Piano Time

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about my piano lessons and music classes! I guess I have been pre-occupied…a wedding, new house and new family make piano lessons seem just slightly less important. 😉

However, I have recently been renewed in my enthusiasm and excitement about teaching. (I’m rarely sidetracked from music for very long…) Specifically, about starting my own piano studio soon! I just bought the book “How I Made $100,00 My First Year as a Piano Teacher” by Kristin K. Yost…….What are you laughing at?  That’s what I asked Abe after I read him the title. I’m sure if I were face-to-face with you, I might be asking you that too! OK, so I know that $100,000 and piano teacher aren’t usually heard in the same sentence. Maybe not even in the same conversation. But, I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying and working at building up my students and studio experience.

I can’t wait to write more about the book—I haven’t even gotten past the first chapter because I have a list of things I need to do that I am behind on if I want to start teaching on my own. Thankfully, I’ve got the first item down: a place to teach. I’ve posted earlier about mine and Abe’s dream house and how we came to buy it. Here are some pictures of it, specifically what we call the “piano room” where I hope to teach piano lessons.

The room before we moved everything in and painted! Taken from the front entry way looking left, right leads to the rest of the house.

The room before we moved everything in and painted! Taken from the front entry way looking left, right leads to the rest of the house.

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It’s a perfect room for piano lessons–sticking out of the front of the house, not too big not too small…and since it is pretty isolated in the front of the house, that gives Abe and Kali the freedom to continue “living” in the rest of the house while I teach. When I taught at my home in West Chester, the piano was in the living room. So my family was confined to their bedrooms, the kitchen, or the basement while I taught, because I really didn’t want people walking through the lesson every couple of minutes. With this front room, Abe and Kali can get to the kitchen, the big rooms downstairs, and the bedrooms without ever having to walk through or interrupt a lesson. Perfect! 🙂

Next, Kristin Yost says to figure out the demographics of your area–who lives there, average income, etc. So I just googled demographics with my town’s name. I found some interesting information that was good to know. I live in a family-oriented community, so I’m already thinking of ideas of how to make my studio family-friendly. For instance, we have a big room downstairs that we are not sure what to do with, except to make it into a toy room for Kali and keep all of our toys and work-out equipment down there. I could make it look pretty and put a rocker or little couch in there and let families with younger kids hang out down there during the lesson. I would also like to offer group lessons for cousins. Kali has two other cousins who are around the age where they could start music classes or lessons. I’m sure there are other kids in the area who have cousins around the same age–maybe I will offer a group lesson, and if your student brings their cousin, they get two for the price of one! (Each pays half price?) Anyway…just a few ideas, not sure what will come of them! Kristin has a quote that says “Daydreaming about your business is actually strategizing.” I do plenty of daydreaming about my beautiful piano room and piano lessons, so now I can call it “strategizing!”

“Daydreaming about your business is actually strategizing.”

Lastly, she recommends setting up a website before you even begin teaching your lessons. That is what I’m currently working on. She gives a handy checklist for what should be on your website, so once I am ready with everything on that checklist I’ll start a new site. The hardest part so far has been coming up with a name. I want a cute, catchy name, but also a name that goes with my philosophy of music and foreshadows what my general purpose is in teaching. I came up with a few ideas…texted them to Abe…he shot them down. 😉 I even used Canva, a free graphic design website, to make each idea look pretty, but I agreed with him–nothing was just right. After a few days (of impatience because I want to get my site up) I finally came up with an idea that seemed to stick. I did a little design on Canva, sent a picture and text to Abe, and he confirmed that he liked that new idea. And surprisingly, it made the rest of my information flow so easily! Now, it is still subject to change since my page is not up and running yet, but I’ll give you a sneak peak at what may be the title of my new website/piano studio:

Making Piano Possible (1)

Making Piano Possible Music Studio

Like it?? Tell me what you think…and if you have any other cool ideas, let me know!! It worked really well when I went to write my philosophy section, and requirements, etc. I believe that piano can be possible for everyone–whether it’s to make a career out of, go to school for, or just play the favorite songs for the family around the holidays. The title helped me hone my goals too–I want to make painless performances possible, excellent technique possible, and enjoyable practice possible. I really believe that all of those things are possible, and that you don’t have to suffer through piano lessons like so many do.

