, Gerald and I would make the take-the-big-risk-and-it'll-all-work-out decision. It's hard making the 'mature' decision, but we have big plans for the next year, and we don't want to add to our challenges by driving ourselves deeper into debt or prolonging our physical recovery.

And now that we've made this very mature decision, we're going to wear our pajamas all day, dance in the rain, eat cupcakes, and enjoy every second we have with our friends and family. Carpe diem. Accept the good. Count your blessings. And live large, my friends. Live large.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Week in Review

Writing on a lazy Saturday afternoon from a sunny backyard in Southern Ontario. The puppy is wandering the garden looking for bugs, my plate of homemade cookies is now empty, and I don't have to be any where at any time. Life is good.

Last Sunday, Gerald and I returned to St. George's in Guelph for Dad's last Sunday as their interim minister. It was awesome to hear such amazing tributes to my Dad - not surprising, but still awesome. Gerald and I sang "On Eagle's Wings" during the sermon, and we debuted my new song, "Living Manna, Living Bread," just after communion. Both went really well, and they got a great response. After the service, a lot of the feedback was about the new song, so that just tickled me! We're going to do it again next week in Toronto, and Jenna has already asked if they can do it at Redeemer in Nashville.

I've started the process of signing up for CCLI. It's one of those things I've been meaning to do for a while, but never got around to it. Now that we have some flexibility in our time, I'm trying to lock down some of that stuff.

I've also started chiropractic treatment for my neck. I've had near-constant pain since the accident, and I really can't handle a lifetime of this. Must say - the adjustment was not nearly as "comfortable" as the doctor described - the cracking freaked me out and the Biofreeze made me smell like a cough drop - but I've seen the treatment help a lot of friends and family members, so I'm trusting in that.

Yesterday, I did an online cowrite. Perry and I did a first draft of "Streets of Gold" for a Song U challenge, but we knew it could be better. We met yesterday in a Song U online writing room. We could talk to each other through our mics, and we could also type ideas for us both to see. There was a whiteboard where you could type, post photos, and a bunch of other stuff I couldn't figure out. In the end, we completely rewrote the lyric. We have a bit of a break before we can meet again, so in the meantime, we'll see if the original melody will still work with the new lyric.

As I recently wrote in my article, "Lessons from a Symphony", Gerald and I have been in a time of deliberate rest. We're making the most of each day by enjoying good food, long walks, and the company of family and friends. On Tuesday, we'll get back to a more regular schedule of writing, singing, booking... but til then, it's company tonight, Ribfest tomorrow, and a Happy Labour Day to all!