Thursday, December 07, 2006

a perfect Christmas concert for children...

Horse drawn sleigh rides through the downtown,
Christmas ornament decorating,
the West Shore Symphony Orchestra,
orchestra conducting lessons from a real conductor,
a chance to try all the musical instruments of the "Instrument Petting Zoo!"

The West Shore Symphony Orchestra's "Family Traditions" pre-concert event
1:00-2:45pm, before the 3:00pm Matinee on Dec. 16th
Specially priced main floor reserved seating and holiday activities for the whole family!

Special Matinee Offer...

For more information call 231-726-3231 or visit
Tickets are available at the Frauenthal Box Office, or at Star Tickets Plus Outlets, online at, or by calling 800-585-3737. Ticket prices are $14-$41 with discounts for students, seniors, and groups.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snow Day

My school is closed.

We were planning to stay home anyways. Maya and I were, that is. We both wish 'Daddy' could be home too.

We're feeling very tucked-in and sheltered from the blustery scene outside our window. Days at home without a mile long to-do list are always refreshing. But the icy wonderland outside and the mountain of snow in our driveway make our quiet warm house seem even more serene.

Tomorrow will be filled with activity...accompanying a viola student at Solo & Ensemble, conducting my string ensembles in their Christmas Concert at the Art Museum, visiting Barnes & Noble to hear a student String Quartet, and dinner with friends.

But today, ethereal Christmas music sung by choirs in far away cathedrals has been floating through our house all day (compliments of our beloved Pandora Radio).

And we're basking in the pleasure of... a new story book from Great Grandma Corbin (with Maya's own hand-crocheted mitten), hazelnut coffee, warm baths (one for each of us), restful reading, the scent of clean laundry,...

...and Maya's first Christmas tree.

Monday, November 27, 2006

'Tis the Season

A month of performances...

...tomorrow I'm taking my High School String Quintet to the Art Museum to play Christmas music for the "Festival of Trees"

...Thursday, I'm being observed by our Assistant Superintendent

...Saturday, all of my String Ensembles are giving a 12:00 Christmas Concert at the Muskegon Museum of Art..after I accompany one of my viola students at Solo & Ensemble in the morning Tuesday, I'm taking my Middle and High School Choirs to sing Christmas Carols at the Hume Home

...Tuesday, Dec. 12th, my HS Choir is singing at a dinner for brain injury victims downtown Muskegon.

...and Thursday, Dec. 14th, all of my musical groups (K-4th music classes, Strings students, Middle & High School Choirs) have the Calvary Christian School Christmas Concert...

..and Saturday, Dec. 16th, Ryan and I are volunteering at the West Shore Symphony's "Home for the Holidays" Christmas Event

Somewhere in the next few weeks....I'll finish Christmas shopping, enjoy every day with Maya, focus my heart on the hope of Advent, prepare my mind and spirit for Christmas...and the peace that it brings.

...and I'll be dreaming of Christmas break, of hot baths & hot chocolate, finishing a book or two, sleeping by the Christmas tree, evening conversations with family, and days with Maya.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Proof that Dick Devos is creepy...

Write in Rudd.
This is My Stove...

Write in Rudd for Governor.
Because Dick Devos is creepy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Elgar's Cello Concerto and Madeleine L'Engle...

...breathed life back into me.

Also...I remembered that I am loved.

The emptiness doesn't seem quite so thick today.


"When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable."

Madeleine L'Engle, "Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art"

Oswald Chambers had harsh words for me tonight...

"Why shouldn’t we experience heartbreak? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. Most of us collapse at the first grip of pain. We sit down at the door of God’s purpose and enter a slow death through self-pity. And all the so-called Christian sympathy of others helps us to our deathbed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, as if to say, "Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine." If God can accomplish His purposes in this world through a broken heart, then why not thank Him for breaking yours?"

Thursday, October 26, 2006


That seems to be the state of my intellect lately.

Though becoming a mother has overwhelmed me with unimaginable love, the purest happiness, new depth...

...the practicality and repetition of daily life seem to be shutting down my ability to think or care about much else.

Do you ever just have really dry spells?
Creatively, spiritually, mentally...

It's almost as if the euphoria of my time spent with Maya and my immeasurable joy in being her Mother has drained me of all other ability to care.

Or maybe I care too much...about all the real and imagined problems of the people around me that I love. Either way, the weight of my emptiness is tangible.

I'm so disappointed with myself. I have everything. Most of the time, I feel intoxicated with gratitude and happiness. My heart has never been so full of love as it is now for Maya and Ryan. Still, sometimes I feel like I'm disconnected somehow...from my former self...from God.
Until a few days ago, I haven't even been honest enough with myself to notice this.

