Friday, December 30, 2005

not the only girl any more

For all of my 'growing-up' years, as a little girl, I dreamed of having a sister.

I did love the special attention and protection I got from my big brothers...there are advantages to being the only girl. But I always envied the relationship of sisters.


...I got one!

And now, I have four.

Having idolized my brothers for as long as I can remember, I never thought that they could ever find deserving wives. But as each one of them found amazing, beautiful, patient women, I hoped that they would soon become my sisters...and that my brothers wouldn't lose them or scare them away. Ten years highschool, I never would have guessed that two of my friends would one day mean so much more to me, that we would forever share our lives as sisters. That my friend Kelly really meant it when she hinted that her brother and I should be more than friends.

My sisters add so much to our family...balance, wisdom, perspective, grace, awareness of reality, humor. I am constantly amazed by their unique passions and abilities. Their patience, generosity, wisdom, beauty, discernment. I love having sisters to call when I have questions or just need someone to listen. Lynn, Marianne, Andrea, and Kelly are truly some of closest friends.

And today is my very first sister's birthday. Happy Birthday, Lynn! I am so grateful for you. I love the way that you love my brother and my neice and nephew. And I am especially grateful for the way that you have accepted and loved me too.
I love you!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Maya Grace

She weighs 12 ounces, has a beautiful pumping heart, and as you can see....a well developed brain.
Maya really likes to keep her arms and hands up in front of her face, so the ultrasound technician had to 'look through' the arm to get the lovely profile shot above...she also looked through the skull :)

To see more pictures, visit Maya's blog.

Monday, December 19, 2005

feeling sick

I would like to finish wrapping our Christmas presents, send Christmas cards, finish the laundry, make several dozen cookies for Ryan's friends at work, the staff at school, and my celebrate their great performance and for their last class before Christmas. But instead, I'm laying in the couch...feeling miserable.

The pregnancy nausea is over, but my draining sinuses are reviving that sick stomach feeling. My lungs are already a bit cramped for space, and the lack of oxygen flow through my nose is making me more than a little dizzy...and the pressure in my head.... sore throat, aching ears...... the pain and pressure in my lower abdomen from my growing baby makes laying on the couch even more appealing....maybe even necessary.

I'll stop whining now. I only have to work one day this day tomorrow??

Only three more days until our ultra sound....then brother Andy arrives, then Christmas!!! then another week off!!
life is good.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I'm done!

Last night was my students' final performance of the season. As I mentioned before, I had several.

In fact, just on Monday, a small ensemble of my High School Choir students sang some Christmas medleys and hymns at a dinner for brain injury survivors. It was a small, casual event in a church fellowship hall. Just before we sang, I took the students out a door into another room to warm up. No lights were on, but we could tell by the echo that it was a gym. Since we would just be a minute, I didn't mind the dark, but a couple of students persisted in trying to find the light switch for us. Finally someone found the switch. Only strangely, when he turned it on, the room was not filled with light. Instead, an incessant, loud, and urgent fire alarm sounded. Embarrassed, I re-entered the fellowship hall to seek assistance. I was relieved to find that the incredibly loud noise was not heard in the room of brain injury survivors....just the rest of the building. No one in the building knew what to do, and one of my students figured out how to turn the alarm off. So, we began our concert. My pianist was about to begin the intro to our first song when she called me over to the piano, "Mrs. Corbin, that wouldn't happen to be the fire department out in the parking lot, would it??" It was.

Last night, our concert was not so eventful. It *was* long (5th grade Band, Jr. High Band, High School Band, Middle School Choir, High School Choir, Beginner Strings, Intermediate Strings, Advanced Strings, Kindergarten, and Elementary Choir) Yes,...all in one concert. I was responsible for all but the bands. It was an amazingly complicated production....because of the number of fast stage changes and diverse sound equippment needs, and the sheer number of students involved. Since I was out in front of the stage conducting...with no control over about a hundred of my students waiting back stage, I just prayed that they would all show up on stage at the right time. They did. It was thrilling and exhausting. And just after the lights went out on stage and I was greeting my family and students' parents with smiles, I exclaimed into my (still on) microphone, "I'm Done!!"

With aching feet and a sore back, I crashed into bed as soon as I arrived home. And this morning, I received the most wonderful surprise phone call at 6:00 AM.
A snow day.
And so far, this is what I've done...

...finally, ten wonderful hours spent here...

...and almost two hours spent here...

...with this...

