Lessons From a One Handed Piano Player

Have you ever needed help, but didn’t know it?

I had a close call recently that taught me a few lessons I hope may be of help to you next time you wonder about God’s interest and activity in your life.

The Thursday evening before Memorial Day, I was slicing an avocado.  After several unsuccessful tries of removing the stubborn pit, I unwisely (but with great enthusiasm!) stabbed the pit with a steak knife while holding the avocado half in my left hand.  (Did I mention I’m a pianist who happens to be left handed?) The pit split and the knife went into my hand at the base of my ring finger.  Please, no judgement. Believe me, I know better than anyone else how foolish my actions were!

Off John and I went to the emergency room.  Some 17 stitches later, we were done.

I have colorful pics, but will spare you the details.  Instead, here is this cool avocado slicer I received as a consolation prize.

I limped through the Sunday music at the keyboard and on Monday was playing a Memorial Day concert.  I mentioned to my friend that my finger was numb and that I wondered how long it would be before the feeling came back.

What happened next was nothing but divine intervention.

He said, “You need to see a hand surgeon.  My son works for a hand surgeon and he will call you within the hour.”

A hand surgeon?  I just needed a few stitches, I thought.  Besides, the ER didn’t mention any need for follow up.

After talking with me, his son said he thought I may have severed the nerve.  He got an appointment for me and by Wednesday, the surgeon confirmed it and I underwent surgery the same day to have it sewn back together.  Who knew that was even possible?

I learned there is a window of time before the nerve begins to retract, making the surgery more complicated, involving nerve grafts from the back of the leg or even from a cadaver, if necessary.

Why am I telling you this story?  Because there are times in our lives that God takes over for us when we don’t even know to ask Him.  Maybe you need to know that today.

Three things I want to share with you:

  1. God is going to get you where you need to be.  I needed surgery quickly and didn’t know it.  Maybe you’re in the throws of a big decision, trying to make the right choice, maybe a little concerned about missing God’s will.  The saying is wise: “Do your best and forget the rest.”  He will find you.  Even in your seemingly wrong choices, He will intervene and cause you to be where you need to be, put you in the right place at the right time.
  2. Your set backs are for His set upsHe will cause your pain, your disappointments  to be used for your good and His glory.  How?  I don’t know.  But we have wonderful examples of those who had terrible setbacks and God used that very thing to work for great outcomes.  Joseph would never have become second to Pharaoh and saved his family and people without first being betrayed by his brothers.
  3. Let his working in your life refresh you with gratitude.  Sometimes almost losing something (or losing something for a while and then getting it back) is like a gigantic reset button.                                                                                            After surgery, I wore a cast from the tip of my fingers to my elbow.  Then I graduated to a smaller cast for another couple of weeks.                                             When I got out of the cast, I could hardly move my left hand due to atrophy and swelling.         A few weeks and several therapy sessions later, I was playing the piano for an event.  I began to play the song “Give Thanks” and suddenly the song I’d played a million times was fresh with new meaning.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to praise God through making music.  The result of my avocado debacle has been a fresh infusion of joy over the miracle of surgery and the body’s ability to heal, the beauty of music and the privilege of making it.  What close call have you had when you didn’t even know to ask God for help?  Ask Him to show you his involvement and activity in your life…and let it fill you with gratitude.

By the way, National Avocado Day was yesterday!

To celebrate,  I think I’ll go slice up a juicy one…

carefully…

and with my new childproof safety avocado slicer.

 

 

How Changing Your Words Changes Your Attitude

Is this how you start your day?

IMG_0098

I’m not throwing any stones here.  Believe me, I’ve done it, too.

But it’s interesting how changing one simple phrase in your vocabulary can change your whole mindset from “Rise & Whine” to “Rise & Shine”.

Recently, I responded to an invitation to lunch with these words: “I can’t go that day.  I have to speak.”  For some reason, I heard my words with a different perspective. Wait a minute.  I have to speak?  I love the fact that I can use my life experiences to make a difference in peoples’ lives.  And I can’t believe people pay me to do what I feel called to do and what I enjoy doing.  What I do is a privilege.  And then it hit me.

