The Deed is Done, and other news

The day I dreaded has come – I told my mom our timeline.

If you haven’t figured it out, we also have news on the job front, so here is the latest.

I plan to give notice at the beginning of March and work through the end of May. Then I will have a few weeks to recover. Church job will continue through most of September at least, so I won’t give notice until June or July.

I will be the musical director at Jean’s Playhouse this summer. I was looking forward to working with Scott Severance, but they let him go, so I will be working for a surprise Artistic Director. I will probably oversee the camp too. Ross will play guitar when he isn’t teaching. Speaking of which, he gave notice at NHPR so as of April 1 he is just teaching and such.

On September 20, a week after finishing at Jean’s, I will begin a gig as the band leader and pianist for the Carpenters tribute tour with Judy Pancoast! Ross will play guitar, and we will be able to book gigs when we aren’t performing with her! Should be really fun. I hope it goes well!

Beyond that is anybody’s guess. Let us know if you know of places we should work, cities to visit, etc. Sponsors are also welcome. 🙂

One day at a time. Life is what we make of it, right?

Poverty sucks, but Disney is awesome

Yeah, I know. My poverty revelation isn’t exciting. But the more I read and research, the more I realize that if Ross and I had previously been in comfortably middle class jobs, it would be FAR easier to do what we’re attempting to do. Seems obvious, of course, but if you make more money, you can save more money.

But I said I was going to focus on practicing thankfulness, so that’s what this next post will be about. And I am researching more ways that we can do more with what we have, even if we can’t, say, retire at 40.

I’m thankful that my doctors are taking me seriously. The rheumatologist hasn’t said anything enlightening yet, but I’m still hopeful.

I’m thankful that I have a supportive family who will back us up.

I’m thankful that I was offered a job for the summer, if I want it. It may turn out that that particular opportunity goes away due to some crazy circumstances, but I’m hopeful.

I’m thankful that Judy Pancoast has asked me to musically direct her Carpenters tour this fall. I’m hopeful that between that and our own work,  we can get an exciting schedule together.

I’m thankful that my church so appreciates my work that they gave me a nice Christmas bonus as well as a raise, before I’d even been there a year.

I’m thankful that my arts job gives me the flexibility to attend appointments.

I’m thankful for my husband. He makes it all worth it.

I’m thankful for a loving and relatively sane family.

And final thought for this moment? I’m thankful that due to the generosity of Ross’ sister and husband, we just got back from a one week escape from reality aka Disney World. Since they covered our tickets and housing, we just had to save for the flight and our incidental expenses and food. We enjoyed a much needed break from real life and had a truly marvelous time. It was so good for our relationship – and it got us really excited for RVing because we LOVED being together 24/7.

Life is good. Thanks for reading. Keep at it and I’ll talk to you soon.

Resolving to Kick Ass

It’s January 2nd, which means we’re in the season of New Year’s resolutions. I don’t normally make resolutions – although the idea of them is appealing, I’m definitely of the school that feels like they’re hard to keep, so I prefer to set goals on my own terms – and often privately – to avoid disappointment.

But there is something to be said for accountability, and I have a ton of respect for those who can make, and keep, resolutions. And given that one of my clear resolutions is to make more frequent updates to this blog, it feels appropriate to make the time to talk about my resolutions, as ethereal as I may feel they are in some cases, today.

#1 Take the time to practice thankfulness.

This is something I used to be awesome at. First of all, I’d thank God or whatever power there is at least once every day, almost without fail. I never in a million years thought I’d get worse at that, but I have – I tend to get caught up in my own thoughts and worries and not necessarily take the step of pausing and giving thanks.

One of my friends posts five things he is thankful for on Facebook every single year. I believe he’s entering year three of this discipline, which was intended to last a year only. It is so lovely and inspiring to see his thoughts in my feed each day. I don’t need to copy him, necessarily, but I want to do more to call out my own thankfulness.

As someone who is truly an optimist at heart, I have never struggled to acknowledge all that I’m grateful for. But being sick is really challenging me. If someone asks how I am doing, it is very hard for me to say yes and not feel like I’m lying – if I feel “good” today because I only had to lay down for a break once, does that mean that people will think I’m back to normal? And God forbid we find this is the new normal – I flirt with those ideas but I REALLY am not ready to accept that. So for all of these reasons, I need to be better about practicing thankfulness. I know that as our income drops and RV challenges begin, we will have some VERY challenging days. Better get in the habit now!

#2 Make the time for meditation and exercise.

When I had mono – which I have apparently officially kicked by the way, although a mystery chronic illness (involving fatigue) or two hasn’t been identified yet – I did as little activity as possible. Although I might stretch my legs or my arms, I chose to sit instead of stand, and to lie down instead of sit, as much as possible in order to get over the illness. But now that mono is behind me, exercise, at least gentle exercise, is probably good for me.

For instance, if I have endometreosis, exercise would be good – it actually can lessen the symptoms. And if I had chronic Lyme, for instance, gentle exercises like yoga would be good for me, although running or other more strenuous activities probably should be avoided.

What is crystal clear is that whatever I’m dealing with, my symptoms get infinitely worse when I’m dealing with high stress levels. And what’s my highest stressor currently? Work. Although I’m relatively stress-free playing the piano, just sitting at my desk to work I notice changes in my body. Since I’ve got at least another five months or so before I won’t be doing this job, I need to build in meditation, yoga and some gentle exercise so that I can get through all of this and be the better for it on the other side. This will be a good practice for the new stressors to come, of course.

Making the time to get outside is definitely a part of this – Ross and I took a nice walk yesterday and we both felt better afterwards. When we’re on the road it will be even easier to build the outdoors in. Can’t wait.

#3 Find the time and the energy to keep setting goals – and then make the time and space to work toward reaching them.

There are so many unknowns in our lives right now as we look forward. I’ve got a few possibilities on the horizon for this summer and fall, but so much is still a big ? as I plan. But despite the temptation to sit back and just wait for the time to pass, especially when I’m not feeling well, I know that that would be really foolish of me to do. Just a quick brainstorm tells me I have beanie babies to give away/sell (thanks Gram!), belongings to sort and give away, scores to scan, tour locations to scout, websites to write, set lists to create, and much more. So if I don’t keep setting goals, and perhaps even more importantly, working to reach them, June will arrive and we won’t be ready for it. (I bet a lot of you can relate in your own lives too!)

I’m sure I could make many more resolutions, but I think these are three great ones. And if anyone reading this wants voice or piano lessons, an accompanist, a baker or cook, or anything else that will help get us closer to our goals (resolution #3), please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Let’s all go kick some ass.

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