Hey guys, Shay here. Well, we've got another set of bad news/good news. Great for Nicole but sad for us.
Miss Nicole is going to be stopping her SpireSpire goal for the moment because she landed not one, not two, but three whole jobs out in England. (At a bank, a church, and with some voice students) So while she's gaining major ground on creating a life for herself in her new land, something needed to give. Why it was SpireSpire and not one of those, you know, PAYING thingys I will never know. (Hehehehehe.)
I know she struggled a lot with the decision and doesn't want to give up on her goal, but truly feels like the opportunities that have arisen were too good to pass up and are giving her new goals to achieve. Her album dream isn't going away, it's just going on hold for a better time in life to be working on it.
We wish her ALL the best at her new jobs.
As for us at SpireSpire, we started with six participants, had seven and are back to six, so we'll probably stay here for a bit unless someone pops up with something that they're really passionate about doing with us. As always, if you have an idea for a SpireSpire, please feel free to contact me via email@example.com, and we are already starting to collect ideas for next year as well! Thanks!
This is just gonna be pretty short 'n sweet-Last weekend was wonderful! With three full days relaxing and chilling out with my Hubby what more could I ask for- oh yeah an awesome amount of logged piano hours!!! Last weekend I logged more hours on the piano than any other weekend thus far in spirespire. I really built up my confidence and stretched myself on the classical piece I'm playing. I'm still working at it line by line but I'm about 3 pages in at a
"fairly confident" rating level. BUT- this is 2 more pages than last week. In the realm of classical music- that is leaps and bounds for me! So I'm pretty excited and I'm feeling a little more pumped to keep digging away at this piece! I'm kind of a big fan of gaining confidence- yay :)-------------To read Nicole's story from the beginning, click here.
Honest Opinion of the Moment: This process is definitely going slower than I thought it was going to propel me to go.
I realize getting to my end goal of having two cds is still pretty far out there right now. I also realize that its not about speeding to the end result. The process is just as (if not more) important.... I keep trying to tell myself this.
My progress so far is this: 2 songs. I've completed 2 songs. Just working on transfering from the recording on my piano to the computer now, but I do indeed have 2 songs. Is this less then where I thought or would LIKED to have been at 4 and half months in- most definitely. So in that way I'm not the most thrilled. But I'm going to be going back to working hard core on my classical piece this week- this as you may recall was the mother of a piece that was kicking my butt to the most un-godly of places and I had to give it a rest. So while I'm going back to working on something I dropped for a while- I still feel the momentum of moving forward because it is the biggest of my
challenges. The confidence boost that I'm expecting from completing this piece is astronomical to say the least.
My husband has declared a lounge weekend with zero commitments or plans. So with that lounge time, I'm declaring war on my classical piece. I want this weekend to be a bit of a musical bootcamp- lots of messing up, fixing up, working out, pounding down, tuning in, and building up... I'm hoping for a pretty big dose of building up though.----------To follow Nicole's story from the beginning, click here.
The past couple weeks have been so blessed in my life. My friend, Kate, came to visit from the states. We spent time in London, in Stratford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeare's home town), in Banbury, in Oxford and golly gee just about everywhere! Its sad what you take for granted when you have people around you all the time. I know that, when I lived in the states, being around friends and people were just part of life. However, since moving here, I've had a severe lack of either on a regular basis. Of course I have my super wonderful fantastic awesome husband with me- but as I told him.... he's not a girl- and speaking as one who is a girl, I need a friend whose a girl. It was so refreshing to have her visit! Sadly, she left 5 days ago, but what she left here in our house was inspiration, a break from repetition, and a breath of fresh air. I feel renewed in a way :)
While we did a ton of fun outings and seeing cool sights, we did a lot of what girls L.O.V.E. To do. Talky talk talk. I will admit it. My husband will testify it. I love to talk. All the time. Sometimes- its just words, no sentence necessary. Just talking. I miss casual talking with friends. I mean, while I'm over seas I can talk to friends back home. Its not like I have zero communication access to my friends. But when you skype people or call them long distance its almost like there's pressure to have something really good to talk about. But when you have a friend with you- you can just... talk.
One day in her visit, whilst chattin it up, she told me that one of the reasons she's so glad that she came was because visiting Europe in on her bucket list. This caught me off guard because I had always had a "glass half empty" view of writing down all the things I wanted to do before I died. I had always felt like writing what you wanted to do before you died made it real. And then once its real there is a high chance that you leave several things unchecked. And then on your deathbed you have a physical piece of paper to look at when you die that still has several things unchecked, at which moment your mind would scream, "Failure!" However, my friend then said that she would feel accomplished at all the things she had the guts to write down and even more guts to accomplish. She explained that the bucket list was never intended for the unchecked activities but the checked off goals accomplished that might not have been if they were never on the list in the first place.
This got me thinking.
