The Music We Breathe

As I sit on my bed, two weeks before finals, trying in vain to write a research paper, my thoughts drift back to a typical summer day at home…

I wake up to a cool breeze kissing my slightly sunburned cheeks. When I open my eyes, they are bathed in the golden glow of summer sunlight. Sweet birdsong floats through the open window, and downstairs I hear the familiar melody of George Winston’s “Fragrant Fields” playing through our Sonos wireless speaker system.

I go downstairs to greet my early bird mother. At 7AM she’s already spent a solid hour in her beloved garden, pulling weeds, and checking on the progress of the tomatoes and cucumbers and raspberries. Now she’s back in the kitchen, making homemade granola, and listening to our favorite summer soundtrack – George Winston’s album entitled Summer.

As I get ready for the day, I listen to Hillsong United’s Zion album on my laptop. Lately I’ve been feeling spiritually dry and complacent, so I’m trying to make a conscious effort to fill my mind and heart with truth. Hearing the familiar melodies paired with the lyrics “Who loved me through my rebel way/Who chose to carry all my shame/Who breathes in me with endless life/The king of glory Jesus Christ” helps me keep my desperate need for God in the center of my thoughts.

Once I am ready for the day, I decide to run some errands in town. By now my mom is listening to Journey so I yell, “Where are the keys?” over the rich chords of “Faithfully” flowing out of the speakers in the living room.

I find the keys and turn on our Honda Pilot to find the stereo blasting “Long Time Gone,” another summertime favorite by The Dixie Chicks. I keep the volume up, and drive the quick 1.7 miles into town with the windows down, singing all the way.

As I walk back into the house with my arms full of mail and library books and milk, I am met by the thud-crash, thud-thud-crash of my brother practicing on the drum set in the basement. Even though he’s wearing headphones, I can tell by the distinctive pattern I hear that he’s playing along to “Just Like Lightning” by Press Play.

My sister emerges from her room and says, “I just found this awesome new song that I HAVE to show you!” I follow her and hear the acoustic goodness of “All I’ve Ever Needed” by A.J. Michalka for the first time.

While my sister is showing me her newest song discovery, my cousins come bursting through the front door in a whirlwind of noise and excitement. They’re singing “Share It With Me” by Family Force 5, bringing back memories of an old family joke. My aunt has dropped them off so they can go to the pool with my siblings. Their constant chatter and energy would give the impression that we hadn’t seen them in months, but in reality they come over to go to the pool at least three days a week.

As the oldest cousin, and the one with a driver’s license, I have become the designated pool driver. My cousins insist that we listen to Lindsey Stirling at max volume with the windows down. I willingly oblige, effectively earning bonus cool cousin points.

When I arrive back home, I immediately get into my dad’s car to run into town with him. I love that lazy summer days give me the gift of time to spend with my dad. He has a sporty blue Honda Accord with fantastic car speakers. The best part of his stereo system is the subwoofer in the back seat that allows you to truly feel the music, whether you want to or not. We put on “Louder” by D.J. Fresh. My dad has discovered that if you time it just right and start the song right before getting on the freeway, the combination of the music building and the car accelerating simulate taking off in an airplane.

By the time we get back from our errands, my mom is grilling chicken with garden-fresh peppers and onions on the deck to make fajitas for dinner. George Winston’s Summer album is playing for the second or third time, but none of us really mind.

After dinner, it’s time for our favorite nightly routine. Tonight my brother and I are on the dishes schedule, so we set out to pick what Pandora station best fits our mood. We decide on our guilty pleasure station, Pitch Perfect. In our house, dishes absolutely must be accompanied by dancing. Although my sister is off the hook for dishes tonight, she still chooses to join our dance party. My siblings are very good dancers, but somehow the coordination gene skipped me. I’ve got rhythm, but graceful I am not. However, in our kitchen, anyone can dance, and while I may not be a good dancer, I make up for my lack of skill with my enthusiasm. After thirty minutes of heavy dancing and light dishes, we decide it might be time to buckle down and finish the work.

…my roommate walks into the room, jolting me back to the reality that I’m still at college, and it’s not quite summer yet. But in two weeks I’ll be home again, where the music wiggles its way into every nook and cranny of our lives.



As a little girl, Easter meant many things to me.

It meant waking up early to find Easter baskets in unusual places such as the dryer, the pantry, or the craft closet.

It meant my sister and I wearing matching dresses in pastel colors, and my mom curling my bangs against my will.


It meant going to church, just like every Sunday, and seeing a plethora of well-dressed strangers.

It meant singing the old hymns and reading from the Gospels.

It meant packing the house full of family, and packing our stomachs full of delicious ham, and deviled eggs, and jello.

It meant going on extravagant egg hunts for treat eggs full of candy and stickers, and trick eggs full of dog food and birdseed, among other treasures.


It meant eating dinner rolls and leftover pie for dinner because we were still stuffed from our midday feast.

And it meant crashing into bed, full of sugar and good memories of another Easter well spent.

But as I have grown up, the meaning of Easter has changed.

I still love to uphold family traditions, but instead of focusing on the celebration as I did in my childhood, I now love to focus on why we celebrate.


In the glory of Easter, the sorrow and pain of death has been defeated forever!

The fear of Friday and sting of Saturday become distant memories in the face of the miracle of Easter morning.

One bright morning, 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and forever altered the trajectory of mankind.

Christ has risen! He is risen indeed!