I’m thinking I may need to take a hiatus from my Joy 365 project posts. I have enjoyed the challenge and the attention I’ve had to spend to notice joy, gratitude, inspiration, etc. But my life has become much more complicated in the last couple of weeks. I will see how it works in the next few days, but I may need to revise the parameters a bit. (Since it is my challenge to myself, I declare that is a valid plan!)
I recently started a new job. I’m a long term substitute music teacher at two elementary schools (for the regular teacher’s maternity leave). I am teaching K-8 general and choral music. I travel between two schools three days a week and spend the whole day at one school the other days. I plan for many classes each day, including a 70 voice middle school choir and a 6th grade music appreciation class!
I’m greatly enjoying this new opportunity and challenge, but it will not leave much time for blogging, I fear. I’m also still accompanying the Milwaukee Children’s Choirs (Girl Choirs East and West).
Another issue is that I miss creating the posts I used to write. The posts that were longer and more thoughtful about topics I mulled over for quite a while before sharing. I have nearly 28 drafts that I have worked on for various amounts of time, and I want to focus on those drafts when I have time to write. I also miss answering comments and questions. I feel a bit disconnected from readers and followers.
For April, I will post photos from the Art in Bloom exhibit — hopefully one per day (since I’ve figure out how to schedule posts for the future!) This recent exhibit at the Milwaukee Museum of Art was beautiful and VERY inspiring to me on many levels. I hope you find inspiration, too.
Thank you, as always, for reading and following.
March 27Embed from Getty Images
(See more Buddha quotes here.)
March 30 — Art in Bloom at the Milwaukee Art Museum
Read about this event here: http://jeanneselep.blogspot.com/2009/03/anticipation-milwaukees-art-in-bloom.html
I took lots of photos of this year’s event which we visited today! It was spectacular!! I will share them and my thoughts about the day in a blog post very soon.
Beauty and Joy for your day.
Saturday March 22:
This quote — by Mstislav Rostropovich
“The artist must forget the audience,
forget the critics,
forget the technique,
forget everything but love for the music.
Then, the music speaks through the performance,
and the performer and the listener will walk together
with the soul of the composer,
and with God.”
Sunday March 23: The Chicken Soup and Ginger Ale Cure
Monday March 24:
Read more about these quilts here.
Monday — Old Oak Tree
I mentioned that I had a couple of job interviews last week. I ended up getting both jobs! One, being a sub for the local HS, I only got to do for two days! Because the other job will be as a long term music sub (K-8 general and vocal) for the rest of the school year.
I went Monday to the two elementary schools where I will be teaching to sign some papers, to see the buildings, and to meet some of the faculty/staff. One of the schools is several miles away from the interstate on a country road. From the outside, one can see the school was built onto an old brick one-room schoolhouse building. Outside the front door, a bit off to the side, is a huge ancient oak tree. I stopped to take in its strength and silhouette. I thought of all the students that tree has presided over — all of their comings and goings, all the days of learning and playing. I felt a sense of “place,” of being rooted, and at that moment I was assured that once again, I will be where I belong, where I need to be right now in my life.
Tuesday — Girls play “The Voice”
At the end of the young girls’ choir rehearsal I accompany on Tuesday evenings, the girls were given a few minutes of free time because they had worked so hard to learn the new music. The girls began playing “The Voice” and self selecting into groups of judges, performers, score keepers, and one girl who sat off to the side watching. It was so fun to watch them disappear into their imaginary world of play! I enjoyed seeing them choose their roles, some switching roles several times, and that one girls who felt most comfortable sitting to the side watching the whole thing (with a shy smile on her face — I don’t think she was unhappy or upset — she just wanted to watch instead of be involved.)
Some girls were natural and instant leaders.
Some struggled to decide where they fit in.
Some felt comfortable in supporting roles.
Some tried several different approaches.
Some needed to have a friend by their side.
Some stood in the spotlight and sang, pouring out their heart and soul.
Some kept track of what everyone else was doing and tried to impose order on the chaos.
One watched with a shy smile.
