There's A Live Concert Coming!

Hi Everyone!

As you can see, I have neglected this blog for awhile, but today is a new day! 

Where have I been all this time, you may ask?

Well, I have been working with students…

Let's Have Empathy for Lunch!

I was pretty young when I first heard that one of my siblings sat alone during lunch at school. It still makes me hurt to think of it. Why would other people do that? Students can be so cruel…

Feeling Something

I have not yet felt much of anything about the NYC truck terrorist, but I think I should. Today’s attack took place within blocks of where my daughter would have been going to school, had she not felt bad…

Jewel's Mandolin

It was a little unnerving to see a headless mandolin on Renee's kitchen table. The strings were still attached at both ends, but the neck was broken in between the place where you finger it and where the strings wrap…

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My Mountain Home

For those traveling from the west toward East Tennessee, I-40 makes a sharp curve at the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau where it drops steeply to Rockwood. From that height, one can see the Smokey Mountains towering on…

Pictures of Africa, Part 9 – Plans to Return


One of the most exciting things about my trip to Bulembu was the continuous sense that I had work to do there.  As I have already mentioned, I first felt it when I met the student musicians, even more so…

Pictures of Africa, Part 8 – Just A Little Light 


Making connections is the best and most uncertain part of a mission trip. We all hope to meet people, get to know them, and, maybe get to understand and love them, but who can guarantee that will happen? All one…

Pictures of Africa, Part 7 – Hard Work! 


I cannot say enough about the hard working people who came on this trip. They paid money to sweat. The childcare services of Bulembu are partially funded by cottage industries, including a bakery, spring water bottling, honey production, a dairy…

Pictures of Africa, Part 6 – Where They Live 


Every child in Bulembu lives in a house like this, six to a house with a house mother called an “Auntie.”  Meals are served cafeteria style, so the houses only have to be large enough for beds and living space…

Pictures of Africa, Part 5 – Faces 


The children of Bulembu are like children everywhere. When we wave at them from our van, they flash beautiful, unguarded smiles and wave back.  When we greet them in class, they reply, “Hello visitas!” There is a polite formality about…

Pictures of Africa, Part 4 – Feels Like Home 


It never occurred to me to think of Africa as a mountainous land, but it is. In many ways, it looks like East Tennessee where I grew up. The peaks have been blunted by time, and though the mountains are…

Pictures of Africa, Part 3 - Singers of Songs



For 60 years Bulembu, Swaziland hosted the largest asbestos mine in the world, but as the world became wary of asbestos-related illness, the demand for asbestos faded. In 2001 the mine closed and the city that once housed 10,000 people…