Gorgeous

My favorite song out of any Orthodox song I’ve ever heard is one that is ONLY sung during Lent, and ONLY at Pre-Sanctified Liturgies throughout the week.

My greatest sadness and regret last year was that because I was feeling so rotten and worn down from being 34-40 weeks pregnant, we didn’t make it to any Pre-sanctified Liturgies, and, as a result, didn’t get to hear this song.

The song is based on Psalm 141 and called, “Let My Prayer Arise”. If you have 30-60 seconds to listen to it, I guarantee you will be blown away. I’ve FINALLY FOUND a live version of it, sung as a trio of three talented female voices. It was recorded last April at an Orthodox parish in Houston.

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties (Psalm 141).

American Idol 2013

Don’t ask me how I ran across this.

This girl won Montana’s statewide American Idol competition to see the 2012 finale. Rumor has it that she auditioned this year for American Idol 2013….

I gotta say…if this girl is on it? I might actually watch this season! She’s incredible!

Soul

Have you ever heard an 11 year old sing Alicia Keys with such soul? Wow!

6 Months

This student of mine is amazing. Just 6 months ago (when we started lessons– he was my very first student in CA!), he couldn’t even read music, much less play anything. Last Wednesday, he performed in his first talent show. He’s come a LONG way, don’t you think? The song is called, “Malaguena”.

Piano Blessings

It’s amazing to me how just two months ago at this time I was stressing about the fact that I wasn’t making enough money to help us in our financial goals. During this time when we are saving saving saving for a house, we have more than enough money a month (not paying rent or utilities sure helps!) but I’m pretending that it’s already May. In other words, our budget layout is set so that I can see what we will need in May when we have a house payment/repairs/utilities to contend with, not what we need right now (if that makes sense). We have no business getting into a home loan if we can only “barely” afford it monthly!

Basically, my job these past two months has been to find a way to make enough money for us to put aside significant amount of $ each month into savings, along with aggressively paying off our loans (by “aggressively”, I mean that they should be done in 4 more years…). Our monthly bills are already covered by what we make teaching, but I know we don’t want to be living “month to month”.

As of right now, I have 11 students! 4 of them are in group lessons right now, which means a little less money for the time being, but not as much time spent working during my last month and a half of being preggo.  They will all transition to private lessons after Anthony is born, however.

Logistically, it’s also very convenient. On Tuesday, I teach for an hour and a half, 5 minutes away from home, all while Jesse is home to babysit! On Wednesday, I  teach for 1 hour, with both my mom and Jesse to help. On Thursday, I have an hour of teaching 5 minutes away in Atascadero, and then another hour of teaching 15 minutes away in Paso!

That’s it! Including my English class, I am making the money we need working less than 10 hours a week! I have also been able to schedule these lessons on Tuesday-Thursday. Also, I am home in time to spend the evening as a family, eat dinner, put G to bed, etc. (something I had to sacrifice when I did piano lessons in Dallas!).

It just goes to show…don’t stress out too much about something, because God’s probably working on it already 🙂

 

My writing

If you want to see any of the piano playing blog articles I’ve written for my new job, you can go to this link. I’m not going to type it out completely, because then this blog would be linked to that one, but it would be easy enough to cut and paste.

www(dot)learnpianoathome(dot)wordpress(dot)com

The articles that I’ve written should be available on the main site soon!

Another Praise

Since last Wednesday, when I found out that I would get to partner with and advertise at the Montessori school, I’ve received 10 potential piano students. 10!!! The exact number I wanted.

I don’t think all of them are going to pan out, as I am now getting so many inquiries in Atascadero (one, a family of four who lives 2 min. away!) and don’t feel like driving the 20 min. to San Luis Obispo anymore. But we’ll have to see.

In the meantime, that is incredible. When God answers prayer, he answers quickly!

Blessings

Many of you might recall when I posted, “The Plan” a few months ago. Since then, the only part of Phase 2 not yet enacted was the part about me making more money. I have my English class to teach, a piano student, and my online writing job for my old piano boss. All 3 of these add up to about 5 hrs./week of outside-the-home work and about 3 more hours/week of inside-the-home work. Only 8 hours total, which is not much. This only adds up to about $750/month, which is also not quite what we need for aggressively paying off student loans, adding lots of savings, etc.