It's quite self-absorbed, I know. It's whining, self-pity, ingratitude, prayerlessness....


Does everyone experience moments of sheer disappointment? With no apparent cause?


Now there's a really enticing "welcome back to my blog!' first post in a month."

Probably far too personal. I do apologize....but you must consider:
1) my level of exhaustion at 11:30 PM,
2) the intense ability/habitual tendency that I have to *feel* everything, and
3) my inability to filter my expression of my feelings.

I am completely transparent (and hopelessly dramatic)...definite flaws. I'll certainly live to regret them.

I promise, when my inspiration returns, I'll think of something really great to make up for such a depressing post.

For now, here's the best way I know how to make it up to you...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

so...desperation leads me to use my blog as a tacky, tasteless platform to beg for help.

any experienced painting friends want to paint ??

Home Depot mixed our paint wrong, so all the progress we've made today (the first ...and maybe only saturday without rain in weeks) is wasted and one whole side of the house will now need one or two coats of the right color to be repainted.

We know that the big game is on. Maybe tomorrow??

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

painting houses on forest hills

Eight or nine years ago my brother and his wife bought a cute little cape cod house on Forest Hills Rd. Only, it wasn't so cute then. The now beautiful hardwood floors were not only covered with hideous carpet but were also nearly destroyed by the damp mess left by unattended dogs and/or cats. You should see their floors now. Stunningly smooth with a glossy cherry finish.

One of the other major projects was to paint the exterior. So one hot summer day, I and a few of my friends came over to help paint. As we covered the dingy shade of green with fresh white paint, I focused most of my energy on flirting with a boy I liked.

Neither of us (that boy...or me) could have ever dreamed that one day, David and Marianne would be helping US paint the house next door. And that it would be *our* house...with *our* baby inside.

It's actually all blue now...just needs a second coat in places. White trim needs to be painted...and the brick foundation.
If it would stop raining on the weekends, we'd be able to finish!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

just before sleep on saturday night

Not much to say.

It's simply been too long.

The familiar routine of school is slowly taking over my life... a different sort of routine than that of my new 'Mayan' need for predictability. Both structure inducers bring good things. Neither seem to ever completely settle into 'the swing of the things' (as is always expected to happen but never actually does).

Our house is no longer black.

I miss its 'goth-ness' but I do like the new nautical/ beach-y/ Ralph Lauren-ish look...
(more work still to be done, help is welcome, to come)

Tuesday morning will be painful. But it is still days away...

I do love my days with students. And my days with Maya even more.

Stability, contentment seem real at this moment. Even easy.

"..but every day I am swayed by whatever is on mind."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

how lucky are we?!?

We just get to have fun together all day.

Knowing that the end of summer--the best summer of my life-- is near has made it a rough week. For some reason, I feel like when school begins, all of this time with Maya will end.

It seems like a cruel trick. That I've created this safe and consistent, happy world for her that is only an illusion. That soon, I won't be there whenever she wakes up. And she doesn't even know it yet.

Really it will only be two days a week that she'll get to spend with her Grandmas who will spoil her and overwhelm her with love and attention.

And I love my job--it is meaningful, doesn't even feel like work most of the time. I have new textbooks for my elementary classes! Beautiful books, CD's, DVD's, computer programs, visuals...I've never had real music curriculum before! I care so deeply for 'my kids'. I have always loved seeing them every day, watching them learn and grow, finding new passions and abilities.

But my heart just isn't as available as it used to be. It is so unreservedly Maya's now.

The reality of going to work, and leaving just a few weeks is growing more tangible. And far more painful than when it was just an idea in the distant future. She still seems so little. Lately, my tears are so close to the surface. (So unlike me...actually not.)

Just two days a week....I'll still have five days with her.

It will be okay.
People do this every day.
She will be fine.
No one else could take better care of her or love her more than her Grandmas.

I am so lucky that I even have this beautiful daughter to feel so torn over.

She will be okay.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Maya got to spend an hour with her Uncle David today. From what I hear, they had a really fun time.

I didn't.

I had to attend a funeral...alone. My parents' neighbor died this week after several difficult months of cancer attacking one organ after another. My parents are at the cabin right now. So because I grew up next door, wandered often through their extensive gardens, and played occasionally with his grandchildren, I was sent as the representative of my family. As I approached the church, I wondered what I would say... or if I needed to say anything...
The line to sign the guest book trailed out the doors. There were hundreds of people filling the pews--probably more than on most Sundays. I felt out of place, awkward without my daughter, without Ryan...or anyone. It wasn't a terrible feeling, just strange and uncomfortable. The only familiar face was the Marie, the widow.

