Saturday, May 31, 2014

I Can't do it- When knowledge is not enough.

There are a lot of things I can do. I've been blessed with many opportunities and many gifts.

 I've been blessed with parents who sent me to music lessons for 16 years. I even got to teach piano to my own students during college and when I graduated. I enjoyed that ALOT!

But I just can't teach my kids to play the piano.

I know that in reality I could do it.

But there are some serious hurdles in my emotional state as to my music history and acquistion and the struggles I faced over the years.

I hadn't realized this until this week.

I started playing the piano when I was 6 years old. My first teacher that I remember was positive, dreamy and I was tested and told I had perfect pitch.

Lots of moves and at least 7 teachers later I was left with knowledge, discouragement and even trauma.

That may sound shocking, but not EVERY teacher is meant for teaching. Some expect too much, some too little and some are just not meant to teach.

One of my teachers expected me to memorize 10 short pieces for a music guild jury of some sort. I must have been about 12 years old at this point and even though I did memorize them all and I did know them when the moment came to play them for the jury I forgot EVERY SINGLE one of those 10 pieces.

I left the room that day humilated, and discouraged and it was then I knew I couldn't do it. I could not preform by memory.

Since that day I have had several other teachers. But I have NEVER been able to successfully preform by memory and learning to play without music has become very difficult for me.

I am sensitive to a fault, I know that. I want to please people, way too much.  And somehow the emotions of dissapointing myself, my family and my teacher that day are just so deep that I can't do it.

But how is that connected with teaching my kids to play?

Here in Latvia kids usually go to music school. They choose their instrument and go to private lessons as well as solf├Ęge lessons at the music school.

I had been waiting to find out how the acceptance into music school would occur this year since my oldest child is now nearly 6.

From what I had heard there is a high demand of those wanting to get it. I found out late last week that their would be an audtion for those wanting to get in to music school.

I was surprised. How can my 6 year old boy who has never had a music lesson in his life audition for a place in music school? The requirements seemed rather high for a child who has never had lessons.
  •  Sing a song without accompianment. 
  • Repeat a tune. 
  • Clap a rhythm as demonstrated.
All week long we prepared with my teaching my boy to sing all the words to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." We worked on singing note patterns that I played for him on the piano and rhythms. He seemed ready.

Then we went to his allotted time for the audition and they whisked him off without me, no parents allowed. That was a shock- they hadn't mentioned that when we had had our consultation.

When he came out I asked him how it had gone and he said he didn't sing his song. I was shocked, and disappointed. He said he had hesitated and since he wasn't singing they asked him to do something else. It sounds like it was very rushed- a 5 minute frame is that way.

As we went home all the disapointments that I had faced concerning music over the years came sweeping over me and I felt again how often I had felt I wasn't good enough, and didn't measure up. I suddenly felt as if that was living on through me in my son and I loathed that idea.

I don't want him to be burdened with the expectations and disappointment of not being good enough. Why do we always measure ourselves against someone elses standard?

But I soothed myself with the thought that even if he is not accepted into music school this year we could find him a private teacher. But my husband thinks I should and can teach him.

I told him I can't. But he didn't get it . . .

And that is when I realized all of this musical baggage and my history of music acquistion has become so heavy.

  • I don't want my son to have to have 7 different teachers, each with their own method, and each one setting him back a bit. 

  • I don't want him to have the confusion of me teaching him my American method with A, B, C and hen having to re-learn when he starts with a different teacher here using Do, Re, Mi. 

  • I don't want him to have to somehow learn the bad attitudes I carry that learning by memory is difficult, and that playing is hard. 

I want him to have a fresh start, and make his own musical path, disconnected from my own.Though of course I will help him when he needs it.

Perhaps this has all come across as negative. But I want to say that my last 2 piano teachers I had were the ones that saved me musically.

They were the ones with the power and encouragment I needed to begin putting my heart in my music and to learn the value of hard practice.

It was with my last two teachers that I learned to love to play the piano and learned to enjoy my music.

So even though I feel I will never be able to teach my children piano as I want (they are just too emotionally tied to me) I am so thankful for the gift of piano playing that I have been been allowed to learn and enjoy and for how expressing oneself in music is such a great way for expressing ones emotions.







Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Hero, My Friend

I was a very nervous student starting my Freshman year  at college. Shy, scared  and feeling quite alone until I met Joy.

She was one of my new roommates and we even happened to be studying the same major.

She was the kind of person you just "clicked" with and we immediately felt we'd known each other all our lives.

She was the opposite of me in many ways; coming from a loud, fun loving, joke loving family, and me from a quiet, serious one.

But we became fast, best friends and four years passed thus.

Four years of classes, good grades, hikes and adventures in the woods and on the lake. Dreams of the future and our husbands-to-be. Crying together when we never had a date and praying together for the families we someday hoped we'd have. Laughing together, cooking together and even get a surprise visit from the fire department when our pie boiled over.