That’s all for now…I’ll be keeping you updated as I continue brainstorming and “strategizing” for my piano studio. 🙂

Home Sweet Home

Welcome, 3pm Friday afternoon! I’ve been waiting for you all week! (Well…with Monday off and Tuesday a snow day…I can’t really say I’ve been waiting all week. But would you believe…the past three days? The past eight hours?) But now you’re here and I can go home!

“Home is the nicest word there is. Well, one of the nicest, that’s for sure.”

I can still hear Laura Ingalls’ voice from Little House on the Prairie filling our small living room on any given night when I was growing up. I have to agree with her–Home is definitely a nice word.

For me, that word has been changing a little recently, taking on a different meaning. I love all the pins and quotes on Pinterest–“Home is wherever you are” and “Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.” It’s easy to say that…but when you wake up in the morning and can’t figure out where you are, or when you walk into the kitchen to undecorated white-washed walls because you’ve put off painting, you begin to wonder how long it will take to really feel at home.

Have you ever seen Fiddler on the Roof? If you have never seen that movie, stop what you’re doing, go rent or buy it, and spend the next two hours watching it. Really. 🙂 It’s a very good movie about a Russian Jewish man living during World War One. He has five daughters, and the movie follows his relationship and reactions with each of the oldest three daughters as they grow up and get married.The middle daughter, who was always my favorite, marries a zealot who travels all over and carries out his beliefs with passion. There’s a scene where the dad takes her to the train station so she can go meet her zealous fiancée in Siberia where they will be married. Get out your tissues when it gets to that part—the music and acting and entire scene is heartbreaking! The man asks her if she’s sure she wants to leave her home, her family, and everything she’s ever known. The middle daughter tries to explain to her dad why she has to leave, and the climax of the scene leads to her drawn-out whisper, “When I’m with him…I’m home.” (Go watch it—it’ll be better than me trying to explain it! 🙂 )

I love that part–where she gives up what she knows as home for the man she loves. I haven’t done anything as dramatic as moving to Siberia  (Although I feel like I live in Siberia with this cold weather lately!) in a time with no phones or email or connections. But the dramatic part of me can sympathize with her. It’s hard changing your whole life around! But rewarding, too. Here’s what home has come to mean to me:

  • Home is when Abe apologizes after a fight.
  • Home is when we all do the dishes together. 
  • Home is hauling wood from the garage so we can be warm.
  • Home is finally finding an over-the-door hook to hang my wreaths.
  • Home is having a secret stash of birthday presents in the closet.
  • Home is when the fire is blazing, dinner is cooking, and we play “Ring Around the Rosies” fifteen times in a row in the living room. 
  • Home is carrying my sleepy little girl upstairs to her bed. 
  • Home is walking in the door, knowing that I belong right here–with these people, in this place, doing what we’re doing. 

So we could be at “home” almost anywhere! Which leads me to what I was actually planning on posting today…some lessons learned from buying a house! 🙂 I’ll try to keep this quick, but God did so many amazing things for us that I can’t go too long without sharing on my blog how He worked it out for us!

Here’s what happened: Abe and I (mainly Abe) bought a fixer-upper in October right before we got married. It’s not a major wreck, just needed some cosmetics, a few new pipes, paint, and just some TLC. We started looking at houses in the early summer, and the house we got was actually the first one we looked at! It was a little high for our budget though, and on top of that, it was about a two minute drive from his parents house! We debated over all of it, and decided we wanted something a little farther away so we could be our own family right away, etc. etc. So we decided not to put an offer in. Hence, four more months of searching. And putting in one other bid. And viewing lots of houses. Some nice, some small, some too far away, some too wrecked. Every house we went to, I couldn’t help but think how that first one was just so nice…it is perfect  for piano lessons, with a cute front room with wooden beams and a fireplace and just the right amount of space for a piano and shelving and seating. I could envision so many things in that cute house, and I began to regret influencing Abe to not get it. By this time, it had been taken off the market again.