I don’t have to speak.  I get to speak.

One phrase invokes a feeling of duty, whereas the other breeds gratitude.

I began to ask myself in what other areas I might need to recognize my overlooked privileges.

I don’t have to work out.  I am blessed with 2 arms, 2 legs and a healthy body that can move and I want to keep it that way.  I get to work out.

I don’t have to go to church. I am fortunate to live in a country where it’s not against the law to worship God.  I get to go to church.

I don’t have to check on my friend who’s under the weather.  I’m grateful to have friends who’ve seen me through good times and bad.  I get to check on her.

I don’t have to get a flu shot.  My country provides safe, sterile, convenient, affordable vaccines at my choice of several local drugstores.  For a little perspective, I was in Africa a few years ago to help with a medical team.

This picture doesn’t do justice to the hundreds and hundreds who stood in line all day to see a doctor.  I get to get a flu shot.

I don’t have to go to the grocery store.  (OK, this one is a work in progress, cause I DESPISE going to the grocery store!)  I’m fortunate to have money to pay for groceries.  I’m fortunate to live in a country where virtually anything I want or need, from organic fruits and vegetables, bison, crab legs, free range chicken to umpteen different flavors of coffee, from all over the world, is just 5 minutes away.  I get to go to the grocery store.

Shifting our focus from “I have to” to “I get to” can be a game changer in the way you experience your day.

In what areas could you change your words, creating more purpose and joy in your day? Try it and see if your “Rise & Whine” doesn’t become “Rise & Shine”!

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Blending music, humor and inspiration, best-selling author Connie Carey helps audiences view their challenges from a renewed perspective…all while enjoying a good belly laugh! Learn more about her book, “Falling UP”. For booking info, call 478.250.1177.

A Musical Thanksgiving: Violin & Piano Duo

It’s an American tradition.  Today, grocery stores are packed.  Favorite recipes are coming to life.  The kitchen is smelling incredible.  Pots and pans are everywhere.

It’s begun! As you prepare your table for Thanksgiving, may this song (click on the link below) help prepare your heart.  Happy Thanksgiving!  (Thanks, Katie Trotter…what a privilege it is making music with you!)

Give thanks with a grateful heart,

Give thanks to the Holy One,

Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.

 

And now let the weak say ‘I am strong’,

Let the poor say ‘I am rich’

Because of what the Lord has done for us.

Give Thanks!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAjMBLqKRho

42 Years Later…Thanks

I loved the piano as soon as I could reach it to crawl up on the bench of our old Kimbell spinet.

But we couldn’t afford lessons.  My best friend, Sydney, gave me her Thompson Piano Method Books as she finished each level.  Her name was already written on the “Certificate of Achievement” page in the back, but I’d write mine in, under her’s, happily pretending that the gold star was for me, too.

“Mom!” I’d holler into the kitchen.  What’s the name of the note that has it’s own line through it?”  “Middle C!” she’d holler back, while frying chicken.   Each year, we hoped that this would be the year that piano lessons would be possible, but somehow…it never happened.

That is, until the sixth grade, when my Aunt Lynne made it possible for me to begin piano lessons by paying for my first year.  Around the same time, I asked to join the school band.  “We think your Aunt Lynne has an old flute,” my parents said.  “If she still has it, and doesn’t mind, you could play her flute.”

How I’ve often thanked the Lord that Lynne’s instrument of choice was not the tuba!

Lynne's flute

Last Thursday night I had the thrill of surprising my Aunt Lynne by dedicating my CD to her, in gratitude of her loving investment in my life those many years ago.

Enjoy the sequence of events as they unfolded.

“And the next winner of a CD is….Lynne Rowe!  Congratulations, Lynne!  Would you open the CD and read the inscription on the inside, please?”

CD Dedication

“This CD is dedicated to my Aunt Lynne, who gave me my first flute and provided for my first year of piano lessons.”

CD Dedication“What you did for me was pivotal in my life. It’s coming many years late, but thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

CD Dedication

“I love you, Lynne.”

CD Dedication

Many times we give generously, maybe sacrificially…never expecting anything in return.  But now and then, even if somewhat delayed…things have a way of coming back to us.