Four years of of preparing to live and work abroad- even our practicum ended up being sent together one summer in China.

Through smiles, tears and probably even fights we became sisters for life.

We graduated- as single as nuns and began to work to pay our loans.

I met a guy and feel in love. But when it crumbled apart, she just let me cry on her shoulder and understood.

We parted ways to live our lives. I moved abroad to teach and live in my old "mother land."

She kept on studying and got her M.A. - nearly ready to fly away and begin her life overseas. Her papers in order, her country called. She'd go abroad soon to fulfill her calling.

I met and married a local man and became a permanent resident here. So far from home, and those I loved, yet Joy still wrote and kept in touch.

And then. . .  one day I got the news her health had crashed and left her ruined.

She took to bed, with pains, tears, and unknown woes. A mystery illness, a disease unknown; gripped and shook her fragile frame.

Fevers, chills and piles of pills. Tests, and shots and dark, dark holes- side effects of meds so strong- my dear friend Joy was immersed in gloom.

And YET, her spirit, ever bright, a faith in God that held her tight. She lived in pain and laughed on days she should have cried.

To lookers on they'd never guess, how ill she was- except to see her tired gaze and smile that longed for better days.

And as she pined for dreams she'd dreamt, she'd every right to turn from God and burrow down in gloom untold.

Yet JOY held fast despite the days she'd rather have died. She fought in pain and suffered in silence, keeping all her grief smothered inside.

Then my friend made a choice. She chose to completely change her life.

She gave up all her little comforts- her snacks, her candy, her love of junk food.. She chose to live a new and healthy life, to feed herself with real food.

She started hard, she started fast, she left that life and jumping headlong into a new and healthy one. I watched and waited across the ocean. I clapped, I cheered in unheard applause, as I saw her begin to make lifestyle choices.

Her health improved a wee bit at last, but still she suffered way too much.

She began to see a natural doctor, who started her on some new type of treatments.

She's made much progress, she's suffered much. She's learned to cry and feel her grief. She's learned to embrace her disappointments, and to live with this evil illness.

Yet on she fights for better health. A mighty warrior of health and beauty. A daughter of her Great Creator, she's on a quest to gain her health.

Her enemy illness now has a name- she's lived her life with Lyme disease.

The fight in hot, gruesome, and hard.Her body protests and wants to quit. Yet she holds fast, her spirit bright. Despite the paint her JOY remains. My dearest friend has earned her name!

Happy Birthday JOY!

- - - - - - 

To support my friend I am donating  50 % of the sale of this scarf to help her a bit in her fight for health. It isn't much I know, but I want her to know that she is NOT alone in this fight.


 Green Scarf. Fight LYME disease. Spring Scarf. New Life. Spring Green, Perfect Spring Scarf. Gifts for Her.



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rootbeer Anyone? - A Recipe

http://cookinginlatvia.blogspot.com/2014/05/homemade-rootbeer.html


I made some delicious rootbeer today. Get the recipe and link to the extract on my recipe blog by clicking HERE or on the photo.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Perfect Hair-Brush- A Product Review

I have always had long hair. My hair is slightly wavy, fine and very prone to tangle. With 3 kids it seems I have little time for thorough grooming as often as before the kids came along.

The last time I was at the hairdressers she used a weird, hand-size, oval brush on my hair and said how great it was for detangling hair. I thought nothing of it until later. . .

I had thought after a trim and getting dry ends out my hair would be easier to manage, but within a week or so the tangling was as bad underneath as ever.

So I decided I needed a new brush. I have always used a boar bristle brush, they do ok on my hair. I started searching online for detangling brushes and found the Knot Genie, which also happened to be the same type of brush the hairdresser had recommended.

Knot Genie Brush Peaceful Purple















I read the reviews, and decided to get one for my daughter and I since keeping my hair tangle free has become more difficult than ever and my parents were coming over here.

I must say I have been pleasantly surprised with how great it does on my hair.

I have had it now for about 1 month and would recommend this to anyone who is fed up with their old brush and fighting to work the tangles out of their hair.

I love the fun color too for kids- and my daughter doesn't complain when I brush out her hair now either. So whats not to love?





Monday, May 19, 2014

Embarrassing The Angels

I have a daughter. She is 4.

My daughter is a brown eyed beauty with a love of fun, drawing, and right now swimsuits :)

My daughter has a very strong will and is very stubborn.

Raising this cherub has proved a roller coaster road so far with her strong will and my compliant one. Her Daddy is much better at managing her than I am.

I want to raise a daughter who is beautiful, healthy, strong in faith, independent, kind and a lady.

When I look at the world we are raising her in it is enough to make one shiver in ones boots.

