Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Blog!

I'm at herheartspeakstruth.wordpress.com now! I needed to move away from the Eastman blog and into a new place with new emotions and lots and lots of grace. :)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Applause No More

Well, at least, it isn't audible. Every now and again I receive an email from a grateful mom informing me of her kid's progress on the clarinet. The clarinet... that word is so funny when you think about it. I asked a kiddo to hand me her clarinet today and, I was so exhausted by that point that the only thing going through my head at the moment had nothing to do with technique or reeds or, well, anything important. All I could think was, "Clar-i-net. What a weird word."

It's funny how wrapped up my life has been in an the oddly named piece of hollowed out wood.

I used to want to be a pilot. I have no idea why. Then an astronaut... Then a biologist. Man, I wanted to do something smart and important. Music took over- captivated me. I was actually trapped. Just play. That's all I wanted to do.

Funny how I n.e.v.e.r. wanted to be a teacher for a living. I mean, on the side- SURE! But not all day every day. That was not ever my plan. I am the oldest of 6 kids. I was a teacher from the time I was 2. I was ready to move on.

So, I went to Eastman. I said I was going for the mission field experience. I lied.


Let's be honest. Why do I care s.o.m.u.c.h about what people think? Why did I agonize to the point of irreversible injury over what my teacher and my peers thought of my freshman recital? Why do I care that I did not play perfectly in a Mozart serenade during sophomore year? Why do I care what C,A,J,Y,K,J,M,C,G,S,A, and V all think of my playing? Why am I still s.o.a.n.g.r.y at people who don't even know me? Why do I even care that they didn't want to know me?


No, really. Why? Because I want people to like me.

That performer's certificate I planned to get? YEAH FREAKING RIGHT. I could barely hold my clarinet by that point. And I felt ashamed????????

No one can possibly know. I mean, as disjunct as this post is, my artist heart is even more completely torn and stomped and smashed and.

Yeah. Confused.

I just want people to recognize that I have a voice. Yeah, it got messed up. Yeah, you can say I did it to myself. But, I didn't do anything different from anyone else at that marble-gilded school that needs more practice rooms. I practiced. Sue me.

I have a performance degree. With high distinction. From the Eastman School of Music. It's a piece of paper hanging on my wall. I look at it and wonder sometimes.

Why does that piece of paper matter so much. How can it matter so much and yet so little all at once?

I told a student the other day that I would trade in that piece of paper to get my voice back.


Why do I care about my voice? Isn't it His voice I should be thinking of?

Anointed to teach? That's what someone called me this week. I don't feel capable. I don't trust myself with the precious ones who sit with me every week and try to understand music.

Squeaks. So. Many. Squeaks.

I made a lot of those too. And *people* let me know that this was unacceptable.

I listen to somanysqueakseveryday and pray for patience. Create in me a new heart, Oh God. Renew a steadfast spirit within me.

No one claps for me anymore.

Maybe, just maybe, I can finally get past this craziness that is my need for approval. Maybe, just maybe, I can finally tell God that He really can have it all.

Love them. Love those little musicians. "Let the little children come unto me," said a humble Saviour.

What is wrong with my heart? It is so... confused?



Oh Lord, love them through me despite me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Heaven's benediction rests ever on the home of her who lives to do good."

I am a CLUMSY wife. 4 months in and, seriously, "clumsy" is the ONLY word I can think of to describe my wifehood. Thankfully, Ty seems to love me anyway- and he has his clumsy moments too. Living in a loft apartment equals stepped-on toes every now and then. And sharing a bed means getting rolled over on sometimes as well. Endearing, truthfully.

My clumsiness is completely different. I have this desire to grow into the Proverbs 31 wife. I want my husband's heart to rest in me. I want to bring him good and not harm. I want to have the diligence to keep my lamp from going out.

I work hard. No surprise... I always work hard. But I have found that this hard work is not actually going to be the key to my wifely success. It is actually the very stumbling block over which my clumsy, "young-wife" feet trip nearly every day. I CRY when I feel that the apartment is not clean enough. I CONSTANTLY ask if dinner was delicious enough. I SERIOUSLY can't seem to rest for a moment- which keeps poor Ty from resting as well.

My work ethic is good. The pride I take in it is bad. This pride in my heart exalts me over my husband, threatening his headship. I vowed to submit to my husband and I intend to do just that. But, how can my heart rest in a messy apartment when EVERY "Christian Wife" book or article I have read says that, "Wives are keepers at home. House keeping comes first. Homemaking begins with house keeping. Etcetera." Well, I've been thinking and praying about that and my husband simply gave me the answer the other day. "Katie, rest. Just DO IT." Those were Ty's words. He always says, "Just do it. I don't know how. But it is what I do. I just do it." What strength! To silence my innermost voice- constantly challenging me to "be better," and therefore, encouraging my pride. Let go. Fly into the restful arms of Christ. Just do it. (No reference to Nike here, btw.)