I thought about how this “play” the girls created relates to grown-up lives. Hmmmmmm —-
Wednesday — Being the “Sub”
I was subbing at the HS again on Wednesday. I think my favorite moments are when I have conversations either with an individual student or a group of students that gets “real.” I catch a glimpse of the “real” person behind their public persona, and/or they catch a glimpse of my “real” self. I try to be genuine in all situations, but being a sub is a pretty artificial scenario so it often takes a bit of convincing and ice-breaking until any sort of tentative temporary relationship can be established. I’m thankful when that happens. Those moments are why I continue to “aspire to inspire!”
Thursday — Another first day
Today I spent the day getting acquainted with the music teacher for whom I will be long-term subbing. I met most of the students at one of the elementary school where I will be teaching. The most common question I was asked by the students was, “Can you play the piano?” 🙂 Happily, my answer was an emphatic — “YES!” It was a good day, and I’m looking forward to the joys and challenges of the weeks ahead.
Friday — HUGE Smile
At lunch (new music long term sub job school) — a student was recognized by one of the teachers with a good-bye cake. She called the student up, and told everyone in the cafeteria that this would be his last day at their school. On Monday, he would start school at ta new school. She had a large sheet cake so that everyone could have a piece of cake to celebrate this student’s time at the school with them. Everyone applauded and cheered. He had the HUGEST smile on his face. He was absolutely BEAMING. (p.s. The young man has Down Syndrome).
I have faced many fears this past year.
I have a few more to face in the very near future.
I found this wonderful video in my inbox this morning.
Here is some of the takeaway wisdom from the 6-year-old narrator, for when things get scary:
Hold your breath, and close your eyes.
Find some fur to hold onto.
There will always be another time together next spring.
If something feels like it’s closing, just say, “that’s fine!” And let it go. Think of something that you really like to do, until the nervous has gone out of you.
And always remember: when the scared feeling comes into you, the scared feeling is scared of all the things you like.
— quote from Feed Your Spirit, daily devotional.
This is my March Inspiration for today, Sunday, March 16. Enjoy.
A Week of Inspirations!
March 9 to 15
I’ve fallen behind in my Joy 365 March Inspirations posts, so I decided to put this week into one big post of inspiration!
Sunday, March 9: Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra Concert
My son has played in this wonderful group for the last four years. They have a very talented, energetic, and extremely enthusiastic conductor — Thomas Taylor Dickey. On the program my dear friend, Rebekah Demaree, sang Morgen (by Strauss). This was exceptionally wonderful because her daughter plays in the group, too.
Monday, March 10: Job Interview(s)
I have put my application in for several music teaching positions, and I had a couple of interviews on Monday. It was inspiring to me because I love talking about teaching music, and I always enjoy seeing a new school building, classrooms, and meeting fellow educators. Even if I don’t get the job(s), it is always good to be reminded of all the things I’ve done in the past and of all the possibilities for the future.
March 11, 12, 13, 14 —
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday:
Lots of MUSIC!
I have many piano events going on this week:
- My usual Milwaukee Children’s Choirs rehearsals — Tues and Wed evenings
- Rehearsing with our local middle school 6th, 7th and 8th grade orchestras for their concert this Thursday evening — three times a day for two days, plus the actual concert.
- Collaborating with local high school students for the upcoming district solo and ensemble festival this Saturday (about 10 vocal and string events) — several times a day about three days this week.
Working with young musicians always inspires me. I love their humor, their enthusiasm, their trepidation and boldness. I love hearing them play or sing from the heart. Some are already SO talented at such a young age!
Saturday: Solo and Ensemble District Festival
I can write this before Saturday because I already know what the day will be like. There will be herds of young people moving up and down the halls. Girls will be dressed in their uncomfortable finery — some sporting high heels that are clearly killing their feet. Boys may have ties or tennis shoes, and sometimes both! There will be smiles, laughter, tears and frustration. There will be donuts, hot dogs and probably BBQ sandwiches. Some will perform better than they ever have (or ever will again), and some will make huge mistakes. Some who deserve twos will get ones, and some who deserve ones will get twos. Families and friends hover, chatting quietly, and move from room to room. The tension and nerves of many performers is nearly tangible. Scraps of conversations can be overheard: “I got a one/two/one star!” “That judge is crazy/easy/hard/good/bad!” “The room is running way behind.” “Where is my accompanist/instrument/music/director/reed/room?”
