It is hard to believe that this will be the fifth consecutive year for the Voice Lifted Christmas Benefit Concert, This year’s event will be on Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 2:30 pm. This event will, as in the past years, benefit the Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation and the Tamaqua Community Arts Center. 100% of the ticket money will go to these two organizations, with each receiving 50%. Tickets will be $8 in advance and $10 at the door. You may call 570-818-4135 for advance tickets. Returning to the stage as guest performers this year will be Emily Barrett and Tom Flamini.
If you have not attended a Voice Lifted Christmas Benefit Concert in the past, I invite you to experience this event as a way to lift your spirit and to do something for yourself this holiday season that will help you to connect with the deeper meaning of Christmas. My intention each year is to make this concert a retreat from the busyness of the season, a time to breathe & go within, and a time to reflect on who we are and how God is present in each of us and in our world. The concert will include familiar Christmas songs as well as many unfamiliar pieces that explore our relationship with the Divine, our human experiences and emotions, and our connection to the past and to the future. A favorite part of the concert in past years in addition to the music was the improvised sharing of personal stories and messages. I look forward to opening my heart to the inspiration of the Spirit and seeing how God speaks through me in this annual event.
Please contact me with any questions about the concert or if you would like to purchase tickets in advance.
As I shared last year, I love singing holiday and Christmas music, and I am again excited to be performing my music to benefit the arts in my community and to benefit the school district that I graduated from and where I now teach.
I invite you to my concert. It meant so much to me last year to have family, friends, supporters, and fans in the audience. I again hope to have a good turnout in order to benefit the Tamaqua Community Arts Center and the Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation so that they may continue to do the wonderful things they do!
Please contact me if you would like to purchase tickets in advance. You may also buy tickets at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center.
Yesterday, we had a snow day from school. With snow, sleet, and freezing rain coming down throughout the morning and early afternoon, school was cancelled.
Snow days are a rare treat. While it’s always nice to have a scheduled day off, those unexpected days off are a refreshing break from routine. Whenever I have a scheduled day off, I almost always plan something – make my doctor’s appointments, plan a little trip, get set up to do a project, make plans to have lunch and go out shopping with friends or with my mom, or reserve the day for catching up on grading for the university courses I’m teaching. But when those snow days come up unexpectedly, there are no plans that have been made, and it’s not safe to go out and travel the roads anyway.
On a snow day, I can enjoy leisure reading, a bubble bath, or time on Facebook with no guilt whatsoever. I can enjoy an extra long meditation session or bake something tasty and sweet. I can work ahead on things I know I have coming up. I can play some new songs on the piano – just for fun, not in preparation for any upcoming performance. There are no expectations; there’s no nagging voice in the back of my head, listing all the things I “should” be doing. I’ve been given permission to be totally in the moment and to ask myself what I feel like doing. That really feels great.
Do you have memories of spending “snow days” in fun ways as a child…or as an adult? How often do you allow yourself to have those days in which you have no agenda…no expectations for what should be accomplished by the day’s end? I enjoyed yesterday’s snow day very much, and I look forward to the next snow day. I now want to play with the idea of allowing myself to have that same experience more often…even when there is no inclement weather in the forecast.
Tomorrow will be the first day of school for many students and teachers. This is a time of year that comes with mixed feelings for many. While students, parents, and teachers don’t want to say “good-bye” to the carefree days of summer, the return to a routine schedule feels good in some ways…and then there are the Friday night football games, the fall craft fairs, apple pies, and the comfort of a warm sweatshirt on a cool night.
This will be a change, and ready or not, it’s here. Change is often resisted, yet we usually know that we need change in order to keep moving and growing. Change means letting go of one thing and allowing something else to take its place. The ‘letting go’ is important, because it allows room for something new. Beginnings can make us nervous; we get anxious about those unknowns ahead. Yet, beginnings are also a refreshing opportunity to start fresh.
I am at a period in my life where change seems to be the only constant. I am learning through the uncertainty that the unknowns can be embraced. I am learning to surrender, and I am learning that it feels good to surrender. By nature, I like to feel “in control” of things. But that “control” is only an illusion. Any moment, things can change in a split second…or they might stay how they are for longer than we think. We have no answers, and if we spend all of our time asking questions, we miss the brilliance of the present moment. So going into this year, I’m not thinking too far ahead. I’m not worrying if I’ll be able to keep up with the new demands of this year. I’m also not fretting over the things I didn’t fit into my summer…those projects I said I’d get to that never made it into the hours of June, July, and August. Instead, I’m embracing the present moment, embracing the change, and staying open to noticing how it is all feeling for me. And right now…I’m noticing that I don’t feel nervous at all.