All Is Well, Lights and My Holiday Letter to You!


As I write this I have several significant deadlines approaching and mission critical decisions that are needing to be made. I don’t have the necessary information or desire to make them, but there they are, hiding in plain sight and serving as a constant reminder that they are soon coming ashore whether I want them to or not.

I have started and stopped this newsletter almost a half dozen times and the result is six half written articles that are not yet worthy of your time and attention such as:

  • Are you wanting to know about music, ADD, and how your birth month affects all of the above? That one never made it past paragraph two. 

  • Are you curious as to how music is both the cause and the solution to helicopter parenting? You were close to reading that! That one was 2/3rds written, but just felt forced.

  • Curious about the a grammatical error in the Constitution and ties to music education? So was I, but it was a bit of a stretch.

  • I’m not even gonna tell you about my idea about having you write a letter to your future self (but I guess I just did).

Yep, all of these and the several other half baked articles will likely find their voice (and eventually your inbox) at some point, just not today.

Fifteen years and over 750 articles have taught me to not force an idea. So, I wait… And wait… And In case you were not aware, patience is not a strength of mine.

In times like these, I have people, places, and things that I look to for inspiration, reflection, and distraction. During this time of year it’s holiday lights! Yep, lights are my jam! I am like the DaVinci (editor insert: more like Chevy Chase) of holiday lights! I know that lights are a commercialized representation of the holiday, but I am a person who requires evidence of things, and for me, holiday lights serve that purpose. 

Like I said, me likey the lights!

My relationship with holiday lights hasn’t always gone well or been easy. In fact, I wrote about our tortured relationship back in 2015 here. But, still they draw me in and can distract me for hours. 

Noticing that the work day had turned into work night while I continued getting nowhere, I decided to stop writing, clear my mind, and go futz with my lights. I like to change what they do each and every night through my phone app. (I told you lights were my jam!) Tonight would be the night I would check out the apps newest feature "syncing to music.”

Needing appropriate music, I typed Christmas music into my iTunes search bar and what came up was Christmas by Michael W. Smith. 

If you have not heard this album, you should! For me, it is the finest holiday album ever made. Published in 1989, it is the forgotten step-child of his 32 other albums. Even his three other holiday albums pale in comparison. The album is pop in nature but layered with extensive orchestral and choral interludes that make it as unique as it is inspirational. 

So I hit play and watched the lights put on a show to my favorite song on the album, All Is Well. Smith's orchestration of lush strings set against a child’s voice is spectacular and the triumphant horns at the end would do John Williams proud.

So there I sat, in my front yard with music blaring and my lights twinkling, and it hit me…


The deadlines will be met. The projects will be completed. The decisions will be made and in time I will say, “All Is Well.”

Your job is as difficult as it comes. Much more difficult than mine. After all, talking about something requires less than actually doing that something. You battle parents and administrators with the fierceness of a warrior, tend to hurt knees and hurt feelings with the compassion of a caregiver, and deliver information and inspiration like an all knowing sherpa, leaving little time for you and the ones you love. You likely have recently felt tired and deflated as the weight of looming deadlines and decisions become heavy and burdensome.

Know that it is worth it and it will be okay. Understand that the struggle is in balance with the gain and that while it may not be evident each and every day, YOU make a difference in the lives of countless young people. Believe that ALL IS WELL and you will see evidence of it right there in your classroom. You will hear it in your students’ voices and see it on their faces. You will feel it in their joy and experience it through their music.

Like I said, I require evidence of things, and just as it is in front of you each and every day, it was there right in front of me, in plain sight, and on my front lawn. All IS WELL!


p.s. Seriously, if I could give you all a copy of this album as a holiday gift I would. Take a moment, turn down the lights in your space and give this a listen. Heck, listen to the entire album.