...and this.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Things I thought of blogging about but never did...(a month's worth of blogs)

...a really fun Thanksgiving with my family. I was going to post more pictures, but I like my brother's better anyways. of my very favorite stories by my beloved Jane Austen was made once again into a beautiful film. Every year for Thanksgiving, the Rudds have begun a tradition of seeing a movie together at the theater (something we NEVER did growing up... In fact, the first movie we ever saw together as a family may have been one of the "Lord of the Rings" movies). This year, we saw Pride and Prejudice. The story was fresh in my mind since I just re-read it this summer. I loved it. I thought the characters, especially the Bennet family, were perfectly true to the book. However, my husband, who never really liked the idea of seeing a Jane Austen movie as our big family Movie, was not so impressed. Brother Andrew captures his sentiments quite well..."Ryan was the firm dissenter -- with a somewhat valid analysis that fully half of the movie had been shots of Mirrors and Long-Shots-of-Walking-Through-Fields. It was cinematic! I argued. Watch this! he countered, and slowly pretended to walk through a pretend field. Look at me! I'm cinematic! I'm artsy! I'm full of longing and despair and breadth of spirit!"

...Christmas tree lights and 'couch night.' Once the tree is up, we spend the first night of the new 'season' together on the couches (pushed together). We fall asleep admiring the glowing yellow light and we imagine all the strangers driving by commenting on how happy and warm our house looks. They must be filled with envy.

...December 1st. Four years ago, Ryan talked me (and Mandy) into leaving our school work and my RA responsibilities at Cedarville and driving home with him for the weekend. We had a perfect date that ended in a life changing question. On the boardwalk in Grand Haven, we shivered, and Ryan got down on his knee and asked me to be his wife. I knew then, that I would love being married to him. But I couldn't have known then, how deeply I would love him. This December 1st, we sat in a blue doctor's office and listened to our baby's heart beating. afternoon Strings concert at the Art Museum. This week, I brought all forty of my strings students to the Muskegon Museum of Art to perform a special Christmas Concert for the annual "Festival of Trees."
After a terrible rehearsal on Wednesday, I was not looking forward to our public performance on Thursday. I was missing half of my advanced class for our final rehearsal, and because of Thanksgiving, we hadn't had class since the middle of November!
But despite my doubt and fear, on the stage, they were amazing. They performed with more maturity and musicianship than ever before. I've never heard them produce such a full, and truly beautiful sound. I was more than a little proud. Watching them grow and become more independent and skilled is so rewarding. This season filled with performances (7 during December, 16 if you count each performing group seperately) fills me with anxiety and stress, causes me to lose nights of sleep, but mostly, it reminds me of why I love teaching music. At the end of each concert, I am so proud and thankful for my kids... last night. Five of my oldest string players provided dinner entertainment at our School Staff Christmas Party. Knowing they would need to be independent of me at the dinner, I told them they were on their own for practices too. More than a few dinner guests mistook them for professional, hired musicians. As I ate my whitefish, I listened intently, and smiled again with pride.

...our new 'family vehicle.' Ryan is violently opposed to becoming a minivan owner, but we needed a more dependable car and with a baby coming, we decided on a station wagon. I've been feeling really spoiled in the warm heated, leather seats of our Passat wagon., I am enjoying a peaceful Saturday, watching the snow fall. Ryan is enjoying drugged slumber, lightly snoring on the couch. Benedryl sends him immediately to sleep...the only place where he can find respite from his itching skin. Marianne diagnosed him with hives last allergic reaction to the Amoxicillin he has been taking for a sinus infection. He looks truly pathetic. His eyes are swollen and his face is covered with a bumpy red rash. In fact there are painful looking red bumps all over his body. I'm miserable just watching his pain. My poor baby.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

anticipation and contentment

Life is a string of anticipation and longing. Hope and impatience are far too intertwined.
Even the happiest and most fulfilling moments of my life seem to be filled with some kind of anticipation for something else. Something that is next. The distraction of the future always seems to blur the present.
The breathtaking beauty of each season fills me with a great sense of responsibility to somehow soak it in. To capture it. To truly appreciate the fleeting perfection of what is all around me. The older I get, the more I try to hold on to the images, smells, feelings of beauty. But part of me is always longing for the next thing...

...Winter... warm houses that smell like candles, Christmas lights, family, snow transforming trees into icy lace, nostalgic music, black and white classic movies, presents, candle light concerts and church traditions...