We have two boys too and since we learned a lot from the book "Bringing up Boys" by Dr. Dobson I decided I needed to read the book "Bringing Up Girls."

I have read the first six chapters now and just finished the chapter with this article in it. Embarrassing the Angels. The article was so good that I wanted to share it and was so happy to have found it online.

So what you doing about a culture that is embarrassing the angels?

How are you raising your daughter to be a lady in the crazy, modern world?


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Father's Day Gift Ideas

In America Father's Day will be celebrated this year June 15, that is coming up soon.

Here are a few ideas for great gifts for your dear Dad.

Any man can be a father, Special dad Love Print, Deer, Stag Tree Print, Meaningful gift for Dad, Custom gift for dad, gift from daughter, 

I know this a good idea because I got my Dad one of these, and he LOVED it.

Or you could get him a customized belt

Custom Leather Belt with Personalized Name and Birth Year in Rustic Saddle Brown with Chunky Silver Buckle

I know he'd love this too, because I got my husband one and he LOVES his!

But if you want something even more personal then you could see what I have in my shop :)







Father's Tie. Father's Day Gift.  Grandfather Gift. Father's Gift. Gift Idea. Keepsake. Hand Painted Necktie




















I have these great ties that you can personalize for your special man. You can have the names of the kids, or grand-kids written on it, or you own special message. I get lots of orders for custom ties and people have really loved them.

And you know where the great idea came from? One of my customers wanted this tie done, and thanks to her great idea I have had many other happy customers since.

Men are hard to buy things for, believe me, I KNOW. I always struggle with what to buy my husband for his birthday or Christmas. But see what my customer's are saying about this tie:

Looked great! F-I-L loved it...


Beautiful!!!! Kept in contact with me while making it and helped me choose my colors... I love it soooo much! 


But hurry to place your order now because only orders placed by May 24 will make it in time!


Monday, May 12, 2014

In a few short hours my parents leave to return home.

12 days of hugs and playing with the Grandkids. 12 days of memories made and love ties grown tighter. 12 days of parental bliss in that their is so much joy to be had in  hearing ones parent interact with ones child. 12 days of Mom's cooking and Dad's songs. 12 days- is just so very, very short.

I know that when I wake tomorrow and the house will be empty from my husbands having taken my parents to the airport that life will go on. . .

Yet I know that the tears will flow- with the tightness in my heart of never knowing when the next time will be when I see my kids play and cuddle with Grandma and Grandpa.

An ocean is just too much space and water to separate family.

My heart aches knowing this distance between us will never diminish. Knowing my kids will not spend many days or weeks with their cousins and relatives over there.

I know I have so much to be thankful for. These days have been marvelous. We have been spoiled and loved on.

But who can grasp the longing of family and the nearness of loved ones unless you too have lived far off from them.

I love you Mom and Dad! Thanks for taking the time and finances to make an effort to be part of our lives!


Friday, May 9, 2014

This is for you Mom

This will the first year in many years that I have got to celebrate Mother's Day with my Mom. They are here with us across the big, wide ocean.

I am loving have the grandparents here to spoil their grand kids. Man, do I wish this was my every day life. It sure is sad living so far from family. As much as I love living here, I don't think I will ever be over living so far away from family.

But to spoil my Mom a bit while she is here I am taking her out to a very nice, restaurant and to the opera. How are you spoiling your Mom?

Share you answers in the comments.

To celebrate my special time with my Mom I am offering you a coupon for my shop. Use it now to save 15 % off your favorite new spring accessory. Use the code ILOVEYOUMOM at checkout! Offer expires at May 11, 2014 Midnight.



I LOVE YOU MOM! 


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Caring or your Silk Scarves

It is spring and summer is close at it's heals. Perhaps you have old silk scarves or want a new one. Either way you want to keep them clean and at their best. Here are some tips on keeping your silk scarf perfect.

  • Hand wash: You can use a gentle soap, and swirl and spot scrub as needed. Pour off and ad new water until you feel your scarf is as clean as you want it. 
  • Do not wring: If it is hand painted I suggest you simply take it out of the water, let it drip and then either hang it up outside to dry or roll it up in a towel. Silk dries fast so if it is outside it will take 10-15 minutes depending on how hot it is.
  • Cool iron: Silk should be ironed on the silk setting, on the reverse side. It irons best if it is slightly damp- so you can mist it with a water bottle or if you rolled it in a towel take it out when it is nearly dry and press. 
  • Hang: Keeping scarves wrinkle free is easiest if you keep them on a hanger or silk hanger. 
For more silk washing instructions here are some links:

Hermes

Silk Vault

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Tons of Ways to TIe Your Scarves

I was looking for a few new ways to tie silk scarves. I got a little carried away on Pinterest. I thought I'd share the board I made with you today. So you can have fun tying your scarves :)