I remember specifically being in the car with Abe when I told him that if by some chance that first house went up for sale again, we should get it, and work out the whole practically-living-next-to-mom-and-dad situation. He agreed, and then we spent the rest of the car ride listing all the solutions and boundaries we could set to make it work. Soon after we had gotten to that point in our hearts, Abe’s realtor called. She said the Rockhill Road house went up for sale again, at a lower price than it was originally. We were shocked. We went and looked at it again, and still loved it. We put in a bid, and got our call that they accepted our bid the day before it was going for Sheriff’s Sale! We were thrilled, and could finally start working on it and fixing it up and making it our own.

Isn’t it neat how God can change our minds? If I learned one thing through the whole house-buying process, it’s that God is not limited by us. When I had been regretting not getting the house the first time, my tendency was to think I had made a big mistake. Maybe I ruined our lives by influencing Abe not to get that nice first house! What if that was the one God wanted us to get! I should have been better, should have been more agreeable and had an open mind for wherever God leads. I should have seen the positive instead of just the negative. I could look at the first decision as a mistake. But God isn’t limited, or surprised, by our mistakes either. God knew if we waited four months, not only would the house be cheaper, but our hearts would be more ready to work out the social aspects of living there. In June 2014, I was not ready to live in this house.  But now, after God changed our hearts, we are absolutely so happy—we love our house, we love working on it together, we love our yard with the big playset and beautiful gazebo (that needs a lot of work and will be our spring project) and we even like being close to family. God gave us exactly what we wanted, and needed—in spite of ourselves! So go ahead—make that decision you’re thinking about making. Weigh it all out, and make the best decision you can. And rest in the fact that if God wants you somewhere else, that’s where you’ll end up. He’s in control!

Hope you enjoyed your Friday, and have a spectacular weekend. 🙂

❤ Flossie

25 Years of Wishes…and Prayers

MAKE A WISH

Yesterday, I turned 25. I don’t feel too different…yet! Over the past week or so I was thinking of making a list of my top 25 Bible verses, quotes, pictures, or memories for my birthday post. But with a full time job, keeping a house running, a three-year-old occupied and dinner on the table, my life right now is not very conducive to coming up with lists of 25 of anything! (Unless it’s a to-do list…)

So I thought we could talk about wishes. Do you have any wishes? A bucket list? I don’t have a bucket list…but randomly I’ll find myself thinking “I wish” this or that.

I have seen two shooting stars so far in my life. I know lots of people who haven’t seen any, so I feel “lucky” to have seen two. One was just randomly when I was driving my car at night while in college. My first thought was cool! My second thought was it’s silly to make wishes, everyone knows it’s not for real but my third thought was well just for the fun of it, I wish… and I made a wish that night that I could continue eating ice cream like I did then for the rest of my life and never get fat. (Seriously. Anyway everyone knows they don’t come true right??) 🙂
The second one I was sitting on a bench by a fountain on the front campus of my university, with my boyfriend at the time, and we both saw the same one. Romantic, right?? Yeah well we didn’t get married. We just weren’t right for each other and we both knew it. But I made a wish that night too–I knew I probably wouldn’t marry that guy I was sitting with, so I just wished that I would be happily married someday to someone.