What I really need is more piano students. Teaching piano is not only something I love to do, but it brings in a lot of money per hour (usually, about $80/month for every student I can find for 2 hrs./month of work), which means that I don’t have to work much to make the amount of $ we need. I only want to be working 10-15 hrs./week outside the home, and only while I have a babysitter from within the family (another one of my “rules”). Both my mother and mother-in-law have graciously covered the 4 hrs./week I teach my class. Teaching piano in the afternoons would greatly complement Jesse’s work hours, since he’s home by 3:15pm.

So, I’ve been aggressively marketing, sending advertisements to every newsletter I can think of within my social circle (s) and posting ads online.

And then I got a great idea– my old music company (the one that I now write for) used to partner with preschools and Montessori schools, offering to give them a percentage of the monthly profit in exchange for using their location and piano. The benefit for parents? Not having to drive to a separate studio or location while getting a reduced tution. The benefit for me? Not having to drive to tons of different homes, lowering the earning power/hour since you have to account for driving time. Back when I lived in Dallas, I had to add at least 40 min./day onto my work hours, so it really adds up!

So, I sent out an inquiry email to 4 different Montessori schools in the area. I heard back from one last week. She said that they already had two piano teachers on staff, but would let me know if anything changed.

As of this morning, I still hadn’t heard back from the other 3, so I decided to send out a follow-up email.

Less than an hour later, I heard back from the Montessori school in Atascadero, saying that they had just gotten back from Christmas vacation yesterday and couldn’t wait to have me come in and talk about the possibilities! Not only do they already have a nice piano in their art room, but they also have Tues-Thurs. afternoons available!

Even if I only get one or two students, and even if they’re spread out in times, the school is literally 5 minutes away. So no biggie!

I was able to meet with the director this afternoon, bringing with me some updated flyers. She made copies and hung them around the school with me! I was already fingerprinted in August, so that’s already been taken care of! Now, I just need to wait….

On top of this, today I also got two email inquiries about private piano lessons!

So…we’ll see what comes of all this. Definitely a step in the right direction, even if it hasn’t translated into $ yet. Oh well, such is the self-employed life!….For now, I’m just grateful, because this definitely is a huge encouragement, right when I needed it 🙂

Writing!

Do you ever have days where you feel like giving God a huge fist-pump/high-five?

I had one of those days. Not only was Gregory incredibly sweet and loving (I think he’s given me over 40 hugs today!), but I got to watch his reaction to his first basketball game (well, there was that one when he was 2.5 months old…), and it was downright precious. He entered the gym, saw all of Jesse’s team warming up, and immediately began saying, “Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball!” over and over again, breathless and excited. After a few minutes, he ran over to me and buried his face in my lap, still chanting “ball”, over and over. It was as if he couldn’t contain all the excitement.

I also received word that I have a new part time job!

A little over a year and a half ago, I started writing online articles for my old piano company. I really enjoyed it, but once Gregory was born I forgot to keep at it. It was only a temporary arrangement, so I didn’t worry too much about it.

In preparation for buying a house, a part of the “plan” not yet enacted is finding a way for me to make more money. I still only have one piano student (I haven’t been too great at actually advertising or getting the word out!), so I’m obviously working on getting a few more (7-10 would be ideal!).

All of a sudden, I decided that it would be worth shooting an email to my old music company boss, asking if she needed any more writing done for her website. Turns out, she was more than happy to give me  6 articles/month worth of writing for now, hopefully increasing the work load in 2012! Apparently, she really remembered and liked my work enough to create a little position for me!

It’s pretty obvious that I love to write. This blog benefits me more than it does anyone else, because I couldn’t stop writing if I tried. While this job doesn’t make enough $ for me to stop searching for more piano students, it definitely helps a lot. And, since I don’t have to commute or find a babysitter, I get to do work that I enjoy, on my own time and at my own pace! Pretty perfect, no?

 

Big Time Rush

Some of you might have seen this at the beginning of the Dallas/Miami football game on Thanksgiving. In case you didn’t, here is Big Time Rush, the “band” that came to NCCS last week, singing the National Anthem. I thought that the last minute was actually pretty good for a pop/boy band!