Winter is next. And I am already imagining my red dining room lit with the glow of a Christmas tree, Ryan's train set circling around the base of the tree, stockings hanging from the banister covered with garland and berries, and all the windows filled with candles. But today is a perfect November day. The sky is just a little hazy, but still yellow and warm from the sun. Most of the trees are bare, but leaves seem to be everywhere, floating around like falling snow...only in rich, earthy colors.

Even more than my fascination with the changing my longing for the next part of life. Already, so much of me belongs to my child. I know that I still don't even begin to comprehend how much I will love this baby. But I'm beginning to know. And the agony of not being able to see or hold this life that has taken over my body is excruciating and wonderful. I want to at least call her by name...or him. To talk to him and begin to imagine a son or a daughter.

Yet I know that my peaceful days and nights with Ryan will soon change forever. And that frightens me. I love the ease of our relationship, the spontanious ways we spend our time together.
And as much as I fantasize about being at home during the day next up many of my work responsibilities and stresses, I love teaching every day. I love hearing smiling six year olds shout "Mrs. Corbin!!" and overwhelm me with hundreds of daily hugs. My students have become "my kids." Like a parent, I worry about my middle and high schoolers and all the decisions they will make about themselves and their futures and their friends. I see them every day, and I love sharing my life with them. I haven't made any solid decisions about what I will keep and what I will give up, but I know that whatever pieces are cut will be deeply missed. Though it probably won't compare with my new role, I will miss what I do now.

So I try to soak it in. Even the drudgery and the exhausting long days. I know that what is next is different and wonderful and beyond my understanding. There are very few moments when my thoughts are not consumed with the future...and my anticipation. But I don't want to miss the beauty of right now either.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sunday, October 30, 2005

ten hours of sleep...

...and I had crazy dreams.

I love gaining an hour when we "fall" back.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

By the way...

...if you'd like to hear our baby's heartbeat, you can listen to Ryan's cell phone recording from the doctor's office today.

We were pretty impressed with our child's amazing health and talent. I think you will be too.

go listen

after a long eleven hour day of work...

...we spent a few hours here on Tuesday night.

I recorded some violin accompaniment for a local folk artist's new CD.
It was a very satisfying musical experience. Not super challenging, but fun.

The producer, Michael Crittenden was so helpful and knowledgeable. I don't usually have a lot of direction or creative input from others when I'm improvising. But it was really helpful to have the guidance of an amazing musician and producer.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

More Baby Stuff...

If you are interested in reading every detail of our baby's existence thus far...and all the random thoughts of a new expecting mother...
click here

If not, just ignore that link.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Two months ago, the night before school started, Ryan and I stared at the image above in disbelief.

Shaking....with excitement, terror, indescribable happiness.

Yes, this is an announcement.

And here is a picture of our baby at only six and a half weeks...

As we watched the ultrasound monitor in amazement, we also listened to our baby's heartbeat. I have never heard music as beautiful as that sound.

That was more than a month ago. Now, our baby, an impressive two and a half inches long, has all of his or her organs, fingers, and toes. Even the eye color has been determined. Though, I can't feel it yet, he or she now moves around, swimming in the amniotic fluid.

In about six months, (sometime around May 9th) we will get to meet our baby.

Tomorrow, I'll be twelve weeks pregnant, and I will tell my students my secret. It has been the hardest secret I've ever kept in my life. I can't wait to let it out. (If you read this before Tuesday morning the 25th, try not to spoil my news at school.)

We cherish our alone time together. It's going to be an adjustment that we could never be fully prepared for. But I can't wait to do this together. To be parents.

Friday, October 14, 2005

My amazing friend Mandy works in a Children's ICU.

I've always told her that I could never do her job. The weight of all the sadness there would be too much for me. Children who are sick...sometimes dying. It seems so unnatural and wrong.

My job may require patience (occasionally there are *some* rough days), but I don't ever have to watch grieving parents watch their child suffer.

Schools are full of life...and hope. Mostly healthy kids, learning, playing, growing.

This morning at one of the elementary schools where I teach, I was surprised and concerned to see tears in the office. The matter-of-fact, cheerful, efficient secretary didn't greet me as usual. I thought maybe she had just received news about a family member or close friend. This afternoon, when I returned to the school, I understood.

The classroom teacher quickly tried to warn me that something really sad had happened....the kids might say something. We'd talk after class. But as I started to welcome the kids, several kindergarteners raised their hand.

"Mrs. Corbin, Alexis isn't here because she died."