I took a quilting class in this wonderful space today!
This afternoon I took a quilt class in the gorgeous lobby of the Milwaukee Art Museum. The group was divided into four sections: improvisational quilting (inspired by Gee’s Bend style quiltmaking); hand applique (inspired by the floral quilt); hand quilting (inspired by the star quilt); and crazy quilting stitches (inspired by the crazy quilt in the exhibit). The groups rotated through each of the four areas spending about 45 min. or so at each station.
I had fun meeting fellow fiber enthusiasts, and it was especially wonderful to spend time being creative in that amazing space. The teachers were excellent and I picked up several good tips and ideas.
As I was driving home north along the shore of Lake Michigan, I stopped to take a few photos. The ice has finally begun to break up, so there is some open water peeking through here and there. The shards of ice that are strewn about and piled up in various configurations created a decidedly other-worldly scene. Is there an ice planet? This is what I would expect it to look like.
Just a few days ago, Getty Images announced a new embed feature that will allow people to access and share photos from its extensive library of images for non-commercial purposes.
Read the whole WordPress article here.
Access to use all these wonderful Getty images?
I chose this image of the Yosemite Valley because seeing this specific view literally took my breath away. Then, when I could breathe again my eyes got teary. It is one of THE MOST beautiful natural vistas I have ever seen. I could have stood there for hours. I felt awed by the spectacular and extravagant beauty of this world. Yes, I’m a Christian — but I don’t see how anyone could look at this place and not feel the presence of the Divine.
Be Inspired by BLOOM!
This creative and imaginative invention brings a community together through the joyful process of making low-impact art that beautifies a public space. BLOOM, an urban toy made from recycled plastic, achieves a perfect synthesis with quiet simplicity. Equal parts recycling project, distributed social game, and collective “gardening” experience, BLOOM encourages citizens to take an active role in creating original art.
Although BLOOM installations are often very large, they’re made up of only one unique piece, which is a small “cell” that features three different connecting grooves. Similar to other toys you might have had as a kid, the cells are designed to connect to each other in a multitude of ways, allowing the formation of an infinite number of dynamic, original sculptures. By recombining three different connections in each cell, or following rhythms of repeating strings of identical connections, you can build a ring, a spiral or a distributed branch, among other things.
Aside from being a clever way to get people interested in making art, BLOOM is also a demonstration of what’s possible when we collaborate. “The collective act of coming to one place and building something becomes a shared memory for each person attending,” write the designers. “None of the pieces can do anything on its own, only by putting together thousands of them is when the game and the BLOOM garden emerge. The energy for BLOOM construction comes from people’s interactions.”
BLOOM was on display and put to community fun use during the London Olympics.
(from the article by Beth Buczynski at inhabit.com)
Read more about BLOOM: Let a Thousand Modules Bloom at THE DAILY MODULE.
Image by Jeremy Seto (JamesCastle) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/ via Flickr CC license
All Images by McKay Savage; Chennai, India October 2009.
One of Chennai’s lovely quirks of public space are these series of inspirational and motivational wall slogans in several areas of the city. The sequence is from along GN Chetty Road in Chennai as you approach Gemini Flyover and is one of the longest stretches.
You can see more of these wall slogans in McKay Savage’s Flickr Photstream.
March 2 (retroactive March inspiration post)
Photo Title: Old World Inspirational Sign – HDR
Image by Nicholas Raymond. Standard Creative Commons License 3.0 unported.
I really like this photograph. I love the brick pattern and the lovely greys and rusty orangey reds. The arch is nice, too. The words are motto worthy. Nice start to my month of inspirations, I think.
March 1 (retroactive inspirational post)