And suddenly I realized how completely alone *she* was. How uncomfortable and awkward her new role must be.

Her fragile smile looked tired as she greeted her friends and family members. Always a hostess. They used to throw dinner parties together on their patio and in the gazebo, surrounded by carefully tended flowers, winding brick paths, a small waterfall cascading into a tiny pond filled with goldfish. They were best friends.

After the benediction, I got to go hold Maya and meet my best friend for lunch. He promised me that he'd never die.

Monday, July 24, 2006

In four days...

I'll be here...

with my two favorite people.

do you see the girl in the orange hat??

I watched her reach down to get her cell phone out of her purse.... I waited on the other end of the line for her to answer.

Look a little closer...

It's Kim! and the guy next to her in the orange shirt is Rob! And that's me on the phone. I'm on TV

She even waved to me!

They were on the screen for most of the game, their seats being right behind home plate. I've never watched the television screen so intently during a Tigers game before. If baseball comes on I usually fall asleep, if I even stay in the room that long.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

my best friend came to visit...

Aren't Mandy and Josh so cute together?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

100th post

Go ahead. You can comment with your congrats. I know you are impressed.

I taught eight violin/viola lessons today. It was my first moderately long day of working since Maya's birthday. And despite my fear that Maya would feel neglected, she actually got pretty spoiled. As each new student came to the door, their mother would snatch Maya from the previous student's Mom and hold her for the entire lesson. She got a lot of attention today. And a ridiculous amount of..."OH!! She is SO beautiful." "I think she has got to be the prettiest baby in the whole world!" "REALLY! She is GOR-geous!" Though I am in complete agreement with these claims, I did cringe a little with embarrassment... and fear that my daughter will end up being utterly vain. My mother always tried to emphasise the value of inner beauty. I could just hear her voice in my mind correcting Maya's admirers with, "But MOST of all, she is kind."

So after a long day of listening to violins and violas, showing off her delightful smile, and being held by a million sweet strangers, Maya felt a little sad. She just wanted me to hold her. And I felt the same way.

Friday, July 14, 2006

"Hello Ohio, the back roads. I know Ohio..."

It was fun to be back in the State of our early days of marriage. I remembered a few things that I loved about Ohio...

The rest stops on the toll road.
They not only have TCBY, but also Panera...AND Starbucks. Crazy. Ohio does some things right.

The winding roads.
I will cherish my memories of this weekend, driving down twisting roads covered by huge tree branches and glittering sunlight. Catching up with Rachel. Feeling younger. Remembering how much I miss the girls.

Historic brick mansions.
Maya and I enjoyed strolling through the gardens, soaking in the beauty of the pools and greenery, sipping ice tea before we feasted inside the Oneil House at Marc and Allison's Rehearsal Dinner.

Friends. Though only a few of them are truly 'Ohioans', some of my deepest and most enduring friendships were made in Ohio. The setting pulled from my mind memories from college of packed cars racing down hills and around curves, weekends in Akron, Cincinnati, Kentucky. Falling in love with the music of Franck, Chopin, Ben Folds, Miss Saigon. Being with my best friends in dorm rooms, Theaters, Opera Houses, college towns, Coffee shops, YellowSprings, Chipotle, Easton, The Cheesecake Factory, art museums, downtown streets of Cincinnati, recital halls, practice rooms, Ballets.
The yearly weddings are always a fun excuse to see eachother, but the time is always far too busy and short.

Andy, Lynn, Jaelyn, & Addison. Walks around the circle. Ice Cream. Endless attention for Maya from her cousins. Morning coffee. Silly games of scherades. Basmati rice. Pandora radio (you *will* love it.) Coffee freezes and smoothies in downtown Canton. Huge, monumental slides. Lots of singing. Unending piano music. Ave Maria. Stories. Laughter. Avocado Chicken. And Aunt Lynn and Maya meeting for the first time.

Lynn's cookies.

Singing the benediction while holding hands accross the pews
at Vermilion Evangelical and Reformed Church. On our way home on Sunday, we visited our old church in Vermilion where Ryan was a youth pastor. It was so fun to show off our sweet babygirl. And surprising to see almost all of our 'kids'...who were much taller, older, smarter, and no longer middle-schoolers. We walked in as the service started and didn't see any of them there, but by the end of the sermon, our pew had been slowly filled (thanks to cell phones, we think). So as I was saying, we ended the service like always... holding hands, singing a blessing to the tune of Edelweiss...really!

