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Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Morning Check In: Gimme a Break!

This is the week of Thanksgiving in the United States, a time of family, feasting, and celebration of our country’s early history. As wee children in elementary school we learned about the Pilgrims sailing to America, landing at Plymouth Rock, and about their early struggles to survive a harsh climate and establish a thriving colony.

As a grownup teacher, I have a different perspective of Thanksgiving now. Yes, the holiday does still hold some of the elements that I learned about as a child, but the holiday holds so much more meaning for me now, because this is one of the only times during the year WHEN I GET A BREAK!

What? How can that be? Don’t you get holidays throughout the year? What about vacations? Well, this is a tricky subject for me. Let me explain.

I am a musician, and my profession’s history is tied in to the church calendar. The church traditionally used musicians quite a bit during the special religious holidays of the church calendar, such as Christmas and Easter, for example. This practice still holds true today. I have some of my most busiest playing during these holidays. I also have other performances that are tied into the holiday season, such as the Symphony Christmas Sing-a-long, the Messiah, the Nutcracker, and the New Year’s Pops Concerts. I play Christmas Eve services as well as other special Christmas Oratorio performances throughout the month of December.

Once the Thanksgiving holiday weekend has ended, I hit the ground running. My university responsibilities begin to wind down with end-of-semester recitals, juries, and final exams. My private teaching studio gears up for its Christmas program at our local community theater as part of the Christmas Trail of Lights display. The symphony begins the busy holiday music season. Basically I will not have a single day or evening free again until Christmas Day itself. Even Christmas starts later since I will be getting to bed around 2 am after the late night Christmas Eve services that I play in a neighboring town. If Christmas were to fall on a Sunday, I would also have morning church services to play as well. After Christmas, the Pops Concert rehearsals begin immediately.

Thanksgiving holiday is my only break. It lasts for four days, and I look forward to the peace and quiet of these days. In fact, my goal is usually to see how many days I can spend in my pajamas. It is an interesting goal, but try as I might, I never spend even one day in that attire. One of my other Thanksgiving goals is to clean my house up enough to actually have guests. Some years I have more work to do in order to meet this goal. This may be such a year.

I am in the middle of another NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month: write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November), and I am well on the way to finishing sometime this week. I just finished a recital performance last Saturday night at Texas State University along with other faculty members (the TreSorelle Trio plus one). The symphony is about to perform Rite of Spring before it begins its holiday season.

I love my students and my playing responsibilities, but at this time of year I need a short period of time to refresh my batteries and renew my spirit.

I need some time to myself. I need some time to build my appreciation and thankfulness for having all my students and studio families in my life. I need time to celebrate and be thankful for the blessed life I have. I need time to rest physically and mentally so that I regain my equilibrium, my center, and my balance. I need time to reconnect with family and my dog pack, as well as spend time with the "big boys" out on the back forty (my donkeys, alpacas, and left-brained, extroverted horse). I need time to watch all the television movies and shows I recorded and read all the books I downloaded on my iPad's Kindle app. I need time to enjoy the cool, crisp air and smell the smoke from the fireplaces that my neighbors have lit.

No, it is more than that. I need the time so that I will spend the time being thankful, because deep in my heart I really am thankful for my full life. I am thankful that I have good health and am able to sustain such a full life. I am thankful for my readers and for the many emails and comments I receive from readers and friends from all over the world (the blog has reached 108 countries to date).

Thank you, everyone, and have a blessed, thankful holiday and restful week! 


  1. I just love this post! You echo my thoughts completely.

    1. Thank you, Hannah. I hope you get some much deserved rest!