Everyone has a bucket list, whether you write it down or not. Everyone has things they want to do before they die. I place my life in the hands of my Savior, as a Christian. In doing this, I want to live the life I've been given as a gift. What am I going to do with this gift. I realized I've had things in my head for so long- my goal of recording this album being one of them. Last week I wrote how I feared becoming the person with no more goals and nothing left to grow in or accomplish. One way to challenge myself is to have a bucket list. So, I think I'm going to be gutsy. I want to live my life a little more gutsy. And now that recording this album is not only on spire spire but on a physical piece of paper entitled, "Bucket List" and now that
I realize how many other things I have to get going on after this----
I want it even more!!!
"A child sat before a learned mage
seeking the answers to a recurrent dream.
He dreamt of nighttime stars gliding before him
outstretched fingertips teasing
tantalizing him with their very nearness.
He reached for their brilliant beauty
only to have them turn to shooting stars
catapulting out of reach
into the dark night sky.
They were quickly replaced by others
he became frantic
as he feverishly attempted to grasp them
and make them his own.
The dream progressed
he saw himself as a young man
becoming a man in the prime of his life
still the stars danced before his fingertips
Finally he dreamt of himself as an old man
worn out and bitter
futilely closing his hands
turning his back on the stars.
and thought God was cruel
for putting them so close
only to yank them away
before he could capture
their priceless splendor.
When the child finished recounting his dream
the mage contemplated for a moment
scratching his chin
pulling on his beard before replying,
"Son the stars are placed in the heavens for everyone,
they stretch into eternity.
No one can possess them for themselves."
the child implored him
for a better understanding of his dream
for more answers.
The mage squinted at the child
once again scratched his chin
tugged at his beard before replying,
"The stars represent your dreams,
and goals for the future."
Becoming impatient the child blurted,
"But, if they're my hopes for the future,
that means I'll never have any of them,
they're always just out of my reach and flying away
before I get them."
The Mage smiled indulgently replied,
"No, my son,
your dream is telling you to always reach
for the stars
to never give up your hopes and aspirations,
for if you do,
you will become the bitter old man you saw,
For every achievement,
there is another before you.
You must always set new goals,
dream new dreams,
and constantly seek to improve yourself.
Whenever you think you possess the stars,
that you have all the answers,
you become close-minded embittered to life.
In your dream,
you cannot possess the stars,
instead they flash as fire in the heavens.
This means that your triumphs become brilliant
in the sky for all to see,
not for you to selfishly squander."
the child thanked the mage
for his wisdom
and was never again taunted
by nighttime stars
always out of reach."
~Written by Kristi Kusch~
When I came across this poem several things occured to me. First, I felt inspired. Secondly, I understood why so many people end up being discontent with their lives when they grow old. Thirdly, I realized that doing spirespire is jump starting me in preparation for the rest of my life. I don't want to be the old man in the dream. Nor do I want to be the one one who thinks they know everything for fear of becoming closed minded. No. I want to always have a goal. I always want to have something to reach towards. Not so that I have the possiblity of failure always at hand, but so that I can continually through my life be stretching myself.
When I was in college, I defined myself by the grades I recieved. The results were everything to me. The way I got there was forgotten once I got my graded paper or test back in my hand. I realize now how wrong that was and how having that mind set has served as a disservice to myself. While getting to end results are great, the end result does not grow us. The end result is not what stretches us. We don't struggle to arrive at a goal and once we reach the goal and we grow or evolve instantaneously like a pokemon.... did I really just say that?... (shakes it off) anyways- The growing, learning, and stretching all occurs on the long way there. Sometimes the growing is fun but sometimes the stretching is hard. Yet, hard or fun, I don't
want to ever be the old man who never achieved. However, I find myself more fearful of being the person who thinks they know it all and quits reaching for something new. I believe that I was almost that person when I graduated, the moment my "task" was complete. I feel like spirespire kicked my butt into gear again. It made me realize that the reaching and achieving doesn't have to stop. And while the road hasn't been the most successful for me thus far, I'm not going to stop reaching. I'm not going to stoping stretching. And I refuse to stop growing. I never want to stop. I never want to know it all.
To read Nicole's story from the beginning, click here.
Ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away. Profound, no?
While last week I got nowhere from trying too hard. This week I got nowhere from ignoring the task completely. I feel like I should be past the experimentation level of this project. I should already know what kind and amount of push and shove works for me, but I don't. Last week was wrong and this week was really wrong.
I look at myself in this project and think – wow I'm 4 months down with no real proof to show of any progress. Have a I made progress? Personally, I know that I am three songs in on my goal. I am three songs further than I was four months ago. Are they absolutely perfect and worthy to record? FRACK NO. And, because of this, I'm in 4 months on my goal with no tangible evidence I've accomplished anything thus far. I've not sucessfully recorded one single piece. I'm a tad frusterated with myself but at the same time I'm not fully convinced that lack of trying is to blame. I try- a lot.
I knew this goal was going to be a stretch for me. I knew it from the start. So, right now I'm lacking the passion due to frustration to be really honest. I had greater expectations for myself by the end of month 4.
I know I'm not failing and I'm not defeated, by any means. I'm just disappointed.
I feel like my life for the past 8 months has been one big rollar coaster. Graduate, married, move across the ocean, sink into depression, "raise" to become mundane, find an unbelievable high in Disney Land, "lower" back to mundane, have a week of awesome things happen (a.k.a. My last blog), and then suck. All week.
