Thursday, June 7, 2018

When I look up into the sky...




There are times when I just look up into the sky...
Feeling its vastness...
The immensity of it all...
And I begin to get lost in my head...
Floating on the clouds...
The breathless feeling of flying through the puffy white...
The animals and structures formed out of marshmallow.
The grandeur of the sun against the crowds that make Bob Ross swoon.
When I am flying in a plane I am more apt to sit with the window shade open...looking out...watching for the moment the plane breaks through the top of the clouds...pushing through and looking out over the soft landscape. The sun gleaming over the flowing white and it always brings me awe.

It is breathtaking.


At night, when I am taking the puppies out for their potty breaks...I catch myself looking up into the starry skies and feeling so small.
So far away.
I fondly remember the night hikes into the Badlands and feeling like I could reach out and grab the falling stars by the tail and looking into the eyes of God.
Gasping at the beauty of the Northern Lights from the tops of the buttes we climbed.
The journey and climb to be closer to God.
But over the last few years my view of the skies have changed.
These times are now connected to "being far away".
The distance between...
From Mom.
From my family and friends who have gone before me and it is in those moments where I wonder if they can see me...or are they too far away?

And I wonder if over the years to come, will this feeling change?

One thing I do know for certain
All of this represents maximum possibility. 
The skies are the limit.
And because it is vast.
Because it goes on and on and on.
The possibilities are limitless.

And I take great solace in this.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Heaven or Whatever...

I love this poem ( and poet ) very much.
I love what the poem says...
It speaks to me on so many levels...
I love that it conjures up wonderful memories of my grandparents long relationships and marriages.
That they lasted a lifetime but were not perfect.
None of us are.

The Holms were built on wonderful stories, molasses cookies, spittoons, and progressive dinners. A farming family.  A love that was represented by yellow roses and calling each other Dearie. It was clear they were crazy about each other.

The Higdems were a strong, driven crew. This poem seems to represent them more closely. They loved each other and believed in the power of legacy. They were hard workers, of blueberry pie and doughnuts, farming and fence posts.

Neither family was perfect. I heard one of my students perform this poem for master class the other day and was transported back to when we were moving my Grandma Higdem off the farm after my grandfather had died. My stepmom, Pam, my Grandma Higdem and I were taking a break and went shopping. We were walking down the mall and my Grandma decided she wanted to go into a jewelry store. She walks up to the store clerk and begins to tell him how she and her husband had been married for over 60 years and that he had bought her the diamond earrings she had on for that anniversary. The clerk was very nice and raved about them. My grandmother then proceeded to give him THE LOOK over her glasses and said, " I would like you to show me diamonds I can actually see in my ears." I audibly gasped. And Pam and I proceeded to giggle.
LORD.
She certainly had a kick to her even from behind her walker...
But you know...each one of my loved ones who have gone on to heaven had a kick to them...
A little bit of edge. And life. And love. And definition

I think what this poem really brings to my mind is the concept of heaven....What do I really think heaven is?
It's laughter and giggles over jokes shared.
It's stories and memories shared.
It is the wonderful smells from the kitchen filled with love.
It is being back together again with the ones we have missed for so long.
It's is abounding happiness.
And above all...
It is feeling LOVE all over again from being apart for so long...
That is what heaven truly is I think.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

On this 46th birthday

a moment to pause and reflect...

Moments of gratitude.
For a life filled with awesome experiences.
For a journey that has had its bumps, twists, and turns.
For hugs and laughter shared from sweet friendships along the way.
For family who love me unconditionally
For a husband who puts up with my antics and loves me through the hiccups, hugs me and says it's going to be alright.
The sweet memories of all the adventures this life has given me and the people and friendships forged along its path.
For a job that continues to feed my spirit and bring joy to my life and for coworkers who help me, support me, laugh with me, and bring me light.

Yes there are moments of sadness today...
Waking up and there isn't the first call of the day from her. Mom was usually the first phone call of the day with the birthday song...I am missing her a lot
Missing grandparents today as well...

But mostly feelings of sweet gratitude for the chance to face another year.
For the anticipation of what each corner will bring.
Grateful for it all

Thank you to each of you for being a part of my adventure.
I am grateful to you all for the part you have played in it all.
Carry on, my fellow sojourners.



Friday, June 1, 2018

Been a good school year!!

To say that my 2017-2018 school year, my ninth year of teaching, was a wonderful year is an understatement.
Overwhelming.
Humbling.
Exciting.
Energizing.
It was one of the first times in a long times that I can honestly say I was so excited to get back to school in August....to see my kiddos and to hear about all of their summer adventures...to the very last day as they walked out the door, sad but looking forward to a break...them and me.

To receive the ACTAA Teacher of the Year Award was unbelievable and I still can't believe it.
What an awesome year!!

