Piano Power

Officially, I am for reals no joke actually starting piano lessons. This is how I feel:

YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEsssshhhhhhhooooooooot I need to PRACTICE!!!

I thrive with a busy schedule and lots of things to do. Or, that’s what I tell myself. It seems true, most of the time (it seems the most true when I am not busy). I am prone to time wasting when left to my own devices, and staying busy has proved to be my most effective form of therapy. The thing is, I also have a policy against STRESS. And having a policy against stress can be very difficult when you have a tendency to take on things upon things to keep you on track.

This quarter has not been so busy, which is a major change from the INSANITY of starting grad school with 13 credits, a full-time job, and VERY LITTLE RECOLLECTION of how to be a student. I guess this quarter has finally picked up its pace, because (with all the extra extracurriculars of 2012) I’m finally starting to feel a bit squished.

It’s a good feeling, I suppose. But the more squished you get, the more STRESS feels fine and comfy pulling up a chair and settling into your personal space on a regular basis. I don’t want to let this happen.

Everything seems like such a big deal when you’re in it. And then when you’re out of it, it seems like the weirdest thing in the world what a big deal you thought it was. I guess that’s one reason I think it’s so important to maintain a balanced life. I’m in NP school (and I love it, mind you), but I don’t want it to consume my life. I want to make time for reading and serving and spending time with friends and playing the piano.

So I signed up for piano lessons. Actually my husband signed me up for piano lessons. My teacher’s name is Lauren and she is awesome (just what I need, I think). I’m practicing scales, which I get an insane amount of enjoyment from. Lauren is an instructor at Piano Power, which is really official and organized; the kind of place you pay for multiple lessons at once. I couldn’t be more excited about it. I think it will be a wonderful discipline, a good break from sorting through complex science and multiple-choice exam prep. I’ll let you know how it goes.

haters gonna hate

Valentine’s Day. Some people hate it, and some people love it. And for some reason this year (in my experience) it kinda feels like there are more people in the hate-it camp than the non-hate-it-camp. “Oh gosh, I hate Valentine’s Day.” “Valentine’s Day? I don’t even get it. Such a greeting-card-company-concocted holiday. Puh.LEEZE.”

Ok ok. I can understand why some people feel this way. “AMERICA IS JUST TELLING ME I NEED A BOYFRIEND!!!” “AMERICA IS JUST TELLING ME I NEED TO DO ROMANTIC THINGS FOR MY WIFE TO PROVE THAT I LOVE HER!!!” Mmmk. Is it out of our systems now? Because I am about to tell you how BOMB FRICKIN KICK-A this holiday truly is.

To be historically “accurate” (according to the all-knowing source of Wikipedia, of course), we don’t actually know anything for SURE about St. Valentine besides his name. (We like to think he was a dude who married people in secret when Roman Emperor Claudius II ordered that young men stay single.) According to NPR, the saint’s Day didn’t become a holiday for love until Shakespeare and Chaucer romanticized it in the middle ages through their poetic works. The day gained popularity in Britain and Europe and, YES, GREETING CARD COMPANIES HAD A FIELD DAY.

REGARDLESS of how it began or who invented it or WHO is milking it for all its worth now, I for one am glad we have a day devoted to love.

I’m not getting ready to tell you that I have the perfect husband. Or the perfect love. Or the perfect marriage. OR that my Valentine’s Day is filled with flowers and love notes and presents and grand gestures and sweet candies. I don’t love Valentine’s Day because of what I have or what I hope to get. I love it for what it’s for. And I think it’s for a whole lot more than a whole lot of people give it credit.

Ever since I was a little girl, Valentine’s Day has been a unique opportunity to celebrate and ponder on the amazing thing that is love. Romance is a lovely and special thing, but love itself is far more amazing. I like the way Paul puts it (in his first letter to the Corinthians):

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing… faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Perfect love holds all things together. And although we as humans are not able to love perfectly on our own, God has given us the capacity to love one another as He loves us. Perfectly.

His love is perfectly manifested to us through the provision of his Son, who entered our world to die for us because we cannot love like this on our own. When Jesus died, God made us live, reconciling us to Himself, that we might be made perfect in Him. THIS IS WHY WE LOVE. THIS is why love is so amazing. THIS, my friends, is why LOVE needs a DAY all to itself.

Because of this love, I love my husband. I love my friends. I love my mom and dad and sister, and the rest of my family. What’s so bad about a day that devotes us to reminding one another of this love?

Some people say that Valentine’s Day is about getting a boyfriend. Those same people might tell you that if you haven’t got a date or a ring or a bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day, it’s proof that no one loves you. Here’s the thing about these people: THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS. And here’s another secret: sometimes these “people” are not people at all. Sometimes they’re voices in your head that do not come from the One who knows what love is.

Take hold of this day. It’s a day of love. REAL love. Remind yourself that YOU are loved. LOVE someone because of the love you’ve been shown. You don’t have to bake heart-shaped cookies and frost them or have a fancy dinner out or be uber Romantic. But take the opportunity this day gives you to really celebrate love.

I, for one, have painted my nails glitter pink.

Sunday morning

I love being up when the sun is rising. I wouldn’t consider myself a morning person, but I so enjoy being awake early on weekend mornings. Everything is so quiet. Life runs at such a lovely pace in these hours. My husband is asleep and my dog is curled up napping on a pillow nearby. Bliss. Sunny mornings like today make me long for Spring and Summertime. The birds are chirping but its only 16 degrees outside. Yikes, birds.

I’m just here to say hello for a quick second before its time to start the day. I love love love my Sundays. xoxo, Sunday. Oh! And p.s. Happy Birthday, Abe Lincoln. February 12th!