It was true. My beautiful little kindergartener, died last night after complications from a heart operation.

We sang together. Silly songs about "Old King Cole" and "BINGO." They laughed and sang and played, but it was hard. Maybe not for them. They can't and probably shouldn't feel the weight of this. Not yet.

I think that must be the most awful pain that a parent could ever feel.

I still feel sick.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ryan is a masterful dancer. You should have seen him tonight. Every woman there was filled with envy as we danced the rumba and the foxtrot.

We're thinking about crashing a wedding reception soon...just to show off our moves.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Feminist for Life

Just found a feminist website that I love. I think you will too.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

the cabin...again!!

In July, I dreamed of the cabin...
"Mornings at the cabin are some of my happiest memories. Waking up to the sound of a crackling fire and the smell of coffee, and peeking out of my room to see my dad, reading by the fire.
I think I can imagine the cabin more vividly than any other place in my past. I can almost hear the sound of the hinged screen door swinging open and banging shut, and feet crunching accross the stones in the driveway, crickets chirping, the smell of cedar and grass and smoke..."

Again, my senses are anticipating the comforting familiarity of this peaceful place.


(Sorry Andrea, I couldn't resist stealing your picture. The chair at the end of the dock looks like the most perfect place on earth.)

not too surprising...

...especially since two of the more 'conservative' members of my family turned out to be "Democrats"
( a name I once thought was synonymous with athiest, pagan, and all that is evil and wrong with the world )

You are a

Social Liberal
(66% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(10% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Thursday, September 29, 2005

a bit of selfish (and somwhat misdirected) pride

At a beginner level, the thrill of seeing your student begin to make music is beautiful. The simple, pure pleasure they have in their new ability is profound.
With most students, there are some less pleasurable years that follow this initial excitement. When the 'newness' wears off, some quit. Some get lazy. But most struggle through it...with a few glimpses of actual beauty along the way.
Eventually, it is a joy to listen to them perform again.
A few of my students have reached that place. And two of them have now become teachers as well. The strings program is growing so quickly, I don't have time to teach all of the beginners, so two of my advanced highschoolers have begun teaching private lessons.
Both of these girls auditioned and were accepted into the West Shore Youth Symphony- a community youth orchestra made up of the best young musicians from every school in the area. The experience is so good for our school only offers them a small String Ensemble for performance.
This week Amanda, my only Senior student, went to Youth Symphony rehearsal unaware that chair auditions were being held that night. (She had missed the previous rehearsal....because she's performing as one of the lead vocal soloists in a Civic Theatre production downtown)
Since it was sight-reading, she was able to complete the audition....and take the Concert Mistress position! She's first chair.
Of all the students from every school in the student...took first!
I'm beaming with pride.

So...this is not really *my* accomplishment. She's just one of those students...excells at everything. But I am still revelling in the glory of it...maybe even more so than when it was me. Am I a little delusional? too excited about some one else's accomplishment?
oh, well.
At least, I feel like I've done something right with my students. Well-timed validation.
I'm so glad that we worked on sight-reading in her lesson that day.


It's not my style to blog about T.V. shows. Lately, I hardly ever even watch them.
I never really got into the show last year. I missed a few episodes, so I always felt a little I was missing some important information. Apparently that is how you are supposed to feel...even if you watch religiously.
I just saw the first two shows of the season last night.
I think I'm hooked.
After watching the opening show of the season, I (and all the other LOST devotees) wondered...'who is that australian guy down in the underground hatch? has he been waiting for Jack all this time? did he know all of this when he met him the first time in the stadium? he was connected with such a beautiful story in Jack's life, how can we not trust him?'
As I suspected, none of my questions were answered.

Ryan thinks that they are all dead. Everyone on the island. That's why people keep seeing 'ghosts'. It's like pergatory. Everyone is there to 'work through' something big from their life.

any other theories?

Monday, September 26, 2005

a good weekend

Mondays are a decadent pleasure I never feel I deserve after a restful weekend. However, I think without the extra day, I would lose my sanity.
Today, after having my blood drawn and an eye appointment, I picked Ryan up on his lunch break to enjoy the Olive Garden.
Never-ending Pasta" for him, and "unlimited soup, salad, & breadsticks" for me. As he dreaded going back to his "office space" world, we dreamed of how we could both have flexible that we could be home more and together more. It's only been three years, but we never tire of spending time together. For being such opinionated, cynical, fault finding people, we seem to like *eachother* a whole lot. I'm sure there is some danger in that. But I think I'm pretty lucky.