To top the "suck" week off- this week was a major blow to my self confidence. Last week, when I posted, I had plans to record this week. I was so excited because I had just figured out how to use the programs in the piano my husband gave me! So I decided to take a break from my classical piece (which was being a jerk to me) and pull out a piece that I had considered "mastered" a couple months ago. Yet, everytime I sat down to play the song I tripped, fell, and landed with a smack right down on the the piano keys. This whole week, I could neve get through the song well enough to record it. Its not perfect anymore.
The triumphal climax of my failure was yesterday when I sat down for 2 hours trying over, and over, and over, and over, and over. Recording over, and over, and over. Thinking, "Why can't I get this? I HAD this." Then these words popped into my head and I had to stop.
The definition of insanity- "Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results."-- Albert Einstein.
Wow this week has been so awesome! So many totally great things happened that I'm dying to share with you guys! They don't all have to do with my goal directly but... AH AH! ...Breathe. Woooooo (exhale).
1) I believe I mentioned this in my first post 14 long weeks ago- I used to teach voice and piano when I lived back in the States. Its what I want to do with the rest of my life. Its a job that I love so much that I can't believe I get paid to do it. Don't get me wrong- every job has its challenges. However, for me, the rewards of teaching voice and piano and the amount of fun I have doing it completely outweighs any drudgery in the job.
So, my dear husband was at the bank on base and it came up in conversation with a few tellers that I used to teach piano and voice. I got a facebook message the very same day asking for my availability to teach their daughters and even one of the bank tellers! I'm so very very enthusiastic to say that I will finally be teaching again after 7 long months away from students!
2) Jake and I have been attending a church in Oxford for a few months now and have developed some great friendships with some people there. Some of them are actually from The States! Well, anyways, through our friends, the pastor found out that I used to play on the worship team back at my home church and I used to (but now currently) taught music. So the pastor invites us over to his home for a "proper British meal" of steak and ale pie (nommy nom noms) and tells us that they actually don't have a worship music leader. So after much discussion and a few weeks of praying and weighing it out- I am the new worship leader! I start in February and I'm so super excited!
3) Ok so this one actually has to do with my goal directly- I am 50% of the way done learning how to record! Thanks to my hatred of manuels it took a much longer time than necessary but thanks to my techy hubby genius I came out on the other side of the tunnel! Who needs a manuel when you've got a living breathing tech wiz who kind of likes you and will do techy stuff for you? Right? So this week I'm taking a break from my classical piece -which thanks to my not so varietable past playing, is taking much much longer than I anticipated. I'm really going to buckly down on a song a record it. HOPEFULLY, I might have an audible somethin somethin to post here next week?!?!?!
4) Last but not least- I just want to share my enthusiasm and excitement with the world that one of my most wonderful awesome friends Kate is coming to visit us at the end of this month!!!! I'm only a little thrilled beyond belief :)
So while all these things don't have to do directly with my spirespire goal, they have to do directly with some of my life goals- Teaching, leading worship music in church, and spending time with awesome friends.
So much goodness.
This week = so super lame. Somewhere in between Paris and coming back home my transformer disappeared. No no my friends- not the action pack blow your socks off Shia LeBeouf car transformer. Although we did get a new car this week- 1993 Mercedes Benz... so who knows. It might surprise us. But the transformer hiatus of mine was a little more significant to my life. Even more significant than the steaming hot eyes of Megan Fox to every teenage boy. This transformer allows my American outlet electric piano to be powered by a little British outlet. Without it, there would be an explosion that may put Transformer the movie to shame and shatter my little musical heart to pieces.
Luckily, I had a friend from home come to visit (she just got in today! Woo! Friend!) and I did a deep cleaning session on my house... which revealed my (dun dun dun) transformer! Anticlimactic. I know. But I found it and all is right with the world again.
Did I mention sometimes it sucks living over here?
So this week was definitely a success! I established a routine for myself and have accomplished sooooo stinkin much on my song this week. Right now I'm working on a classical piece. Its the first classical piece I've laid hands on (with the full intentions of finishing it) since my freshman year of college. And frankly- playing classical music scares me.
Playing classical is a big step in my conquering of my fears because, to me- its definitely the most difficult of all genres of piano music. Up until taking on this piece I've been playing modern or contemporary (which I lovey love love). HOWEVER, and this is personal opinion feel free to debate or think differently, if a person can play classical very well- the rest is down hill from there.
This is one of the reasons I'm attempting to tackle such a big challenge for me near the beginning of our year. But its not the only reason. I feel like if I can nail out and accomplish what I feel like is the bigger task then I'll be more prepared to take on the rest of my songs. I don't expect for it all to be "easier" from here on out after this song, but I do expect to be more prepared and efficient in the other genres after this "biggie" is tackled.
This song is going to take some time, I know. But I'm plugging away hard and strong, taking each bit phrase by phrase. And as each measure goes by I feel this little thing inside of me keep growing and growing. I think they call this confidence? We'll find out!