I'm a clumsy flyer. I've landed hard a few times. But I know my life is FULL of grace because it is full of Christ. So, I'm going to rely on his grace to overshadow my clumsiness until, finally, only grace is apparent in my home and my marriage.

The first step is deciphering what being a "Keeper of the Home" means to my life and the home that Ty and I are making together. Most would say a keeper of the home (a Biblical phrase, by the way) should be at home. Right? A Biblical wife stays home and keeps the home peaceful, raises children to fear the Lord, and puts meals on the table to feed her hardworking husband. WELL. That is a narrow description. I hope that someday I will have that role, but I cannot feel discouraged in my calling as a wife simply because I don't have kids yet. God has called me to work out of the home in order to keep my home. AND he is training me for motherhood at the same time. So, patience with my students, and fostering a quiet, peaceful spirit within myself despite the frustrations of working with children all day should be an INCREDIBLE opportunity for the molding of my heart into the homemaker I desire to be.

I've decided that the cultivation of a quiet spirit is the most challenging task for me. I am not a quiet person. My head RACES. I talk all the time. The first step toward overcoming my clumsiness is learning to be peaceful and quiet inside my head and then stilling my mouth to simply enjoy the quiet joy of being with the man I love.

Also, the quote from the title of this post is found within the article accessible by this link: http://www.gracegems.org/Miller/christian_wife.htm.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tears Are Strong

It's been a REALLY long time... And that practice experiment, well, it didn't happen the way I planned. BUT, I did graduate from Eastman and I am now a professional clarinet teacher. So, that's something. I'm also married to the best man in the world. Want to know how I know he's the best? I'll tell you...

I struggle with panic attacks. They are heavy-duty, crazy, mind-altering, nasty attacks that make me totally forget what is true and what is false. In fact, I don't just forget. I confuse the two. What is true becomes false in my mind and what is false becomes true. This is a really bad situation as, considering the fact that Jesus calls himself the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life, you can imagine that the TRUTH part becomes obscured and I really, really feel unable to cling to Christ on my own.

I think the attacks are triggered by some memories of the things that happened at Eastman that caused my CNS injury to bloom into the oh-so-lovely thing that it is now. I won't go into detail or discuss the people involved because I am choosing to forgive them. (Note: "Choosing" is present tense. I won't claim to have forgiven them- some of it hurts too much. But I will say that my goal is to forgive them more and more every day.) Basically, who I am as an artist was called into question and challenged in ways that were unjust. I am telling you: justice, even in the small things, matters. Do what is right and just by those who are in your life. Do it. This injustice that I suffered at Eastman has left an emotional scar on my life and I cannot explain it to anyone. It doesn't make sense to me, even. So, every time I try to explain to someone else, it comes out all jumbled up and, well, I just sound crazy. THAT is what leads to the panic attacks. This horrible feeling of aloneness- I CANNOT EXPRESS MYSELF AND I AM TRAPPED INSIDE THIS HURT AND NO ONE GETS IT AND I'M CRAZY AND I'M GOING TO END UP ALONE BECAUSE I AM WORTHLESS. This becomes my reality. No really. In this alternate reality of mine, I AM WORTHLESS.

I follow Jesus, so I know that this isn't true. BUT, remember what I said before? Everything True is replaced by everything False in my mind and I cannot even begin to decipher the mess inside my head.

So, what does Ty do when this happens? He waits. He waits for me to calm down. He calmly tells me that he is here and will talk to me as soon as I want. He lets me be crazy. Then he listens. And through all of this- even though it happens about every week, he still loves me.

This week, my panic attack was triggered by a few students crying in their lessons. Heavens, I know little girls cry and I know I am not mean and I know it is not my fault when this happens. Oh, Dear Lord, though, it brings back terrible memories. Jesus, I do not want to be like the people who made me cry over the course of my clarinet education. Of course, I must be firm and push my students to achieve their best and, when I do this, 12 year old girls may get frustrated and cry. So, I soften my voice and talk very calmly and tell them it is all okay! They are beautiful and wonderful students and I am so proud of them! They will never disappoint me, but they must understand that I sometimes get intense because I KNOW they can do this. The tears fall, then dry up, then smiles come back because a good cry is sometimes all that is needed to move to the next artistic level. I know this...