Do you make a wish when you blow out candles on your birthday cake? I can still picture my family’s small living room on cold February nights, year after year, lights dimmed, people crowded, and a big pink and white Valentines cake with flickering candles sitting in front of me. My big extended family would sing at the top of their lungs, off-key, “Happy Birthday” to me, and of course when the song ended, everyone would be laughing or clapping and calling out for me to make a wish. For someone who doesn’t believe in wishes coming true, I sure have made a lot of wishes! 😉

So at 11:11 or birthdays or shooting stars I maybe will make a wish for the fun of it, but there is something better than a wish that I believe in, and I hope you do too. I believe in prayer. I can trace who I am today, and all the blessings I have, back to someone’s prayers. My Poppop Koechig used to tell us all the story many times about how it was through his mother’s prayers that he married a Christian girl (my Grandmom) instead of the Catholic girl he was dating. Prayer saved my dad’s life when he was in a serious car accident in his teens. Prayer kept my family’s finances going–through five kids, a stay-at-home mom, and Christian School payments. And now, God has answered our prayers for college funds, and four out of the five kids in our family either are, or will be in the next year or two, graduating college debt-free. (Our youngest sibling, Jacob, leaves for his first year of college this fall!)

In my own personal life, I love looking back and seeing all the prayers that God answered–whether I realized it at the time or not. I know that I owe who I am right now to my own mom, who has prayed for me since before I was born. She has even fasted for certain “bigger” concerns in my life, and God answered her prayers. To this day, if I really really need something, I call up mom and ask her to pray for it. I am incredibly thankful for that heritage and hope to pass it on to Kali and any other kids I have!
And it is amazing to see the answered prayers in Abe’s life. Someday maybe I will be able to share some of his story with you, but it gives me chills sometimes to think about Abe’s life before I knew him, and all the prayers his mother prayed for him, that possibly kept him alive, and made it possible for me to marry him. I’m thankful for a godly mother-in-law who didn’t give up on her son, or her faith in God.

I wish I could give you a snapshot of what I envision in my mind when I think of prayer. It is my dad–at the crack of dawn, driving his old station wagon into crime-ridden downtown Chester, sitting in the car outside his plant, opening up the old wrinkled Bible and praying through the aged, creased, single piece of notebook paper with his prayer list scribbled in his own writing on it. It is my mom–in her robe, sitting in the living room easy chair with the lamp on next to her, reading her Bible and praying until we woke up to get ready for school and she went in the kitchen to make our lunches. It is my Grandmom–gathering everyone into one room at her house every time we came over so that she could pray for our “needy family”. It is teens in our youth group, kneeling in their classrooms and fasting for the upcoming revival meetings. Check out http://youthablaze.us/ to see what God is doing in this fiery group. I hope you have a picture in your mind of what prayer looks like. Has it changed your life? The most important prayer that you could ever pray is the prayer to let Jesus into your life.  I hope that you have done that already!

Do you make wishes? Have they come true? I’ll be praying for you, whoever you are reading this blog. I hope on your birthday you say wishes and enjoy seeing movies of wishes come true…but if you ever find yourself in a place where the fairy-tale ends, and the wishes are just blown away in the wind like the dandelion seeds, I pray that it will lead you to find the One who really wants to give you your hearts desire…and He is as close as a whispered prayer!

Flossie ❤

P.S. I had a wonderful birthday–got to sleep in due to a delay because of ice, bake cookies with Kali, and then spend a quiet evening at home. Abe continued a new tradition he started last year…my favorite store is White House Black Market (http://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/) but it’s a little pricey for me! Last year on my birthday he went and picked out a dress from there and got shoes to match it. This year, sure enough, I woke up on Tuesday morning to a beautiful White House Black Market box with an even more beautiful dress in it, and and elegant matching bracelet and sweater! He definitely spoiled me…hope he knows this is an expensive pattern to follow!

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Heart to Heart

Happy February!

Since I’ve started keeping up with my blog, I have a whole folder on my computer of started blog posts, ideas for future posts, lists, etc. that I want to post at some point. I was actually feeling like I had too many ideas to keep up with! Now it’s been a little over a week since I last posted, and I just wasn’t feeling any of my topics or previously started posts. So I thought I would post something random about February–my favorite month of the year–and maybe that will boost my inspiration again!

