Ethan’s Winter Concert

What an honor and a treat this evening, to be in the audience during my great nephew’s first concert. Ethan began playing the violin four months ago. Tonight he joined 100 other sixth graders as the Union School Orchestra took the stage. 

My mom, my sister Linda, Greg and I traveled from Joplin to join Ethan’s family…his mom and dad, little brother Kaleb, and his Meem, who is my sister Debbie…for what will surely be the first of many such performances. Looking confident and handsome in his dress shirt and slacks, Ethan sat relaxed with his violin, ready to play. 

Kaleb showing brotherly support by sporting a Union wrist bracelet that lit up. 

The orchestra, composed of violins and violas, cellos and basses, performed seven selections. Included in the mix were familiar Christmas tunes and classics by musical greats such as Mozart. I was impressed with the obvious hard work and dedication that went into tonight’s concert. Four months is a very short amount of time, to go from learning how to sit and hold a violin or cello, to playing before a large audience. 

And I was inspired as I sat, captivated. There are life lessons to be learned, in listening to and observing a group of musicians as they play. Each person focuses on his music, plays her notes to the best of her ability, allowing the other musicians the freedom to do the same. The individuals become the whole, together creating something bigger, something beyond their solitary notes.

I was struck this evening by the thought that I have been listening to my grandson, Dayan, as he has performed with his school’s marching band and orchestra for the past seven years. I have loved attending those events and concerts. Dayan is a senior in high school. And I have already felt sad that those times of sitting in a hushed audience as the musicians play were drawing to a close.

Tonight it feels like the baton is passing, from my grandson, who is college bound, to my great nephew, who has years yet ahead of him to play and create and perform. What a joy to realize that the music does go on. I will be there in the audience for Ethan, an appreciative fan, with a full and grateful heart. 

Listen to the Union Orchestra perform Jingle Bells HERE

Greetings from the Past

I had a few free minutes early this evening, which was just enough time to be creative and craft simple Christmas d├ęcor. Sorting through boxes of old photos, correspondence and notes recently, Greg came across a handful of tiny Christmas cards. Inspired by the framing of Ray’s snowman, I was excited to see what I could make with these vintage greetings from the past. 



I have never seen Christmas cards like these before. The smallest one, about two inches square, is made from standard card paper. But the other three cards, which are slightly larger, have teeny cards attached to squares of transparent or opaque parchment paper. Researching them,  I found the cards referred to as gilded parchment. 


The cards are uniquely beautiful, with green, white and red etchings on the parchment, which feels like stiff plastic. Greg’s grandparents were the recipients of these cards. My best estimate is that the cards date from 1910 to the late 1920s. I found very similar greeting cards online from 1910. That means these greetings from the past are around 100 years old. 


I sorted through a stack of old frames, selecting a simple wooden one for the tiny paper poinsettia card. For the three parchment cards, I used, at last, three white vintage looking  frames that I purchased years ago. The cards fit perfectly within the openings, leading me to believe that I have been saving the frames for just this purpose. I used scrapbooking Christmas paper behind each card. 


I am quite pleased with how these simple framed pieces of art turned out! The paper card rests on a festive table near a poinsettia dish that Greg’s mother, Leta, made in 1961. 

And the three parchment cards hang together in their white frames, near my silver metal Christmas tree. It brings me great joy to repurpose these old greetings from the past, creating something fresh, artsy and decorative. 

I love the way inspiration is tapping me on the shoulder and whispering creatively into my ear. I desire to keep accepting these invitations to play and create as I flow into the next year, ensuring that many more such invites will arrive. The new year is so full of promise.