Saturday morning, we woke up without an the sun streaming in our windows and our long sheer curtains blowing in the wind. The rest of the morning was filled with cleaning, laundry, and baking banana bread. On our way to the beach for a hike in the dunes, we stopped at our favorite local bakery for a peach-strawberry smoothie...and the "Sardine Room" restaurant for some crab mournet.
Sitting at the top of the dune, we ate and tried to soak in the beauty around us. It was just cool enough to wear sweaters and sweatshirts. Right now, I can hear the restful sound of the leaves being rustled by the wind, but there is nothing like the sound of the waves at Lake Michigan. The path through the woods in the dunes was covered with leaves and smelled like cedar and pine and earth. I felt like I was in the woodshed at the cabin, breathing in the smell of freshly cut firewood. Why don't I spend every spare minute at the beach?

Saturday night, I got to play again at the Dogwood Center's Black Box theatre. It's fun to be performing again. In late October, I'm going to record some violin/cello accompaniment for one of the artists. It'll probably be a 'free' gig, but very rewarding and fun.
I realized on Saturday, as I saw lots of the same people genuine they were. The musicians I met a month ago asked the usual questions about my job...about Ryan, etc. But they really wanted to know. One new friend even asked Ryan if he was excited to be finishing school this week. How did he remember that? I barely talked to him? I was humbled by their real sense of acceptance and community...outside of my usual 'church' kind of community. I don't think I'm a very good listener. But I want to be that kind of friend.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

another week has passed...

...and we are about to leave for our dance class. Tonight we are learning a type of 'swing' dance.
Strangely, this dance class...which only occupies a little more than an hour of my week seems to be the only thing I feel like blogging about.

School is fine. Exhausting. Usually fun, rewarding. But always exhausting. Towards the end of my day, I find myself feeling less patient with the students who haven't practiced, who aren't playing it right. I just want to beg them to please play the right note or at least *a* note in tune!

I was laying on the couch, almost asleep, before my last student of the day arrived for her lesson. As I attempted to appear alert, excited, and inspiring...she got her instrument ready and said, "I practiced *a lot* this week!" I wanted to hug her. She really had practiced dilligently. A nine year old, playing tune, with correct timing, even style. It was actually beautiful. A rare moment from this week. She's already thinking about being a violin teacher when she hits high school. Even if that's not what she does, she'll always love music.

The rain today is peaceful. We have old metal awnings over our windows that create this beautiful sound every time it rains.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Ryan is petrified to go to our dance class tonight. I have hardly had time to get excited this week, but now there is just one more meeting this afternoon, and then...we dance.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

teaching highlights...

After a long and exhausting week last week, I finally feel like a teacher again. I made it through my two twelve-hour days (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) for this week, and I'm still feeling lucky to be a teacher.

My choirs are now singing together (after the initial 'first week back' singing placement tests and surveys). Tuesday, we spent several minutes on a choral warm-up...working on specific parts, careful intonation, breathing, listening, clarity of tone, and diction. It was becoming tedious, until...they performed the simple song again, all together. It was beautiful. The female voices were finally balanced by the strong basses and tenors. It was the first music we read together this year, just a warm up. But it was enough to encourage me for the rest of the day.

The beginner strings class is overwhelmingly large this year. It's fun. But it will be a challenge to keep them all focused...finding the delicate balance of keeping the more advanced students interested and engaged while not leaving the true beginners behind.
One little girl today was early for class, so she decided to impress me by telling me that she already knew how to play "Twinkle, Twinkle." Most of the time, when I tell her how to do something she just says "I KNOW," so I was interested to see if her claim was true. As she sawed violently back and forth accross the strings with her bow, she attempted to cover the sound of the poor shrieking instrument by singing (loudly) "Twinkle, Twinkle little star..." I tuned her violin for her. I knew it wouldn't help. Just before I handed the instrument back to her, she looked at me and said "Are you gonna give me my violin back or not!"
Most of my kids are really sweet.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Some of my favorite things...

...last night I had a dream about isaac and will. There was no plot. Just lots of happy smiles and Will's 'cooing' laughter. It was so comforting and beautiful.

...I had this dream around 7:45 AM. Yes, that's right, I was still sleeping then. I have Mondays off.

...Before I went to sleep last night, I got to spend time with my very best friend, Mandy, who lives too far away. While we shared warm bread and olive oil, we enjoyed talking about lots of fun things. I always feel so loved and comfortable with Mandy. She is the best kind of friend. I miss her already.

