I’m back from the unplanned hiatus :)

Hello blogging friends!

It’s been a challenging 2+ weeks for me and I needed time to rest and recharge. Actually, more accurately, I needed time to process and work through my feelings on Boston. Thank you to everyone out there for your posts related to the bombings and for feeling comfortable enough to be so vulnerable so publicly.

Winter has seemed unending this year, and like most Minnesotans, I’m suffering from a severe case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. We had a lovely weekend this past weekend (we hit 70!), but are expecting snow to return this week. I don’t think I can handle much more of this mentally, but, it doesn’t look like I’ll get much of a choice!

I’ve been busy with Body Pump (increased weights last night!!), went for a swim for the first time in years, and of course have been running. Moms On the Run has started back up officially, and I’m really looking forward to the structure of the runs and am hoping it will help me get faster. I’d really like to be able to run a 5k in under 30 minutes at some point in my life!

Choir has been hectic, too, as we had our first concert last Saturday. I’m happy to report it went splendidly and am looking forward to the two we have left this week. I feel so blessed to get the opportunity to sing with such wonderful people and make beautiful music. I am looking forward to the break this summer so I can focus more on running prior to my two upcoming half-marathons!

Additionally, I went up to Fargo last weekend for my friend’s son’s baptism (she finally had the baby!). I was (and still am) incredibly honored to be asked to be his sponsor, so it was a really special weekend that helped me remember the wonder of life and reflect on all I have thankful for. I really hope that I’m able to be a positive influence in his life and help him grow and learn. He’s already such a lucky guy to have such amazing parents!

I have so much to catch up on, but promise I’m back and will be blogging more regularly again! 🙂

How is the weather in your neck of the woods? Enjoy it twice as much for me, please, if you are experiencing legit spring weather!!

Weekly Recap – April 8th

MONDAY: Body Pump

TUESDAY: 5.6 miles outside

WEDNESDAY: Rest – I needed a night off to be an introvert 🙂

THURDSAY: Rest – choir rehearsal

FRIDAY: Rest – taught three voice lessons

SATURDAY: Chocoholic Frolic 10k – recap coming shortly!

SUNDAY: 2 mile walk to loosen up the legs

April Mileage: 13.8 miles

YTD Mileage: 107.1 miles

Notes: I had a very busy week with both running and music – it was wonderful! Plus, I PR-ed at the Chocoholic Frolic 10k (despite crappy weather and crappy hills). I’m planning to start integrating some swimming and other cross-training cardio options as I continue to ramp up mileage to give my legs and body time to recover.

Happy running, everyone!

How is April starting off for you? Has the weather cooperated for outdoor exercising in your neck of the woods?

My Love Affair With Choral Music

It’s been a while since a music post, so I thought I’d dedicate today’s blog post to one of my favorite genres of classical music: choral. I am very lucky to have been born and raised in a state that not only highly values classical music (well, at least we used to – I’ll avoid getting up on my soap box regarding the current MN Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra lockouts), but many different types. Specifically, Minnesota is a large participant in the Lutheran Choral Tradition (I capitalized it because I think it deserves it…even if grammatically incorrect :)) which was popularized by F. Melius Christiansen. We have some wonderful private Lutheran colleges with highly praised choral programs which have continued this tradition, including my alma mater, Concordia College. I was lucky enough to get to sing with the Concordia Choir under the direction of Dr. Rene Clausen for three years, and they were some of the most rewarding years of my life thus far (and most likely to come).

Choir-Tour-Graphic

Current Concordia Choir (image courtesy Concordia College)

I don’t talk religion often, because I views beliefs as highly personal, but something about the action of singing together with 70 other people is a very spiritual experience for me. I can’t articulate specifically what it feels like, but for you choral singers out there, you know the instant where everything just *clicks* and you lose yourself in the music? There’s nothing else like it. It’s simultaneously very personal and very public, because you are sharing this experience with peers you have worked so hard with to create the best music you can, while basking in the feelings you as an individual are feeling. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

In my second year of the Concordia Choir, we performed Dr. Clausen’s piece, “In Pace” (Latin for “In Peace”). One of the best parts of choir was Dr. Clausen – not only an incredibly talented composer, arranger, conductor, musician, etc., Dr. Clausen is a wonderful human. He would always tell us the background behind the pieces we were singing in order to appreciate more when performing (and, as a music history buff, this was especially appreciated on my part). According to what he told us during rehearsal, Dr. Clausen wrote “In Pace” in response to his visit to a concentration camp in Germany during one of the Concordia Choir’s international tours. After hearing that, I don’t think I made it through a rehearsal or performance without tearing up. One of Dr. Clausen’s strengths as a composer is to use chords and voicing to create crescendos that build and build to a climax that is typically very emotional for the performer and audience member. There are two main climaxes in this song, the first occurring around the 4:55 minute mark and the second occurring around the 6:30 minute mark which can be heard in the version the Concordia Choir performed back in the 90s that’s made available through Spotify to listen to: Concordia Choir – In Pace.

The text translated to English reads:

In peace, I shall lay me down and take my rest. If I surrender my eyes and eyelids to slumber, I shall sleep and rest. Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Even to this day, I have trouble getting through listening to the song without becoming emotional. To me, this piece transcends singing notes on a page – it speaks to a part of my soul. I wish for everyone to have this experience – even if it’s not with music, that you find something that speaks to you on a level that could never be accurately articulated.

And with that, I wish you a wonderful Friday and a fantastic weekend!

Happy listening, singing, running, exploring, or doing whatever else gives you great joy!

 

Something’s Gotta Give

So…I blinked and it’s now April 3rd! This means, time for a new set of monthly goals. Last month I wasn’t terribly successful (I need to take more pictures!), so here’s a late-entry for a bonus point:

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I got a haircut!

As I consider what I want to focus on this month, I have Ella Fitzgerald’s version of “Something’s Gotta Give” running through my head.

Ella Fitzgerald

Often, songs pop into my head that perfectly describe how I’m feeling at the moment – it’s completely subconscious and usually neat (unless it’s an obnoxious song such as “Tubthumping”…I know, what kind of crazy subconscious mind do I have?!). At any rate, I’m feeling spread thin. I am part of a running club that starts running 2x/week shortly, choir that rehearses weekly, I teach lessons two nights per week, blogging, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and oh, my job that has picked up in workload recently. Also, I am an introvert, so I gain energy from alone time which I have been severely lacking in. I found this a few months back and boy does it resonate with me – check it out:

0wkaL

I feel that I’m at the point where I’m on the edge of a breakdown, which typically consists of shutting down and doing nothing. I think part of the reason why I’ve been able to continue with such a busy schedule for so long is that I genuinely am enjoying everything I’m involved in. I love teaching – it brings more joy to me (and hopefully my students!) than I thought it would. I love singing and making music. I love being physically active. I love the fact that I’m getting to know a young person and hopefully be a positive adult role model. I love connecting with other runners and music lovers in this amazing blogging world. So what now?

After many days of pondering, “what now?”, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to get comfortable having a busy life. I need to get comfortable living outside of my comfort zone. So, that’s my goal for April – get comfortable with the new me.

And take more pictures…I still need to take more pictures. Smile

Are any of the rest of you busy people? How do you cope?