January seems like a “cold” winter month to me, while February seems to be a “warm/cozy” winter month. I don’t know why that is–maybe it’s just me! But seeing all of the Valentines decorations and crafts out in the stores, looking forward to President’s Day off school, and knowing it’s my birthday month have always made me love February. Yup–I’m going to be 25 in 5 days! That is really hard to believe. (I just got an inspiration for a birthday post! That’ll keep me going for another week 🙂 ) So today I am going to share a story that has to do with my husband Abe and my birthday, and then I’ll post some Valentines inspiration. Hope you enjoy this post!

When Abe and I were just beginning to talk, but weren’t officially dating yet, we went out to eat with a group of friends, and the conversation came up about what age is the perfect age to get married. Some friends said early twenties, late twenties, etc. (I’m thinking in my head, the earlier the better! At age 23 at the time, I had already noticed that my Grandmother had been married three years by that time, my mom was about to have her first baby when she was 23, and my sister-in-law was married and pregnant at that age. And I, on the other hand, was sitting there with my other single friends who all lived at home and worked during the week and went out on the weekends to talk about the perfect age to get married!)

ANYWAY, one particular friend of ours mentioned that he thought 30 was the perfect time to marry and settle down. I hadn’t been saying much in the conversation, but I couldn’t help making a comment there…I told the table that if I wasn’t married by the time I was 25, then I didn’t want to get married at all. Abe was sitting next to me and started laughing when I said that, and I immediately felt a little embarrassed. I didn’t want to scare him off! I just stubbornly wanted to be like all the other females in my family and be a young mom and young grandmother, and if I couldn’t be a young bride than I didn’t want to be a bride at all. (So I might definitely have some of my Poppop Koechig’s blood in me…)

Shortly after that conversation, I went on a missions trip to Vanuatu. While I was there, I saw and did and experienced tons of crazy, life-changing things. I remember one particular day, early in the morning (you have not experienced a beautiful, warm, listen-to-the-birds early morning until you have been to Vanuatu!) that God was working on my heart in the area of giving over every desire to Him. My wish to be married before I was 25 kept coming to my mind–I did NOT want to give that over to Him. I did NOT  want to be married as an older lady! But I finally surrendered to Him, and told Him that I give my life to Him– If I’m supposed to get married later, than that is the best way my life could go. Now, I had to pray that again several times when the anxious thoughts and worries came back, but I never struggled with the heartache nearly as much as I had before that trip.

Now fast-forward to July, 2014. One of these days I will share our full engagement story, but for now just know that after the thrilling jump and parachutes were up and the sign was seen and the ring was on my finger, one of the first conversations we had was about when we wanted to get married. We had two options–do a 6-month engagement and have a winter wedding, or wait almost a year until spring. Being the slow decision-maker that I am, I wanted to weigh all the options and pros and cons of each. To Abe, the decision was simple. I remember him smiling at me and saying, “I don’t care what date you want as long as it’s before February 10, 2015.” Do I have an awesome guy or what?? And I have an awesome God too…who wants to give us the desires of our hearts! We joked about how if we don’t get married before then, we won’t be able to get married because I vowed that I wouldn’t get married after 25. I’ve always wanted a Christmas wedding anyway, so our December 19th date was finally set, and I was married at the medium-old age of 24. As I’m so close to turning 25 now, I can’t help but continually thinking of that story and how God worked out my life for me in His perfect way and timing, and how giving over all my stubborn desires is definitely the best way to go. Even if He doesn’t work it all out exactly how I want it…His way is still best!

So there’s my heartwarming story for this week before Valentines. Have you ever had a desire that you gave over to God, and He gave it back to you better than you could have imagined? I hope so! I’ve also had experiences when He gave back something entirely different, but that was still just right. I hope you recognize and look for those times, and thank God for all that He does in your life. I know I have so much to thank Him for!

Enjoy your Valentines Day!

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Just love this! Here’s the link: http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/01/24-valentines-cards-for-2-49-shipped.html but looks like you could DIY it too!

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This is cute and looks easy!

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