...On Saturday, I had a total of 6 phone calls that all started with singing (usually the whole song) "Happy Birthday to you..."
One of the phone calls included several singers...of whom a few continued to sing the song over and over for the entire phone call...screaming "CHA CHA CHA" each time they ended.

...Living next door to these two amazing kids allows me to hear their laughter in the backyard and see their tricks on the trampoline. Sometimes we can hear them outside of our window in the morning, leaving for school. I even get to be their music teacher at school too. I think that is my favorite part of my job.

...This Thursday, Ryan and I will be starting a dance class in Grand Haven for eight weeks. He is the best gift-giver I have ever known. (This is truly a sacrificial gift. I think he is dreading it, but he knows how much I love to dance with him.)

...Tonight, I will be going to my art class (another present from my sweet husband-from a birthday two years ago).

...In less than a month, I get to spend a long weekend at the cabin with this wonderful man, and two of our really good friends.

...I have many encouraging friends who listen when I whine about my disapointment and wounded pride. People who know the right things to say to help me heal and remind me of all the joy in my life too. Thank you.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

they didn't need me.

I'm feeling down. but not as much as i thought.

I kind of knew after the audition that I didn't get the job. The pieces they chose were the most difficult, and I didn't play them flawlessly. And hearing another violinist in the warmup room next door helped me know what I was up against.

The personnel manager for the symphony just called to say that they had filled the positions that they needed and couldn't offer me a job in the symphony this year. "There were some really good candidates. It was a tough audition." The'll keep my name on their 'sub-list' in case they ever need one.

Sadly for me, this is kind of a first. I *imagine* the feeling of disapointment much more than it actually happens to me. So I guess it's good for me. I've never really taken a risk like that before. (We'll see if I ever do that again now!! :)

So...I really should have just kept this whole audition thing to myself. I know it shouldn't be, but public rejection is really worse.

Some recent conversations and circumstances in my life have put this in perspective though. It's disappointing, but my life is already too rich and full to complain. I have a near perfect life. An amazing husband...a really loving, fun family, and a job I love (that already takes up too much time). I am so blessed. A little disappointed today, but when I'm enjoying a few evenings at home this year, I'll think of how much more exhaused I could have been had I been allowed to take on one more thing.

In other news, I *will* be playing later this month at the Dogwood Center Black Box theatre again with two of the performing artists ('Mother Soul' and Chris Cordle) on September 24th. That will be a fun outlet. Maybe I'll get to do more freelance and studio playing this year than I thought.

Friday, September 09, 2005



Doesn't that sound old?

But I've always been a sort-of 'old soul' a more mature age doesn't really bother me. I've always pictured myself as an old lady...except for the disturbing premonition I used to have that I would die young. That's just my morbid, dramatic way of thinking (even when I was a little girl). Maybe it's because my mother, everytime she left for a trip...or even just to go out...would hug me violently, often sobbing, telling me that she loved me...and that I could have her piano and her dishes if...

That dark way of looking at life did help me to understand human frailty. I don't usually take time or relationships for granted...knowing that I am not guaranteed tomorrow. But I do feel things a little too deeply.

Right now...I'm feeling deeply overwhelmed by tomorrow. Not my birthday. Usually I look forward to that.
Tomorrow, at 2:40 I have my audition in Grand Rapids.

I may have news to post tomorrow. (gulp) Thanks for all your encouragement and accountability to at least follow through on this.

If they choose someone else, I think I'll take it as a sign that God is showing me that I can't handle one more thing this year.

(Actually, that is just what I'm using to deny the reality that I just might not be good enough--It's much easier to identify my failure as God's will. So we'll just call it that.)

I don't have every note under my fingers. There's just too much music...and difficult music. I've improved my playing noticeably though (at least to me). And I feel really good about what I've accomplished as a violinist...something I haven't felt in a long time.

So regardless of what tomorrow brings, I know that this is good. (Even if *I'm* not good enough.)


On Fridays, I have three different kindergarten classes.

Today was my first Friday.

After introducing myself as "Mrs. Corbin" and singing our silly attendance song, I was carefully explaining how "good listeners" act in music class. But I was interrupted....and then again as I later introduced a new song, and I introduced the students to my violin. A little boy kept standing up. As he raised his hand he would ask, "are we gonna watch a movie on that screen?"