So Maya loved Ohio. This is how she actually looked for most of the trip!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

maya's first road trip

Tomorrow morning, I will leave town with my parents (something I've done countless times before)....and my daughter (something I've never done before). This will be Maya's very first long trip.
She's very excited about it.

We're transporting a piano to 'casacommunitas' (my brother's house in Canton, Ohio).

It is the piano that first taught me to make and love music. My brothers and I grew up listening to our mother's unmistakeable style of arranging hymns on this piano. Falling asleep to her 'sweeping glissandos.' Soon the piano will be at Andy's house for his family to enjoy it's music as he did.... (an excerpt from his mother's day post a few years ago)...

"Lying in bed with the lights out and down the long hallway of the ranch house echo the gentle fingers of my mother playing and playing and playing the piano. Sometimes she would be practicing a particularly troublesome phrase, more often --just playing. Laying there hovering just above sleep I would feel profoundly that the music was a kind of visceral fabric that bound my brothers and sister and father together throughout the otherwise quiet house in the rhythms, the melodies, the countermelodies and always, the sweeping glissandos.

My mom drags her finger up the keyboard, but then slows each of the last notes to one by one keys at the top of the scale and just before the next musical phrase starts there is the slightest of pauses, too brief to fit all of these words into, but long enough that your soul starts to yearn expectantly toward the resolution of the chord, the forward motion of the music, the next great possibility."

I can't wait to hug my Jaelyn and Addison and see them love their new cousin, Maya.

Ryan is coming too, but he can't leave until Thursday after work. We are going to my beautiful friend Al's wedding. (An early wedding rehearsal being the reason that Maya and I are tagging along with my parents on wednesday.) I can't wait to dance to the music of the jazz trio at the reception...

and to be with all of them again...

I miss my friends!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Back to work....kind of

After almost two months away from students, I got to see some of 'my kids!' It wasn't really like work though. We had a lot of fun spending our mornings together this week...making music, working hard. But I'm pretty sure they came for the swimming. Especially that one on the right that couldn't even wait until we were done taking pictures! :)

This week was the fifth annual Summer Strings Clinic. I first started the tradition while I was in high school...then I took a few years off as a college student and as a newlywed. Some of my first Strings Clinic students graduated from high school this year.
In fact, you might recognize some of these little girls...

Left to right: (back row) me--the young teacher :), Hilary Jones, Amanda Nousain, Christy VanAndel, Katie McDonald, (front row) Leanne Enck, Elaina Evans, Stephanie and Laura Kramer.
(If any of you happen to read this) Girls, I am so amazed at the beautiful, talented, and intelligent women that you have become. It is fun to watch you grow up.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

For his first Father's Day present, Ryan told me that he wanted a new blue pinstripe. So, when we finally had a day without a million commitments, we drove to Grand Rapids to hunt for the perfect suit. But on the way to the mall, Ryan suggested a spontanious detour to the Frederick Meijer Gardens.

The Meijer gardens were breathtaking...hundreds, maybe thousands of complex, fragile plants and trees from all over the world growing inside of an enormous glass greenhouse. Among the flowers, there were other masterpieces: sculptures by Degas, Rodin, an artist's recreation of Davinci's horse, and other contemporary pieces. It was an amazing collection of beautiful work.

My grandmother Linda was a gardener. The careful, daily tending and nurturing was a natural part of who she was. She sketched detailed maps of her gardens...labelling each plant and flower. I like to think that I could someday create something that beautiful and alive. I do share many of her traits. Her long thin fingers and toes. Her unruly eyebrows. A bit of her eccentricity. Her love for books, art, shopping, carefully wrapped gifts, Les Cheneaux". But her gardener's blood does not flow through my veins. I lack the dilligence and patience it requires. But I love to enjoy the work of those who have this gift. A walk in any garden inspires me to pay more attention to detail, to think about the complexity of creation, to actually water the few tropical plants in my living room (that I usually allow to slowly die of thirst and neglect).

Maybe someday Maya will learn to love and care for flowers like her great grandmother.
She certainly enjoyed her first day at the gardens.

...we did find a suit. And of course, Ryan looks amazing in it. Maybe someday I'll post a picture of my handsome husband in his Father's Day present from me.

But Maya got him the present he really wanted. A remote control airplane.