What a terrific wrap-up and the truth emerges when you reach the end of the year, exhausted and so stinkin' proud of all your kiddos have experienced and accomplished. How much they have grown and learned and not learned.

Some of the sweetest  end-of-the-year thank yous brought this guy to tears...no shocker.
A Best Coach Trophy.
A Stuffed Tiger.
And Dad coffee mugs from my kiddos from their new universities. They know me so well!!
And then to have one of your students nominate you for an Excellence in Teaching award...WOW!!! And they present them to you, with the kindest, sweetest, tugging at my heart words in this awesome ceremony as they sign their name to the Academic Signing Roster of their future university. Icing, folks.

Just plain awesome.

To watch your kiddos jump in to new adventures, to attempt something "outside their comfort zone" to excel and to sometimes trip and fall, to struggle and evolve and grow, to call your classroom their "home away from home", and to just observe and cheer and encourage and be there to listen and give them feedback they may not necessarily be ready to hear, but ready or not, here it comes...

That for me is teaching.
And I am so grateful for the experience.
I am grateful for the tears.
Of Joy.
Of Sadness.
Of Fear.
Exhilarated beyond compare and hoping you made a difference somehow...

And move into the summer for a much needed break.
To regroup.
To reflect.
And to prepare for a new year ahead.

Grateful.
For it all.





Sunday, May 13, 2018

If only, this could be a real conversation....

On this, the day we celebrate Mothers...
I am missing mine.
Very, very much.
I am navigating through her departure as best I can.
I am finding that this year was a little easier to navigate but she is never far from my thoughts.
When I was down or feeling sad, she was the shoulder I needed and knew I could lean on.
I am so proud of her and of all of her accomplishments.
I know that I would not be half the man I am today without her and the example she set with her own life's course.

I will forever try to be who she would want me to be...
Kind.
Compassionate.
Nurturing.
Loving and lovable.
Strong.
Thoughtful.
Joyous...even in the face of adversity.
Faithful.
True.
The best I can be for those around me and along my journey.

I will always...
Stay the course.
Keep the faith.
Stay positive.

Happy Mothers Day, Momma.
I miss you so very much.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Penny and Sparrow

So many years ago now, I was living in Omaha and had a wonderful opportunity to create numerous cabaret evenings...some of my own creation...some not. But one evening, a group of friends were together sharing drinks and visiting about an upcoming cabaret evening...and one of my friends said, "You know, you and Mitch just seem to complete each other's musical sentences. He gets your thought process and knows how to run with it. He knows how to make music work with you. You create beautiful music together."
And you know what, what a beautiful opportunity that experience was!!! To share music with each other and to be able to create an evening of performance that moves, that reaches down deep into one's soul and brings tears, or laughter, or just taking in terrific music...experiencing it all. What an amazing moment to be able to share...

Jump ahead many more years and we are out with friends in Fayetteville at a music club there to see a group called Penny and Sparrow.

 I had never heard of them or their music.

 From the first guitar strum to the last note, it was all just wonderful music.

 Two amazing talents,
with voices like butterscotch and smoothness, and a guitar
 and I was shook.
Tears welled up at times...Giggles were had...

They are funny.
They are true.
Their friendship is undeniable.
But their music was effortless and calm and together and beautiful and I just had to share a little of their music with you...

They complete each other's sentences and their blend is phenomenal... and powerful...simple and powerful...


Believe me...you will love them...go see them in concert...or get their music....you will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How do you define art?

We have a little pause in our competition season...before we head off to more tournament competitions. Time to expand some minds and hearts. Broaden horizons...

I have spent the last few weeks broadening young minds with lots of different aspects of performance and different ways to use ans see art around us. How to take a piece of art and create a performance piece around it. Studying all the different types of art and how they may not all be fully understandable, hard to watch, or make you laugh or cry.
But is it still considered art?
I think so. Amazing conversations have ensued...

Friends...
Art is meant to entertain. Yes. However, I think some folks take that for granted sometimes. Sometimes they think that art is meant to be there to serve them...make them laugh and make them forget. Hate to tell ya folks, but it is meant to also be so much more.

It is meant to make you THINK.
It is meant to shake your core and force you to look at something in a different way.
Some art is not meant to be understood right away...it may be built on a theme or concept that is not immediately present. I think powerful art is meant to hold a mirror up to the face of its audience and say "You cannot look away. You cannot shy away from this. No matter how uncomfortable this makes you feel. You have to learn."

Art is meant to appeal to your senses as well as your own deep emotions.
It is meant to express what we are feeling, what we want others to see, and feel, and touch and hear. And be moved...
To be better.
To do better.
To instill change.

I think to try and define art is to limit creativity and that is wrong.
We each have a different voice...a different view of the world...to limit art would be to do it a disservice.  Perhaps we should let art speak for itself...
as an outlet...
and an instigator for change.
as a source of entertainment.
and a place to work through what we see.

Amen.