After reminding him to wait until being called on to talk, I told him "no, we are not going to watch a movie" and that "the screen is up for singing in chapel later today."

Still, every few seconds, he would ask again, "are we going to watch a movie?" "what's that screen for?"

but my favorite moment of the day...was when after failing to get my attention, he finally blurted out very seriously and with some annoyance, "Mrs. Corndog??"

Thursday, September 01, 2005

It was true...

Some readers predicted long periods of silence when school started.

Sorry. They were right.

I just finished my first week with students. ( a short week, no school tomorrow!)
I enjoyed it so much more than the previous week...organizing, planning, meetings,...more meetings.

One thing I love about being a music teacher is that I keep getting the same kids back every year. I get to watch them change and grow, and my relationship with them only deepens.

It was a fun beginning, but I'm ready to enjoy the long weekend now.

* * *

The concert at the Dogwoood... was so exciting to be a part of. I am always amazed by musicians who can intertwine meaningful thoughts and words with complex and beautiful music. Someday I think I'll start writing a lot of music.

Phoebe was there performing 'smelly cat'. Actually her name was Anisa, and she *was* a talented singer, unlike her "Friends" look-alike. But she *did* sing a song that had the word "stinky" and the word "cat" in the same sentence.

"Two Dog" came onto the stage alone...wearing jeans, a button-up flannel shirt, and an ill-fitting baseball hat over his long gray braids and earings. He had one of the most soothing, peaceful voices I've ever heard. He spoke about gratitude and hope and generosity. His English and Ottowan words were full of grace and genteleness. He sang unaccompanied. It was breathtaking.

Meeting so many talented musicians was inspiring. I might even get to play on some of their recordings in the future.

* * *

I'll be auditioning for the WSSO next Saturday. Until this week, I've been so worried and preoccupied by this.
For some reason, I don't feel like my whole identity hinges upon this anymore. I desperately want to play this year. But life will continue if I can't. And life will still have plenty of beauty and happiness...despite the disapointment.

* * *

In my long silence, I've even neglected my blog reading!
But I've heard rumors that all three of my brothers are now blogging again!
You must promise to still at least feign interest in my blog though.

* * *

Ryan has given me a guilt trip for writing endlessly about myself while there are multitudes of people starving, homeless, and hurting all over the world.
He was only teasing.
But he's right.

We watched an incredible film tonight about some beautiful children living in a 'red light' district. "Born into Brothels"
The children speak eloquently about their unlikely dreams for their future, their fears of acquiring their mothers' life work, and their love of art and beauty despite the filth and evil surrounding them.

Again, we were reminded of our vast wealth and privillege.

* * *

okay. i'm done.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

i did not practice today.

I did go to Target with my husband just to wander around before we met my parents for...

mountains of maranatha ice cream... in a cone...turned upside down

and a was "homeschool talent show night" at the snack shack...i'll let ryan blog about that one. he claimed it :)

fun conversations with my mom and dad about church, and scripture, post-modern thought, and theology

I think I have a rare and beautiful gift to have parents (including inlaws) that continually and deliberately show unconditional love and interest...with so much wisdom, and openness. I hope that when I am a parent/grandparent that I will be as flexible and thoughtful as they have been to their children-willing to dialogue about, question and even reconsider my ways of thinking, to teach and offer wisdom and experience, and still continue to learn until I die.

. . .

My far away niece, Jaelyn, had her first day at a new school today (first grade). It sounds like it turned out beautifully. It is no surprise that she found friends. Her great ability to create FUN and her incredible compassion and generosity will always make her a wonderful friend. Still, new schools are scary. (at least for me)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

as late afternoon sun flooded my living room...

...with warm yellow light,
three new friends filled my house with music.

minor chords,
hesitantly srummed.
two powerful smoky voices singing
haunting lyrics.
a viola
and cello echoing sadness
a djembe
evoking loneliness and distance

It was the music of SADE (but with an 'earth-ier', raw sound)...

"There is a woman in somalia
The sun gives her no mercy
The same sky we lay under
Burns her to the bone...

There's a force stronger than nature
Keeps her will alive
That's how she's dying
She's dying to survive
Don't know what she's made of
I would like to be that brave
She cries to the heaven above
There is a stone in my heart
She lives a life she didn't choose..."

I'm excited to play again, under stage lights, in an intimate room built for accoustics...maybe you can hear it too, when we play tegether this Saturday at the Dogwood Center.

