I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.
I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
It is interesting how traditions get started and then with time grow richer in their meaning.
Some of my earliest memories are of my mother singing to me a song she wrote. It’s all in Spanish and the melody itself is filled with gentle waves that always carried me into a lovingly, restful sleep. To this day, it is still one of my most precious childhood memories and every so often I ask my mother to sing it again.
When we found out I was pregnant with our first child, I immediately started writing a song that I could sing to her. Over these past 9 years, it is a song I have sung to all of our children whenever we put them to bed.
A New Bedtime Singing Tradition
But like I mentioned before, traditions can become richer over time. About 4 or 5 years ago, a conversation between our oldest daughter and my husband sparked a new tradition. A tradition that has brought loved ones that passed away long ago, back into our every day lives.
Their conversation was about my husband’s mother and grandmother who passed away before she was born. Somehow, they started talking about his mother and grandmother’s favorite hymns. It was then that the new bedtime singing tradition was born.
Now, every night after we’ve tucked our kids into bed and said prayers, we then ask a question we already know the answer to:
All of these songs are ones we hope will be passed on for generations to enjoy singing as well. Of course, we hope others will be added to the list as well. This has been one wonderful way our family has been able to connect family members across generations and keep the memory of loved ones alive. In singing their favorite songs, it’s almost like we are singing with the generations before us.
What are some of your parents, grandparents or great grandparents’ favorite songs?
What ways do you keep the memory of loved ones alive?
Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Have you ever wanted to do something but then time goes by and you forget about it because you never thought it could be accomplished?
God knows our heart’s desire even if we sometimes forget them.
My story begins when I was a little girl. I went to church where my grandmother was the pianist. I would listen to her play and dream of doing the same. So at the age of five, my mother enrolled me in piano lessons with the best teacher in our little town. I was so excited and practiced endlessly. I went to piano contests and did very well.
But, alas, the teen years arrived and practicing was no longer fun. I didn’t get to learn any fun, contemporary songs, just classical music – Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky. I learned some hymns, but not the way a church pianist plays. (Playing from a hymnal is very different from playing classical music. It’s a different skill set, altogether.) My mother soon grew weary of paying for lessons and me not practicing. I quit piano lessons after nine years and gave up hope of ever playing for the church.
My Desire Collecting Dust
Fast forward (cough cough) twenty something years. Although, I still owned my piano, I had only played it a few times while attempting to teach my oldest child to play. The piano was more of a piece of furniture than an instrument in our home.
At this time, we were attending a small congregation when it split. The first Sunday after the split, we gathered at a former member’s home. After our Bible study, we discussed what needed to be done if we were going to form a new congregation. The song leader mentioned that it would be nice if we had a piano player. I did not say anything because I did not believe I played well enough. After all, I had not lifted the cover of my piano in 10 years. The homeowner spoke up and said, “Toni plays the piano.” I was shocked. I didn’t know that she knew about my piano past. All I could say was, “Who says Toni plays the piano?” (I tend to refer to myself in third person when I get nervous.)
I didn’t think much more about that conversation because as far as I was concerned, I could not play the piano. Hymns were out of my realm, or so I thought. Of course, that wasn’t the end of the story. I kept having this feeling and hearing God telling me that I could play. So, I went to a music store and purchased a couple of books and started practicing every spare moment I had. I was driving my family crazy.
The next week, I went to visit the song leader with a yellow sticky note in hand that contained the names of five hymns. I told him God had been dealing with me. I had learned five songs that I would play on Sunday and that I would learn five new songs every week. He was surprised and thanked me. The first time I played, I was so nervous. My husband said that they could not sing fast enough to keep up with my playing!
A Desire of My Heart Realized
Gone are the days that I have to pick out the songs and practice them all week. I have been the church pianist for almost four years now and I know that my grandmother is looking down from heaven smiling that I have followed in her footsteps. God knew my heart’s desire and he opened another pathway for me to serve and worship him. We never know when he will give us our heart’s desire.
What desires from your past might God be trying to wake up in your heart again?
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