But when I cried in my lessons, (or wanted to, heaven forbid I actually cry...) the opposite happened. I was "weak, incapable, lacking." Oh heavens, tears began to equal shame! Tears were a mark of weakness. But tears are a part of me- as they were a part of David! A part of Jesus! A part of God Himself! So, the truth of tears became twisted into a shameful falsehood and I began to break on the inside because my emotions were being mashed and pounded and smeared all over with gestures of cruelty and words of pure unkindness. Oh, Justice! WHERE WERE YOU?! What is a small-statured girl to do when so many bigger, more successful people are demanding she fit a mold that simply does not fit? That mold forced me into a shape that is not me and I am still trying to regain a true understanding of who I am and what I'm meant to be.

Tears are not shameful. Tears are not weak. Tears are an outward symbol of inner strength. Jesus cried. Jesus wept. I will weep the tears in my heart because I know they burst from my heart that knows this world is not its home. I will not suppress who I am, and I will choose to let my voice cry out because God asks me to speak. Sometimes God's sadness seeps out of my eyes, and my tears are a symbol of His.

My husband let's me cry. He is a good man who let's my woman's heart be exactly what it is and NEVER shames me for it.

Precious students, little siblings, future children,

CRY YOUR TEARS. I will never shame you. If I have wronged you and I cause your tears, I will seek your forgiveness with humility. You are God's precious child and I have been appointed to watch over you. I will not ever, EVER break your spirit. Your spirit belongs to God and I would not dare harm it. Know that you are safe with me and that I love who you are and who you are meant to be.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New idea

For the next semester I am going to try an experiment. I am going to post excerpts of my personal practice journal on this blog so that I can include my readers in this portion of my recovery process. Please to not criticize or share this information with anyone who could possibly use it against me in any way. I am using this semester to develop my own new life routine, one that will be healthy in every way and promote my continuing journey toward recovery. Please pray for me as you follow my updates and feel free to offer any kind suggestions or advice. To begin, here is an excerpt from today:

1/19/10- I have been contemplating the most effective way to continue to help my body heal in every way that it needs to- physically, mentally, emotionally. I had a very very bad few days from Friday-Saturday, due to what I think was my own pressuring of myself to push myself hard all the time in every way. I was talking myself down, without even necessarily realizing it and I got to a very depressed state. I chose to take Sunday off from every kind of work except spiritual. I was able, through the Holy Spirit, to refocus on God and direct all of those pressures I was feeling away from myself by focussing on my purpose in light of God’s will. I was reminded through a few Father’s House sermons that God always picks the most unlikely person- the barren woman or young boy or the virgin girl- to change history. For this, I am an excellent candidate. Come on! A clarinetist with a jaw injury?! But rather than looking at the situation as impossible, I have to, I must, see the truth- God always always works in impossible situations, for nothing is impossible with him. I choose, right now, to view this semester in that light. That anything that seems impossible to me is actually an opportunity for God to work mightily- visibly!- so that the blind, and my heart which is oftentimes blinded by fear, may see him and know he is the only God. I asked him who he was the other day and he said, “I AM.” No kidding?! 

My goal for this semester is to discover my own practice routine, meaning essentially, the pace at which I will move, the amount of time my body needs to rest, the amount of time I should spend playing my clarinet vs. the amount of time I should spend listening, journaling, and overall practicing mentally- quietly contemplating music, my body in relation to music. I will also try to find a way to nourish my body that is effective, enjoyable, and continues to help my healing process and give me energy and clarity of mind. I also need an exercise program that will aid in my continued recovery rather than hindering it in any way. 

So, over the last few days, I have been paying close attention to what it is that my body needs from me. I will list my observations*:

Sleep: I need 8 hours of sleep right now. I feel rested after 8 hours of sleep, 7 1/2 at the least. This is difficult because I am in college, but my goal is to heal right now and I must not deprive my body of its rest, especially since my brain has so much information to sort through during this period of intense analysis of my every habit. So, my goal will be to get 8 hours of sleep every night.

Exercise: I feel so wonderfully alert today, I think due to the fact that I have been to the pool twice and the ice rink once in the last 4 days. Today, I woke up at 7:30 and went to the pool to swim for 20 minutes, which seems to be a good amount of time for me- anymore and I am afraid  I would strain my neck and shoulders too badly. I also had my Keys to Healthy Music Class at which we did a two hour Tai Chi session which included an effective centering session. I need to be careful because I do have a pretty nasty spasm in my right shoulder right now which I am treating with my tens unit as I type. I want to get up at about 7:00 every morning and swim, stretch and go through a few of the movements I learned today every day for the next few weeks to just see how my body responds over a set period of time. Of course, I will monitor my pain and stress levels and adjust accordingly.