Music has been heavy on my mind this week. Though the challenge and risk of what's ahead is exhilarating, I've also made it something stressful. Somehow I've worked myself into believing that my whole validity as a musician (even as a person) hinges upon this one audition. That if I have to face rejection, all the other opportunities I have to play will somehow disappear too. But they won't. I'll always do this. And this year isn't my last chance to ever play in a symphony.

I forgot how much I love being with other musicians.

Tonight was a perfect outlet to just play. Enjoying the process of creating...sharing something.

. . .

I just got off the phone with the principal of one of my schools...and I committed myself to another class. How am I EVER going to fit 30+ private students into my crowded week? I think I will experience great shock in a few days after my lazy summer of reading, blogging, and travel.

Monday, August 22, 2005


My friend Rachel reminded me today about the incredible Story that should always preoccupy my thoughts.
Instead, I anxiously dwell on uncontrollable future events, past mistakes, insignificant frustrations, shallow desires...

..."how much more should our every day and every thought be consumed by the agony of hurting our loving God, our Creator, of sinning day after day and laughing about it. Yet Christ does not want us to walk in this misery, he wants us to walk in irrepressible joy, as one walking forth from a prison, our jail-time paid by his death."

A song I love came to my mind...

My chains fell off,
my heart was free!
I arose, went forth
and followed Thee
Amazing Love!
How can it be
That Thou, my God
shouldst die for me?

Daniel talked this week about chains...about what it means to be truly set free. How we sometimes like to go back to our bondage even though Someone died...for us to be free. I passionately sing together with my family of believers about my freedom and my "new life," but daily I use sarcastic, thoughtless words. I make value judgements of people based on physical, intellectual, social appearances. I live in luxury, consuming, wasting, and sometimes wanting more.

So if I'm really free,...and I'm really following--like the song says, I think the journey would probably lead me to people that are hurting. I'd most likely have lots of opportunities to show love and generosity like Jesus.

I'm pretty sure that happens every day. But I'm usually thinking about my own needs, and hopes, and insecurities. And I miss it.

In my better moments, those few times when I *am* aware, I get a glimpse of that fulfilling joy of true freedom.
I hope tomorrow is filled with that kind of living.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

getting nervous

maybe it's the frapuccino I just finished at midnight...

I'm so jittery.

The West Shore Symphony just updated it's website-posting dates and requirements for their auditions...less than a month away! I just finished marking my music, downloading recordings of the pieces, and searching for online performance notes and advice from other violinists. That prep work *feels* like practice. But it's not. And now I need to...though my neighbor who is preaching in a few hours might not appreciate my midnight serenade. I'll have to wait until tomorrow.

It isn't like me to publicly announce opportunities for failure. I'm usually quite secretive about plans like this. In a few weeks, I may be blogging about my terrible audition experience. But I've already committed to this, so at least I'll have to follow through...whatever the results.

I would be so happy to be even a substitute violinist. But it looks like they only have one regular violin opening, and the auditions are in Grand Rapids, so that could immensely broaden the competetive aspect. If they're looking for locals, I'm that. But my instinct tells me that they're looking for professionals. I'd like to be that, but my experience just isn't. I'm a teacher, who wants to play professionally.

The rehearsal schedule is quite full. So maybe this is too much right now anyways. I'm still going to try. I'll just console myself with that if they don't hire me.

On a calmer note....I love Mr. Darcy.
Misconceptions, pride, ...and prejudice. Oh the drama of Jane Austen.

Friday, August 19, 2005

my day of golf

Fun students.
They played for two hours, entertaining generous golfers at a fundraising golf outing for "Spread the Music."

Now i'm off to another golf course... for more stringed music.
Silver & String Quartet has a wedding.


My summer days have just about vanished. Part of me feels the loss...deeply.

But my mind has been on school for a few weeks now. I'm looking forward to the routine and the productivity. I love interacting with students. They give me so much life. And purpose. I've spent too much time in solitude (unfortunately Ryan has not convinced Pratt & Whitney to give him the summers off too). Though I love being alone, at the beach, in a book store, at home, I couldn't survive like this for very long.

I haven't been bored. In fact, there are not many days that I remember just being at home. I just crave people. Soon, I'll be talking to myself. And I'm not complaining. I treasure my summer. If they decided to postpone the start of school by another month, I wouldn't protest. But now, I'm just waiting, and trying to enjoy the last moments of rest.

I'm just glad I have work that is so meaningful to look forward to. Spending my days investing in people is so fulfilling (and sometimes draining....I'm not delusional).