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Year Three, Day 99: Simple Gifts

What I am feeling grateful for today:

Dinner with son last night.

My daughter.

My granddaughter - coming soon!

Students eager to learn.

Friends wanting to play music with me.

Moving with strength, absence of pain.

Clear mind. Clear lungs.

Love of family, friends, life.

A cool summer breeze.



Speaking of which, I am at chamber music rehearsal. I am listening to a beautiful piece being played by a cellist, violinist and flautist. Trio #2 by Hiroshi. We are in the church I teach at on Saturday. It gets very hot in here. I have the side door open, box fan blowing slightly cooler early afternoon air into the sanctuary. I played the first three Russian folk songs with cello and voice. They asked me to fill in for their regular pianist who is on vacation. I've played with them before. The vocalist is my friend. I was having anxiety earlier. Hot church, worried about way too many things beyond my control. Wishing I had the evening free to do my library blogging, hit the gym, go sit and read at Starbucks with an iced tea. My usual comfortable routine.

But then suddenly everything changed. The music returned and touched something that had almost died inside. I am filled with joy. My earlier funky mood has dissipated, like smoke in the air. My anxieties forgotten.

I need to play more music. Not want.


I must sound insane. I have been in this place far too many times.

Earlier I was tense and anxious. I was worrying about finances, and the logistics of adding caring for my new grandbaby into my schedule. Amongst many other things beyond my control.

I realize now that I did not start day with prayer.

When will I learn?

Maybe God sent the music. To remind me to look up, to let go of earthly concerns. To let myself be elevated to a higher realm.

I am inspired. I see my path more clearly.

I do love teaching. But now that I am playing again, I see that I need to make room for music. I am thinking perhaps another church pianist job.

Now that I am healthier in many ways, I think I am ready to put myself out there again. Older, and hopefully humbler and wiser than before.

I sat down earlier and practiced a few pieces for an upcoming church pianist sub gig at a Presbyterian church.

I decided on Simple Gifts as a postlude.

I thought I'd share my practice with you. I love this arrangement:

The lyrics for the hymn "Simple Gifts" were written by Joseph Brackett (1797-1882), a Shaker. The tune was later made famous by Aaron Copeland. And there have been many arrangements.

The original song just had one lovely verse:

"Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free
'Tis a gift to come down where I ought to be
And when I am in the place just right
I will be in the valley of love and delight
When true simplicity is gained
To bow and to bend I will not be ashamed
To turn, to turn will be my delight
'Til by turning, turning, I come 'round right".

Simplicity is a theme I keep returning to in my life. And it is my theme for today as I count my blessings and music my way out of a funky mood.

Music. Prayer. Exercise. Healthy food. Hard work. Family. And a good night's sleep.

These are life's simple gifts. And all too often taken for granted.
Happy Saturday.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Love and blessings,


p.s. Today was day 65 of my daily hooping project!


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