Always Being Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving. The time of year when we say what we are thankful for.

Here is a list of a few things that I am thankful for:
-my parents for their support, their encouragement and love
-my friends who are like family, the quality of their friendship and that they haven’t left my side (They know who they are)
-the kindness of others
-pain; without it I wouldn’t know joy
-music; it is such a huge part of my life
-being a Christian and the Christian people in my life

There are so many more things in my life that I am thankful for, but why is it only “acceptable” to say what we’re thankful for on Thanksgiving Day? I think we should treat everyday like thanksgiving. I think that would give us a chance to see the small things around us that we are thankful for.

If we have an attitude of thankfulness everyday it can change our character into someone who is joyful, thankful, and looking on the positive side. But to change our character into someone who is thankful we need to have a positive outlook in life. We also need to be thankful for the small things in our life. And we even need to be thankful for the hard times in our life. James 1:2-3 says “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Job 2:10 says “But Job replied, You talk like a foolish woman. Should we only accept good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?…”

I think thankfulness should be more than just saying what we are thankful for, it should be a way of life. If we look at Paul, Paul was someone who was always thankful and joyful. In Acts 16:26 Paul and Silas were singing praises to God, and they were in jail. Paul encouraged others to be thankful and thanked God as well. Paul was continuously thanking God no matter the situation he was in. This showed that Paul was content in his life. Being thankful helps us focus on what we have, not what we don’t have. When Paul and Silas were in jail they were singing because they knew that God was with them and that was all they needed.

If we choose not to be thankful we can become discontent. This can make us unhappy with our situations, which could lead to making us unhappy with our lives. Being discontent will suck the joy out of your life. Discontentment shows up when you are focusing on the negative things in your life and everything that we think isn’t going right. In Philippians 4:11 Paul said “not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” To not be discontent it is helpful to become thankful for what you do have. As well, learning to appreciate the things you may despise or hate. This is not easy to do but by starting to be thankful, you will be able to be content in your life.

I encourage you to make these next 12 months a time of thanksgiving. I encourage you to have an “attitude of gratitude” which will cause you to overflow with thankfulness. Being thankful will give you joy and joy will give you peace when you face obstacles in your life. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says “ rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

New Perspectives

This past weekend the Regina Symphony Orchestra had their opening night for the 2017-2018 season. For their opening night they had a percussion soloist. Her name is Dame Evelyn Glennie. She is the first person in the world to make a career from being a solo percussionist. On top of being a solo percussionist, she is also deaf. She lost her hearing when she was 12 years old. On Friday the University of Regina had the opportunity to have her speak and share about music. I feel like I have a whole new way of looking at music after hearing Evelyn. She started out by saying that when she went for her first percussion lesson her teacher just gave her a snare drum and said see you next week. There were no sticks, nor a stand for the drum, just the drum. During the week she made different motions/sounds on the drum. Her next lesson her teacher told her to play the snare drum as if it was a tractor. Since she grew up on a farm she wondered  what kind of tractor; a tractor that was stopped, a slow tractor, a bumpy tractor, etc.. The decision was up to her. And from the decision she could experiment with music. She said her teacher could have just told her, stand this way, this is the posture, hold the sticks this way, and so on. But by giving Evelyn a choice of what tractor she wanted the drum to sound like, she was able to experiment with music. Evelyn said she found that very valuable. One of the questions that was asked was how does her hearing work? She said that when she started playing percussion her teacher tuned 3 or 4 timpani to different intervals and she would hit the timpani with the mallet and her teacher asked her where she felt the vibrations in her body. For example she could maybe feel the note “C” in her fingers and the note “F” in her arm. The teacher kept tuning the timpani to smaller and smaller intervals apart and maybe now she could feel a “C” in the top of her fingers and maybe a “C#” in the middle of her fingers. As someone who has hearing that was a new way for me to look at music. I’m all about hearing the music and hearing if there is something wrong, but Evelyn has to rely on the vibrations she feels in her body. She has to rely on her other senses. She also said she treats every piece at every concert like it is a world premiere. If you don’t treat the piece like it is a world premiere eventually you will not be excited to play it anymore and it becomes a chore and not an enjoyment. I know for me some days I just don’t want to play certain piece because I’ve felt like I’ve played it enough times, but I never know who is listening and maybe they have never heard the piece that I am playing before. But even if you don’t want to rehearse/practice that day you still need to have a goal to accomplish. At concerts she plays without shoes so that her feet can feel the vibrations of the music on the floor. Every stage she performs on is different. It could be a wooden stage or a metal stage, etc.. So the vibrations she feels will not always be felt in the same spot. On Saturday when I went to the Symphony to hear Evelyn perform, she was amazing. Even when I saw her on Friday you wouldn’t have been able to tell that she was deaf. I was just so amazed watching her play. Dame Evelyn Glennie gave me a whole new way and a whole new perspective of looking at music.