Saturday, August 27, 2011

And the music played on....

I've always been in love with music.  Grandma Smith said that we were descendants of Bach.  That must explain it.  I've heard that "music has charms that soothe a savage beast" but it's more powerful than that.  I've seen it calm a baby, excite a crowd, help people fall in love, bring back memories for others, help us say goodbye to loved ones and usher the presence of God into a worship service.  I've experienced it's power many times.  It's helped clear my head and concentrate while studying or writing papers in school.  For those of us who have a hard time dealing with or showing emotion, it's the perfect outlet for all those feelings we bottle up inside.

It was on a child's organ that I figured out I could pick out melodies of songs, particularly commercials, on it.  My first "song","I'd like to teach the world to sing", was from the old Coca Cola commercial I heard all the time on TV.

Playing the piano at Grandma Smith's
Eventually Mom bought me an old player piano that had the player taken out.  I started piano lessons when I was in 4th or 5th grade.  I hated them.  I wanted to play music not learn dots on a page.  My mom had to set the oven timer to make sure I practiced.  Before my lessons, I had to wait on the girl before me.  She got to play the theme song from Young & the Restless and I was entranced.  THAT'S what I wanted to play.  Not this Twinkle Twinkle mess.  My teacher told me I couldn't because I was a beginner.  (Never tell a Tolbert they can't do something.)  "Ha! I'll show you!"  I got my old tape recorder and recorded the theme song off the TV and then I learned the melody.  When I had it memorized I played it as my warm up instead of what my teacher instructed me to play that day.  She wasn't happy but I didn't care.  I proved that this beginner could indeed play the forbidden song.  I believe it was then that she realized that teaching me to sight read was going to be harder than she thought.  Thankfully lessons with her only lasted 2 yrs.

Recital night in 4th or 5th grade
Piano was taught at the new Donnie Bickham Middle School (Yeah I know. I'm showing my age.) but I had a bad taste in my mouth from the last experience so I didn't take it.  Thankfully I changed my mind and took it for 2 yrs.  Mrs. Nelson was able to make me love playing the piano again.  Mom didn't have to set the oven timer anymore.  I even actually won awards at piano competitions.  That piano was a godsend.  My family was going through some tough times and I bottled up all my emotions.  The only way I could let them out was by "banging" on the piano.  Mom could tell my mood by what I would play or attempt to play.  I didn't have to see a shrink to get it out.  I just needed to play.  I had to leave it behind when my parents divorced and we moved to my grandparent's farm.  I tried lessons down there but it wasn't the same.  The piano playing bug had died...or so I thought.

Two weeks ago I went with Tate to Shreveport Music to pick up a wind screen for a church microphone.  While waiting on him, I sat on a drum set stool and listened to a couple talk to the piano guy about electronic pianos.  I began regretting that I gave up playing the piano.  An hour and a half later,  I have talked with the piano guy, gotten a history lesson on pianos, purchased a self teaching piano course book for adults and now know what I want for a graduation present.  The piano playing bug hadn't died.  It was just hibernating.

My new toy
Now it's time to teach the next generation the power of music.

Introducing Peyton to the piano

And the music played on...

Playing a tune for Aunt Heather

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"When I say Whoa! I mean Whoa!"

There have been times in my life when it seems things or people just get in the way of my agenda and I get so frustrated because I can't mark an item off my to do list. But then I see God allowed for things or people to get my way so that I would slow down.  Sometimes it's to protect me.  Sometimes it's to teach me a lesson.  Sometimes it's to remind me that He is in control and that I should let go of my OCD and control freak tendencies and trust Him.  And's all of the above.

Yesterday I went to lunch with a friend.  We got back early so I decided to drop off my to-go cup of sweet tea and head to the bank and Hallmark.  I know I could have just sat and relaxed those last 10 minutes of lunch but I had a to-do list.  Anybody who really knows me, knows that I will not relax until my to do list is complete.  So since time is a commodity, I had to mark those two items off.  I got on the elevator on the 22nd floor.  A guy got on at the 17th floor.  We moved for a couple of seconds and then we stopped. And I mean stopped HARD.  Hmmm, this isn't normal.  I press the 13th floor button hoping to restart the elevator.  No such luck.  I buzz the guard to tell her we are stuck.  We were stuck for 15 minutes.  Good thing neither of us were claustrophobic.  Apparently other elevators were being worked on and our car's control switch got tripped.  They got the elevator going again.  Unfortunately it felt like we were on a six flags ride for a few floors. Another hard stop and then a six flags ride again.  (I'm all about saving money but I think I'd rather pay for a six flags ticket so I can choose which rides I get to ride.)  When those doors opened on the ground floor, I flew out.  I was super hot and my equilibrium was off.  It took about 20 minutes for me not to feel wobbly.  I've worked here for over 10 years and that was my first time to experience that.

I didn't want to run my errands anymore so I head back to my office. It wasn't until I got back to the office that I saw the bad weather coming.  Strong storms look even more eery and frightening when you work on the 22nd floor.  My coworker and I just stood and watched it for several minutes.  We watch as the dark, angry clouds roll in bringing with it a mini dust storm and impressive lightening show.  We can hear our windows creak and see them shake as the winds pick up speed and force.  I'm thinking to myself that as powerful as this storm is my God has complete control over it.  It was a comforting thought.  It was later when I was sitting at my desk that another thought occurs to me.  Had I not gotten stuck on that elevator I could have been returning from my errands and gotten caught outside during that storm.  The inconvenience of being stuck in an elevator was actually a blessing in disguise.  God was protecting me and I didn't even know it.

Because I often choose to complete my to-do list rather than sit and relax, I've been told to "stop and smell the roses", "enjoy the moment" or "with life, you need to focus on the journey not on the destination".  That line of thinking sounds good.  I just haven't learned how to apply it as well as others have.  Apparently this is a lesson that I really need to learn because God has made/allowed me to enter many situations that make me stop, put the to do list down, relax and put my total trust in Him.  After yesterday's incident and the realization that not only was God in control of everything but He also had my best interests at heart I couldn't help but think of Yosemite Sam on the horse hollering Whoa! Of course I'm the horse getting bopped on the head while God hollers "When I say Whoa! I mean Whoa!"  Apparently I can be hard headed.  I better learn this lesson soon because I can feel my head getting sore.

Image of Yosemite Sam - Whoa