Friday, May 12, 2006

maya's first 'outing'

Maya arrived just in time (with only four days to spare) to see her Daddy graduate "Summa Cum Laude" (with highest honors) with his Master's degree last Saturday. She was very impressed...

Actually she slept through the whole ceremony...even when a thoughtless member of the audience blew an air horn only a few feet from her tiny, fragile ears. Her dad was pretty mad about it. You should have seen him jump up from his seat among the graduates, and storm up the bleachers to see if his baby was okay (and to share a few kind words with the man who blew the horn).

Since her first outing was so traumatic, we decided that... just to be safe, we'll just keep her at home from now on. No more outings, ever. She may complain when she's a teenager, but someday she'll understand and thank us.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Saturday, April 29, 2006

one year of blogging

...actually, I missed the anniversary. I think it was a few days ago. It's been a pretty dry spell for this blog. I almost missed a whole month!

In my long silence...

...I've been learning French...

Je voudrais apprendre le français. Nous allons à une classe française le mardi.

Très impressionnant, oui ?

I've been finishing my preparations at work-to leave my classes and performances in the hands of substitutes. And now, I'm finished! Friday was my last day of teaching for the year.

But mostly, I've just been preparing, dreaming, and obsessing over Maya's arrival.

Only ten days!

Maybe less.

Monday, March 27, 2006

"my neglected blog"

...that's the link name that leads to this blog from Maya's blog.
It seems fitting.

Most of my thoughts in some way revolve around her I've been finding it difficult to think of anything worth posting here. It's so hard to find anything else to be worthy of writing about when your whole body is being taken over by another living, breathing, human. It's a bit distracting. Not just my body, but my role as a person, my priorities, my future, my relationships, my desires are all changing. And I'm sure that I have only begun to feel these changes.

But I'm not giving up on my "tranquility in the chaos." So today I'll make a feeble attempt to write some of my 'other' current thoughts...

~Wednesday we saw "Wicked" in Chicago. It was amazing...a beautiful story of friendship, sacrifice, love,...the stage effects were was hilarious, powerful, magical....more thoughts on that later....maybe.

~We'll have a new kitchen soon. Ryan has been spending every spare moment on this current project. Our house is insanely unorganized...or at least it feels that way. Everything from the kitchen...the dishes, pots & pans, small appliances, food, refrigerator,'s all in our dining and living room.
He's repaired a water-damaged portion of the ceiling, torn out the old linoleum, painted the walls, and just finished laying tile and grouting. He is amazing and may have some super-hero powers, but he usually overestimates what is possible to accomplish in one day. He thinks he'll finish tonight...actually, it will probably be finished by this weekend. And that's okay. The end is in sight.

~Thursday night one of my senior students, Amanda, won Showcase (an all-area talent show/scholarship competition) for the second year in a row (unheard of). She is just in a different class as a vocalist and stage performer. I think someday we'll see her on a big stage in Chicago or New York.
I love when my students make me proud. Though I can't really take any credit for her vocal accomplishments, I'm her violin teacher. But on Saturday, all of my highschool string players went to State Solo & Ensemble...and all scored "ones." My top violinists, Christy and Amanda, performed the Bach Double Concerto in D minor, and a string quartet played the first movement of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. For some of them, it was quite a stretch...a bit above their level. But they worked really hard, and the affirmation of their efforts on Saturday was so rewarding. And fun for me to watch.

~On Sunday, we got to listen to my dad teach,...something I miss often. He drew some beautiful pictures of The Church...what it IS....and a lot of things that it is NOT. It reminded me of how precious the Church is to Christ, how much He gave for us. Sometimes, I get so tired of the way that we have lost our perspective and our purpose that I start to just not care anymore. The shopping mall-consumer-driven, performance style of "church", the divisive political and cultural issues that we waste so much time judging and arguing about, the people that seek to control churches (and ruin them) for their own power-hungry insecurities,... It seems hopeless. But despite our constant sin and shallow understanding, Christ's sacrifice in the face of complete hopelessness, makes my apathy ridiculous.

~This thursday at 7:00 PM, I'll be playing at the Dogwood Center in Fremont for a CD Release Party for Chris Cordle's new album, "Seasons, Friends, and Lovers." His music is kind of folk/ easy-listening...with some beautiful arpeggiated guitar picking and smooth vocals.

~There are only four days until Spring Break begins!! (Last year over Spring Break, these two were born.)

And soon, they'll have a new cousin! ...who seems to be stretching at the moment. She's pushing down against the lower left side of my abdomen and pushing up with her feet on my ribs on the right side. (sorry, I can't write or speak this many words without mentioning my main preoccupation.)