With Confidence

I play in a clarinet choir. We rehearse once a week – just enough to keep me happily engaged in music but not overwhelmed with practicing. Our first concert is tomorrow – we’re playing as one of a number of chamber ensembles. One one piece I’m the sole first clarinet, and on the other, I play Eb. Needless to say, I have some pretty important lines. I carry the melody. It’s important for me to play loudly and self-confidently.

I’m not so great at that last part.

I’ve always prided myself on being good at blending into an ensemble – it’s important to me that I am in tune, and that I sound “one” with those who share my part.

I also got comfortable, hidden away, not having to work hard at breath support and playing out, and not worrying about messing up.

No longer.

It’s become a weekly thing, for my director to demand that I play louder – that I scribble out the “piano” and write “forte” instead. One week when I was being especially timid, in a moment of scolding me he said, “That’s why I put you on this part – so you couldn’t hide!”

I inwardly cringed. Oops. Yeah, he put his finger on something there! I may not have gotten much glory in hiding, but I certainly didn’t get shame, because someone else was covering for my mistakes.

Since then, bit by bit, I’ve been playing out more freely. I’ve been making mistakes. Loud mistakes. But there’s also been some loud beauty. Some confidence. Some melodies floating up and out.

And the ironic thing, with Eb at least, is that the louder I play, the better it sounds. When I try to play quietly and keep from being noticed, my pitch goes way out of wack. But when I play out… things fall together. Having confidence in an of itself makes my playing sound better.

This is a lesson I’ve been trying to apply in all of my classrooms. As a student, it’s easy to hide. For me, hiding can be a form of pride – when I don’t have something ‘oh-so-perfect’ to say, I just don’t say anything at all, lest I appear like a fool to my classmates.

But in my case, it’s counterproductive. If all of my classmates acted this way, no questions would be asked. No discussion would be had. Learning would be hindered.

So I’ve started to share more. I’ve started to ask more questions. I’ve decided that the risk of humiliation, and the risk of being a bit obnoxious, are risks worth taking. Because the act of simply taking a deep breath, and speaking out – that in and of itself makes a big difference. It’s the difference of engaging with studenthood, instead of letting its greatest joys pass me by.

by MinivanNinja


Faithful Father.

Today I’m writing a paper about my concept of God. 3-4 pages. (Of course mine will be 4 pages crammed with as much print as possible.)

I’ve been doing some poking around, in my memories and among my books and notes, to help remind me of what my concept of God has been.

I’ve also turned to the Heidelberg Catechism, which I haven’t ever studied completely, but it’s the catechism I’m most familiar with. It’s also beautiful stuff – misery, deliverance, and gratitude. Here’s a Q&A from it that I’d like to share.

Lord’s Day 9: Q & A 26

Q. What do you believe when you say,
“I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth”?

A.That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        who out of nothing created heaven and earth                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               and everything in them,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        who still upholds and rules them                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        by his eternal counsel and providence,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                is my God and Father                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         because of Christ the Son.

I trust God so much that I do not doubt he will provide whatever I need
for body and soul, and will turn to my good whatever adversity he sends upon me
in this sad world.

God is able to do this because he is almighty God
and desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.


I guess if I had to choose, I’d say that I’m a morning person.

Besides the fact that I feel dulled -unhappy with myself, and lazy – if I sleep in too much, there’s something lovely about the first light creeping up as I putter around getting ready. (Besides, oatmeal! – I love the stuff.)

Let me rephrase this morning bird/night owl dichotomy: one of my aunts told me that she and her freshman roommate just  never really worked out, because she was the kind of person who liked to throw open the shutters and sing in the mornings. Her roommate was not. Most days, I’m that kind of girl – I throw open my curtains as fast as possible. (However, I don’t sing – when I’m up quiet hours are still going on.)

Here’s a scene from a Sunday morning. Aren’t my plants lovely, all lit up?

Plants Lined Up for the Morning Light

up close with lit up rosemary


(You’ll have to bear with me on this rosemary photo – I really wanted to share it. I have no kids, no pets – just plants. And I really like rosemary.)

But I didn’t intend to write about plants. I want to talk about light.

Sunday night I spent some time in a prayer room. It had been a while since I’d been to the prayer room. Some changes have occurred since I’ve been there last. When I first walked in, I noticed a sign on the wall that read,

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called–his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

Ephesians 1:18, NLT

I could use some light. Spiritual light. It’s been too easy for me to close windows lately, and to refuse to wait for God’s light – refuse to acknowledge the signs of it on the horizon – refuse to acknowledge that it’s been permeating my life and will continue to do so.

I’m also intrigued by the linking of light with hope in this verse from Ephesians — it seems as though much of my hopelessness may be due to a need for light. Remember when I posted about fog? That’s the kind of thing I’m referring to here, a need for light to permeate fog and darkness.

The fog won’t go away. I would even suggest that it’s good for me to recognize it, to face it, to wonder about why it’s there, and how we as humans deal with it in different ways. But not always. When I’m too consumed by the presence of the fog, I lose hope.

Instead, I need to direct my eyes to be open to light and hope, even as I walk through fog.