Tentative Exercise Schedule- 7:00 am- awake, 7:10-20- stretch, 7:35-55- swim, (shower, etc.), 8:45-9:00- tai chi/stretch

Food: 3 regular meals + afternoon and evening snacks. I will try to have fruit and yogurt and wheat bread every morning for breakfast. Lunch will be protein in some form (meat, eggs, cheese, beans), vegetables/fruit (depending on what is offered), carbs in form of bread or pasta. I would like to have a protein shake before dinner on any day I can and with dinner if necessary to help with my muscle building as I exercise. I will also eat some dried apples for sugar and fiber (plus, they are organic and easy to get at Wegman’s). Then I will have dinner, similar to lunch- I want to make sure I eat fresh vegetables and fruit at the dc too. My evening snack is more of a reward, a cup of tea or cocoa and popcorn or a few cookies or something like that. This is to reward myself for sticking to my goals throughout the day and to help me relax before bed. 

Hydration: bottle of gatorade + two bottles of water every day (green tea to the equivalent of the same amount of water works also)

Practice: I want to try doing 1 part physical/2 parts mental practice for the next 2 weeks to see how that works out. With the exception of Saturday which I will leave open as a light playing day/heavy listening day, unless I feel fabulous and want to play more. 

Rest: I will try to have reading/tv time every evening possible for 45 minutes or so and will take Sunday entirely off for the next two weeks. If that doesn’t work, I will alter it, but I want to give it a chance to settle in. I also need to schedule in 45 minutes to talk to Ty in the evenings. 

My homework will get fit into the times when I am not practicing and will take precedence over my 45 minutes of reading/tv in the evenings.

Spiritual life: I will spend 1/2 hour every morning with God. (Breakfast with God appointments work nicely). Church every Sunday and will listen to one or twoish sermons along with reading more on the weekends. God will be at the center of everything I do because, as I have seen, I cannot do this on my own strength. He is my Healer and I will trust him to do a good work in my life daily. I will make the concious decision to trust Him daily. 

*This plan is a two week plan. I will stick to it for two weeks and will adjust it as necessary on February 2nd. 

I am really excited to see what the outcome of this endeavor will be! I will remain positive even on days when I am experiencing more stress and will remain driven even on days that are less stressful. I want to move more slowly, think more slowly and conserve my energy more effectively and that requires not thinking so hard all the time and just learning to breathe through life. Above all, I will meditate on this verse for the next two weeks. 

Are you tired? 

Worn out? 

Burned out on religion? 

Come to me. 

Get away with me and you'll recover your life. 

I'll show you how to take a real rest. 

Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. 

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. 

I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 

Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

Monday, November 9, 2009

Do I have to scream?!

Does anybody know how I feel?
Sometimes I'm numb, sometimes I'm overcome
Does anybody care what's going on?
Do I have to wear my scars like a badge on my arm
For you to see me, I need release

Do I have to scream for you to hear me?
Do I have to bleed for you to see me?
'Cause I grieve, you're not listening to me
Do I need to scream?

Has anybody seen what's been done?
Where was my defense? No one heard my protest
The eyes of God were watching me
It's time to make my peace, let it go and be released
So I can breathe again
I'm on my knees

I've been marked, set apart
But I'm cut so deep and afraid of the dark
One drop of blood from the hole in Your hand
Is enough to heal me and make me stand

'Cause I'm clean, He is listening to me

I don't have to scream for Him to hear me
Don't have to bleed for Him to see me
'Cause I'm clean, He is listening to me
I don't have to scream
I don't have to bleed
'Cause I'm clean, He is listening
And I don't have to scream

-"scream" by zoe girl

This is how I feel. How I have felt for the last year... Jesus is faithful. That's what I keep telling myself. 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Isaiah 61:1

Bind up the broken-hearted, Lord 

We can’t bind our own wounds

Pour forth your power on us, Lord

We can’t bind our own wounds

Sovereign God, how great Thou art

Healer of the sins of man

Fill us Lord, fill up our hearts

Reach down with your holy hand

Bind up the broken-hearted, Lord

We can’t bind our own wounds

Pour forth your power on us, Lord

We can’t bind our own wounds

Mighty God, your truth does reign

Your power firmly conquers fear

Healer, take away our pain

Wipe our stains and dry our tears

Bind up the broken-hearted, Lord

We can’t bind our own wounds

Pour forth your power on us, Lord

We can’t bind our own wounds

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners...