A friend posted a wonderful message on Facebook a bit ago called Why Teach Music . When I asked if she wrote it, she said that she had not.  But that did not make the message any less meaningful to her.  It made it more.  Because like a song the message resonated with her, with me, and  with so many others.  Music is powerful. It celebrates the times of our lives, it teaches us structure and it fuels our creativity.  So I asked my friend, a life long music lover and teacher of music to share with me why music makes a difference and here is what Lynne Kearney had to share.

Lynne is a recently retired public school music teacher who taught elementary music for twelve years in the Danbury, CT public schools and ten years at the Middle School and High School in the Region 14 Woodbury Bethlehem, CT school system While she may have retired from public school teaching, she is still helping students prepare for their regional music festival and All-State auditions and performances. Then she attend the festivals to support these fine young musicians.

JKW: When did YOU discover your love for music?

LK: My love for music began when I was very young. I was blessed that there was always some kind of music in our house. We would always be listening to records or the TV, where we watched and listened to concerts, Lawrence Welk or Ed Sullivan. My mother took my sister and I to many concerts of the Danbury Symphony and whatever else we could see for free. We all took piano lessons. Richard played the accordion. In school, my sister Ysabel learned to play the trumpet and I learned to play the clarinet. We sang in the church choir. In eighth grade I started to accompany the glee club at Main Street School and I became the organist at my church. In high school, my music teacher and mentor was Mr. James Humphreville. He is also the person who encouraged me to study music education. After getting my teaching degree many years later, it was he who hired me as a music teacher in the Danbury School system.

JKW:  There is something magical about sharing what we love.  How do you share the magic? 

LK:  A few weekends ago, I took a friend, who is at the tender age of 2 ½ , to see a New Haven Symphony’s children’s performance of a world premiere, Greta’s Dream. This is a new work about a hippo who wants to learn to fly. The ensemble for this adorable story consisted of a story teller and four double basses. They had my little friend, and all of the other wee ones mesmerized. And this is where it needs to start, if indeed it has not already been started.

My three best friends, Susann, Sandy, and Nancy are all musicians. We met between thirty-seven and forty years ago, doing community theater. Music is major in our lives and we celebrate each other’s birthdays in song. I can’t imagine our lives without song.”

JKW: How has music made a difference in your life?

It is my life. While in college I accompanied many of my fellow students’ recitals. I taught music in a nursery school. I also played the piano for a ballet school and started music directing musicals at the Brookfield Little Theater and other local theaters. I gave private piano lessons for many, many years. While in high school and college I was a fifer in the Connecticut Rebels of ’76 Ancient Fife and Drum Corps. Every guy I dated was a musician. I met my husband, Jack, doing musical theater.

While in the active years of my teaching I was President of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Orff Schulwerk Association. This organization shows the wonderful process of how to teach  children the joy of learning music through singing, dancing and playing of simple instruments. I was also Choral Representative for Connecticut Music Education Association and on many Connecticut State music committees that helped develop music curriculum and evaluation of music teachers. I was festival chair and choral chair of the Berkshire League Music Festival several times. I was active in both middle school and high school music festivals throughout the last ten years of my teaching. I took thirty credits, beyond my sixth year, of music courses that would make me be a vital music teacher to my students. I love music and I wanted to share that joy with them. I wanted to plant seeds to help them grow into life-long participants of music, audience members, appreciators of what music gave them, humanity, sensitivity, and feelings.

JKW: How have you seen music make a difference in the lives of others?

LK:  Well, it certainly was a part of my children’s lives. They both studied piano. In school Josh learned to play the trumpet and Betsy learned to play the clarinet and bass clarinet. They were both active in their schools music programs. Betsy sang with the Litchfield County Children’s Choir for several years. (I ultimately co-conducted that group for about five years.)

Over the years I have sung with the Danbury Concert Chorus, the Connecticut Choral Society, Alamanda, and am now singing with the Waterbury Chorale. I was music director for the Thomaston Opera House for several years as well as Minister of Music in three different Lutheran churches for over forty years.

JKW:  Why is music education important?

LK:  Just read Why Teach Music. I can’t say it any better. That is why I was compelled to share it.

JKW:  What can readers do to help keep the love of music alive in their communities?

LK:  Be proactive. Join local music organizations, be it a choral group, a band, a music or concert association. Attend public school performances. Support our young musicians. Give them a pat on the back for a job well done.

Donate used instruments that you no longer use, to your local schools. If you play the piano or an instrument, ask if you might help accompany a group or play in a musical selection that might call for your instrument. Let the teachers or directors know that you are available. Help with logistics of programs, whether it be to write out the program or help set up risers.

If you have a child who is learning to play an instrument or is taking voice lessons, (or dancing or painting), encourage them to practice, but remember not to take away the joy of their new adventure. Share their excitement. It will only get better and better.

We are fortunate in our community in that we have founded the Woodbury-Bethlehem Community Music Foundation. We are a public charity that seeks to enhance consciousness and enthusiasm for music activities and experiences for music activities. We want to provide our community with valuable life learning and appreciation of music. This organization has funded the local school region to start a full-fledged string program. We are very excited about that! You can find out more info on Facebook and on our website.

JKW:  What is one of your favorite music memories?

LK:  In March of my last teaching year, I had a concert with all of my choral students, current and previous members, faculty, former college music colleagues and a professional opera singer. Even my mentor, Jim Humphreville was there. This concert raised over $1200 for the music foundation, but even better than that we all had such fun making music together. That excitement and commitment to the passion of the music performed that evening is what music making is all about.

celebrating-the-love-of-mus

JKW:  So what’s next?

LK:  My life’s goal is to share my love and joy, my passion for what music can do for the soul with everyone I come in contact with.

I currently sing with the Waterbury Chorale and the St. Rose of Lima Festival Chorus in Newtown, CT. I am active on the Worship Committee at Our Savior Lutheran Church and have added music in various ways to our services and  have plans in the works to form a Hospice Choir.

“Viva la musica! And remember, always keep a song in your heart!” – Lynne Kearney

Music touches our lives in so many different ways.  Lynne Kearney first touched mine with her music as musical director in shows I performed in, then as a friend, and in a very special moment as organist and musical director for my wedding 25 years ago

Valentines weekend is a time when we share what we love with the ones we love.  Lynne does this every day of the year.  Her story is a great reminder that we can too.

I hope you enjoyed Lynne’s Little Life Story.  Stay tuned and as Lynne likes to say.. always keep a song in your heart.

Joan Koerber-Walker

About the Joan:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits as well as to community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.  Equally important, she is a wife, a mom, and a friend  to many around the world keeping in touch through her blogs, with over 150,000 social media friends, and of course face to face.  Today, she is the chairman of CorePurpose, Inc. which she founded in 2002 and works to make a difference in her community as the Chairman of the Board of the Opportunity  through  Entrepreneurship Foundation and as an advisor to The FUSION Foundation and The Healing Trees Humanitarian Project.  To learn more about how CorePurpose and the CoreAlliance can help you grow your business in 2011, you can contact her by clicking here.

CorePurpose  is a registered trademark of CorePurpose, Inc.  CoreAlliance is a  service mark of CorePurpose Inc.  All rights reserved

ICE-CAVERN3

Each morning I start my day

outside with my laptop

checking to see what has happened

in the world while I slept.

I watch the sun come up

over the mountain.

It’s so peaceful and quiet.

I can gather my thoughts

and listen to the fountain

bubbling away.

Hummingbirds play

in the fountain’s spray

as the sky is painted

in hues of gold, blue and mauve.

But what’s this?

ICE-CAVERN-1

When I came out this morning

it was eerily quiet and oh so cold.

The fountain was silent.

No water glistened in

the dawning rays of the sun.

Instead, pillars of ice were glowing in shades of gold…

painted by the sun’s early rays.

During the night an arctic wind

had blown through the desert.

Its breath silencing the water’s babble

creating icy fingers reaching down

to touch the pool

where humming birds were wont to sip

from the fountains stream.

ICE-PILLARS

They encased the fountain’s tiers

like an icy wedding cake

stretching from layer to layer.

Ice cakes don’t come often

to the Valley of the Sun.

I grabbed my camera

to capture the moment

so my family could see this rare event.

For surely once the sun has risen

the icy fingers would disappear

and the hummingbirds would return

to sip from the fountain and

dance around the ears

FOUNTAIN-3-CROPPED

of the little boy

who watches it

night and day.

Now, in the sun’s early rays,

he looks confused.

His little feet are white with ice

and the pool they normally play in

frozen solid.

Instead there are only pillars of ice

creating a landscape

he can not see

for the magic wrought by nature

is hidden from his view.

Nature is a wondrous thing… especially when it surprises us.

Thanks for stopping by for a little life story.

Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

My kid taught me something yesterday. Determination trumps it all.

Chris Nationals 2008 005From the time he was 8 years old, my son Chris had been pursing a dream to be a professional athlete and play in the NHL and he put everything he had into it.  His dream took him places with leadership roles on teams in the WSHL, the BCHL, and the EJHL.  By the age of 20, he had competed in 5 USA Hockey Junior National Championship Tournaments and was talking to colleges about next steps. Then, at the end of 2009, something was not right.  He lost 75 lbs in three months (not a good thing for someone with hardly any body fat to begin with) and landed in the hospital.   The doctors diagnosed him with Crohn’s Disease and told him to take it easy and give himself a chance to recover.

He recovered alright, but he did not take it easy.  He was determined to succeed.  He hit the gym and the ice.  By spring of 2010 he was back.  In prime condition, he had his first a minor league pro try out.  He blew  the scouts and the coaches away.  But not the front office.  To them a player with Crohn’s was too much of a business risk. “Yes, there are NHL players  who have successfully played the game after getting the disease,” he was told, “but they were not going to sign one on as a rookie.”

Not long after that, he made a decision. As a certified personal trainer, he had helped others for several years.  He would focus on that as a business and find a sport that would allow him to use his skills and talents to succeed and reach his goals while completing his college education in Criminal Justice at the University of Phoenix.    Not willing to set his pro sport dreams aside, he shifted his focus to a new competitive sport.  Cross Fit.  He began to train and learn everything he needed to learn about this new sport.  On January 15th he entered his first Cross Fit Competition, The Hammer of AZ in the Achilles event. Take a look.

 

Less than one year after being told that his Crohn’s Disease made him too much of a business risk for professional hockey–Chris enters his first Cross Fit Competition and places 12th in the Achilles Competition at The Hammer of AZ. The event involved running 400 meters and then lifting 135 pounds as many times as you can in a total of 4 minutes. Then repeat the process three more times.

Video at YouTube.com – Chris at Cross Fit – The Hammer of AZ

The Next Goal

Now it’s back to business and training.  He’s determined to succeed, compete., and win.

He’ll get there.  He’s determined.

And his Dad, brother and I will be there to cheer him on to victory again.

Thanks for stopping by for a little life story. Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

 

Note:  The sport of cross fit is catching on with people  of all ages.  Not everyone needs to be an “Achilles”.  You might enjoy learning more in this video.

 

A short video on the sport of Cross Fit

YouTube.com: What Is Cross Fit? Full video by CrossFit by Overload

I am now officially ready for Christmas.  Yesterday I gave away my last dollar. 

Before you start rallying the troops to come to my aid, I am not going hungry this Christmas.  And hopefully someone else won’t either.

You see each year when I start planning for Christmas, I get a bunch of dollars.  In my purse is an envelope with the list of gifts I need to get for family and friends and I stash my dollars there too.  Then as I go along my merry way between Thanksgiving and Christmas, doing the shopping and other holiday chores, I can stop to say “Thank You” to a bell ringer and put a dollar in the kettle.  There is no IRS receipt or silent auction glitter, just a moment of conversation and a smile from someone who was willing to stand outside for hours ringing a bell to remind us that this is the season of giving and that it feels good to do something special for others.

Of course, the holiday season does not have an exclusive on giving.  Helping others is needed the whole year through.  A great example is Carlo Garcia in Chicago who has made it his mission to give 365 days a year.  He’s not a millionaire philanthropist like Buffet or Gates. He’s just a regular guy that gave up his daily Starbucks run and now puts that money to a better use.  You can see his story here:

‘You don’t have to be rich and famous to make a little bit of good,’  ~ Carlo Garcia (MSNBC.com)

Another way we can  make a difference is by giving of our time and talents.  I get to see this every year first hand as a a small committed group of entrepreneurs and friends work for months to put together the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference (AZEC) the key fund raiser for the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation.  Like Christmas, it takes lots of work and planning and then is over in one day, but what a day it is.  I am always inspired by how the OTEF Team plus our wonderful speakers and volunteers share their talents so that our entrepreneurial community can engage and connect and so OTEF can raise the funds needed to help at risk populations (you know the folks that REALLY need help) find a path to economic self sufficiency through entrepreneurship.

So this year let’s make it a year of giving whether it’s our time, our talent, or our dollars and  if you are thinking about starting a new Christmas tradition at your house, you might want to get your own envelope of dollars next year.  It’s a wonderful sign that Christmas is here and a great feeling when the envelope is empty and you have given away your last dollar.

Thanks for stopping by for a little life story.  Stay tuned….  

 

Joan Koerber-Walker

About the Joan:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits, as well as into community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.   She’s also a wife, a mother, and the Chairman  of the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation.  You can contact her by clicking here.

Each year, I like to record a special Christmas story for my nieces and nephews who are scattered across the country.  I recorded this reading of CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Cynthia Holt Cummings (Holt Peterson Press, 1989) for my nieces and nephews in 2009, but all of us can believe in the spirit of Peter the Bear and the message he comes to share.

You can watch last year’s story here… you might need to turn up your speakers.

As Christmas is less than two weeks away, it’s time to record another story for Christmas 2010.  I have some wonderful books upstairs in my library, but my guess is that you have Christmas favorites too.  So send me a note or leave me a comment and who knows – perhaps YOUR favorite Christmas story will appear here on Christmas Eve when I will be sharing it with the children I care about and perhaps some that you treasure too.

 

Thanks for stopping by…and Merry Christmas

 

Joan Koerber-Walker

Voting and muscles have something in common.  They both work best with regular and proper exercise.

Today, November 2, 2010, citizens of the United States (who are registered voters) have the opportunity to use their muscles and elect leaders that will shape our lives today and the future of our states and  our country.

In addition to the races for local, state and national office, there are 160 ballot measures going before voters in 37 states today.

Of the items on the ballot, 42 are citizen initiatives (proposed new laws or constitutional amendments placed on the ballot by citizen petition); one is a popular referendum (a proposal to repeal an existing law, also placed on the ballot by citizen petition); three are mandatory votes on whether to hold a state constitutional convention; and 114 were placed on the ballots by state legislatures. Read more and find links in this article on CNN.com.

So today, not only do we have the chance to elect the people who we choose to represent us, we also have the opportunity to vote on actual laws locally if we live in the 37 states with ballot initiatives.  It’s an interesting  statement on our country and are times that close to half of the people who are eligible to vote – won’t make their choices heard today.

If you do not vote you have no right to complain

I’m not sure who said it first, but it says a lot.  If you do not vote, you should not complain.  You had an opportunity to be heard and you elected not to take it.  It’s like our muscles, we have a choice to exercise them regularly and appropriately.  Some of us do and some of us do not.

Atrophy and Apathy

Muscular atrophy occurs when for a number of possible reasons our muscles degenerate or break down.  The result is weakness, loss of mobility and can have a significant impact on performance and quality of life. Apathy is the state we fall into when we just don’t care any more.  Interestingly the side effects are similar in how it ultimately affects our power, our performance and our lives.

It has been said by some that our current system is affected by both of these “A’s” today and that we are to busy to vote or that it is pointless.  I personally believe that it is not, but of we allow ourselves to fall victim to atrophy and apathy, some day it may be.

There is still time to exercise…

So if you have not voted yet today (and you are a registered voter) then you still have time.  There is still time to exercise your voting muscles – here are some easy tips:

  1. Visit Vote441.org to access voter information for your state.
  2. Visit your state website, you can often find information on propositions (pro and con) online
  3. Visit the League of Women Voters on line for more information on information for your state.
  4. Visit with an informed friend – have a discussion
  5. Visit your polling place and VOTE.

When I was young and had my first opportunity to vote, my parents made sure I had what I needed to resister, had access to information,  and was ready to vote.  When my son’s turned 18, I went through the same exercises with them.  We live in a representative democracy that is by the people and for the people.  Voting is what keeps our country strong and the first steps start with exercising our brains and our muscles and getting out to vote.

So if you have already voted, by mail or in person.  Good for you.  If you haven’t yet, go out and get some exercise….take a walk to your local polling place and as the say at Nike “Just Do It” .

Thanks for stopping by for a little life story.  Stay Tuned..

Joan Koerber-Walker

A satellite image of a storm system that wreaked havoc in parts of the Midwest. (NY Times/NASA) With today’s technology, who needs travel agents?  Most trips can easily be planned with a trip to the Internet and a few clicks of a mouse.  You lay out your plan, choose your flights, and off you go.  Right?

That was basically my thinking.  Oh, I would call a travel agent if I had a big trip planned – you know the complex ones around the world or to a foreign land.  But for those short hops from Phoenix to NY or Dallas, or Chicago, my easy to use frequent flyer sites had all the resources I needed – or so I thought. 

And that’s how my story begins. 

Earlier this year, I was planning a trip to China to go to the Canton Fair.  My trip would take me to Shanghai and Beijing not to mention a number of other cities on the mainland.  That was not a trip I wanted to tackle alone.  So, on the recommendation of my friend John Peters at Rand McNally, I decided to try out Tripology and work with a travel specialist.  It was so easy and in less than an hour I was chatting with a friendly expert who lined everything up for me late on a Friday night well after “business” hours.  Cynthia Hayes, the owner at Hayes Executive Travel Services, Inc.,  was super helpful.  I felt badly later when my trip had to be canceled after she had worked so hard. To make it up to her, I promised Cynthia that I would be calling her again.

Fast forward a few weeks and it was time to hit the road again.  This time I was planning to visit John and the team at Rand McNally in Chicago.  We had set the date for dinner on Tuesday October 26, 2010 and another meeting the next day on October 27th.  It was just a quick trip to Chicago, but I remembered my promise and called Cynthia instead  of booking my travel myself.  Little was I to know what a smart promise that was to keep.

On the Road to Rand McNally…

Tuesday dawned bright and sunny here in Phoenix and at 6AM I headed off to Phoenix Sky Harbor for my 7:45 flight to O’Hare.  I checked in online with USAIR and grabbed my carry on – it was only one night after all. 

At the airport, I stopped at the kiosk to see if I could change my seat.  HMMM – the kiosk can’t find my reservation?  Since I already had a boarding pass, I went through security and checked in  with the team at the gate only to learn that my flight to Chicago had been CANCELLED!

*****NEWS FLASH****

imageTravelers flying out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport are continuing to experience delays to the continuing high winds…

About 500 flights were canceled and others delayed at O’Hare Airport on Tuesday.

A massive storm blew across Illinois, part of a massive system that made its way across the nation’s midsection and on Wednesday raked the east coast.

(Source:  Chicago AP –  Image from Chicago Weather Center Blog)

Back to Our Story…

As I stepped up to the counter, the gate agent was trying to find a way to re-route a plane full of passengers.  The man in front of me just shook his head as the gate agent suggested he re-book for tomorrow.  Then it was my turn.  I handed her my ticket with a smile and crossed my fingers. 

“Hello Ms Koerber-Walker” she said.  “I see your travel agent has already taken care of this.  You have been re-booked on American Airlines.  You will need to go down stairs to be re-ticketed, just take this slip.  Your flight is scheduled to leave in an about an hour.”  

As I made my way down stairs, I called Cynthia in Dallas.  image

“You are the best!” I shared with her.  “Everyone is scrambling here and I was all taken care of.  Now all I have to do is change the rental car reservation.”

“All taken care of.” She replied.  “Your reservation has been updated there too.  I will keep an eye on things to be sure you don’t get held up and delayed again.”

Six hours later, I was in Chicago.  The American flight was delayed from taking off by the “Ground Stop” at O’Hare but we eventually arrived with nary a bump along the way.  When I got in, my car was waiting. I went straight to my meeting and then after dinner, the hotel was ready for me too.  www.hayesexecutivetravel.com

Just because you can, does not mean you should…

So here is the moral of the story.  I might be relatively tech savvy and I can go on line to book my tickets, my car, and my hotel but just because I can does not mean I should. 

I tell the people I work with that when it is important, it is important to rely on experts.  And from now on when I travel, I will follow my own advice.   So get ready, Cynthia.  I’ll be calling you again.

 

Thanks for stopping by for a little life story.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

 

P.S.  When your trip is important, call a travel expert, or better yet, call mine.  She not only got me a great rate on my travel – she got me to my destination and smoothed out the bumps along the way.  By her doing what she does best, I could focus on doing what I do best.

Cynthia Hayes, Owner / Personal Travel Consultant
HAYES EXECUTIVE TRAVEL SERVICES, INC.
1700 Commerce St., Suite 830
Dallas, TX 75201
Office: 214-570-9090 Fax : 214-570-9092
Website- www.hayesexecutivetravel.com

 

FTC Disclaimer:  For the record, I do not work for nor have I received compensation from Cynthia Hayes of Hayes Executive Travel (unless you count being on the receiving end of really great service.)   While companies that I own do business with Rand McNally, in this case, the compensation received was really good advice.

 

It has taken me a many years to really figure this one out.  You see I grew up as a child of the 6o’s.  It was the end of the baby boom and a time when our parents and America’s youth were stepping forward for things they believed in.  We banded together to protest wars, discrimination, and injustice.

A college education followed by a six-figure plus career were goals to strive for along with a fast car and all the other trappings of success.

We lived the high life as DINKs (double income – no kids) and then settled down to raise families, coach soccer, and build up that 401K the investment advisors all promised would give us the lifestyle we deserved when we reached our golden years.  One way or another it ways all about us. What we wanted.  What our goals were. What we believed in.  Some called us the “me” generation.  Others labeled it “we”.  but one way or another the focus on self was always part of the equation.

It was at the beginning of my first “official” leadership role, a number of years ago, that I got the first news flash.  After finishing my first team meeting where I had laid out the mission and vision for MY team, my boss took me aside and calmly explained that

as a leader – it is not about you. The team has to embrace the vision, develop the goals, and execute on them.  A leader’s job is to  clear the way so they can do so and to  help them get what they need to get the job done. Equally important”, he said, “after they succeed, the leader’s job to to give credit where credit is due – to the team.”

I wish I could say that I am a perfect leader.  Of, course I am not even close.

Perfect leaders are hard to find.  Yet, as I look around I wish there were some.  The world would be better for it.

Perhaps our elected leaders could benefit from this news flash.  Just imagine if instead of focusing on getting re-elected,  they concentrated their energies on clearing the way so that the American people could do what needs to be done to truly turn things around. Or, envision where our economy might be if  more business leaders truly focused on doing the same for their teams, their investors and their customers.  We probably would be in a better place than we find ourselves in today.

But since perfection is unlikely, maybe the answer for each of us as leaders is to spend a little less time looking at our personal vision boards, self-help videos, mind maps or Google alerts and to simply try to remind ourselves from time to time what leadership is all about.  It does not require a book, a pod cast, a guru or a personal coach.  It’s much simpler than that.

Just stand in front of a mirror and tell the person you see … “it’s not about you.”

Hmm, maybe I need to try that more often.

Thanks for stopping by for a little life story.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

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As birthdays go, some say 50 is a big one. (And, today is mine.)  My MUCH younger sister, Susan, sent me a beautiful and stylish gray sweater (to match my gray hair perhaps) with a lovely card and a reminder to count the memories, not the years. 

So to start things off, here is a  memory – it’s not mine but my Mom’s.  She shared it with me in an email last night.

Yep - that's me at age 18 months - even then with a phone in my hand. …. Can’t believe it’s been 50 years ago that I called mother, your grandmother, and told her that I wouldn’t be able to go to Grandma Gleason’s birthday party that was at the Pemberton house.  It was a big deal that we had been planning for a long time and I had been at the house the night before helping with preparations and dancing with Uncle Bob.  Mom said don’t worry about getting there, Bob would pick me up.  When I hesitated she figured it out.

Much later that night we celebrated you!  The next day you were the proud recipient of everything pink that Grosse Pointe had to offer – we were all so thrilled and excited.

Lots of beautiful memories!!!!!!

Love you very much – have a wonderful birthday.  Remember, 50 is the new 35!!!!!!!!!

Last year on my birthday, I shared some thoughts on getting older,  Turning 50 minus One .  I can’t say that I turned over a new leaf to clean up my act and get super fit before 50.  (But I did trade my office chair in for a big blue exercise ball – and I’ve had the bruises from falling off to prove it. Just don’t expect pictures of those to show up here on the blog.)

Then in May I started to wonder yet again when my AARP card arrived – OMG am I old?  It got me thinking or pondering you might say.  (My 7th grade English teacher used to say that a thesaurus is a writers best friend. Although, if that was true, why was she always correcting my spelling? (The rumor mill at Hanby Jr. High had it that when SHE  was YOUNG – before she was an English teacher – Mrs. X was a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall – but since these were the dark days before Google – we never did confirm it.)  For me a close second must be a dictionary or a really good editor – thank goodness I have friends like Francine Hardaway that check my work!)

Today,  it was on Facebook and Twitter that the messages and memories were delivered across.  Along with cards and notes that the postman has been delivering all week.  They came from new friends  and through friendships that stretch all the way back to elementary school. (Thank you, Dr. Craft.) Others were from people I have met along the the way or worked with in different places around the world.  They came from friends I had made via email, Skype, or a tweet and from the neighbor across the street.  Plus, there was a very special one from my husband Chris – he’s one in almost seven billion and I am so blessed by the memories we have made together over the last 30 years.

Once the “boys” were out for the day, I took some quiet time to open and savor the postman’s bounty. There were wonderful notes and gifts from some of my best mentors… my mom, my aunts and Chris’ Mom Sandy.  A hand made card decorated with marker and glitter from my goddaughter Kassidy brought a special smile. Next came a beautiful bracelet and note that had arrived from Tiffany’s.  Inside was a birthday surprise from a business partner and friend that was color coordinated to match one of the first projects we worked on together. (Thank you, Amilya that was incredibly creative and thoughtful!)  I was storing up new memories before the clock had chimed noon. (I also got a “Mom! Shame on you” from my oldest son for opening them up before our family dinner tonight.  Whoops, sorry Christopher. I guess I had forgotten the memory of always making my kids wait until dinner time to open their gifts.)

Memory - in NYC  - at the launch of The Recipe.When it comes to  counting my memories, I have more than I could ever tally.  Some of my favorites can be found here on the Little Life Stories blog – there are close to 100 of them now and I am sure to remember and share more in the years to come BEFORE old age sets in and I begin to forget them.

So, as I ponder on what I want  to do with my NEXT 50 years, I am reminded that the greatest gifts ARE the memories and the wishes from the people you touch and who touch you.  Not just on your birthday but every day of the year and every minute you have – past, present and future.  I guess in the end, it’s what you do with those minutes that counts more than anything.

 

Thanks for stopping by for a little life story…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Since she was a young girl, Jennie Walker has been following two dreams – making music and making a difference.  Today she has found a way to  combine those dreams to do both.

She has worked as a staff fundraiser for organizations like President Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center, and Rockefeller founded Synergos Institute,  At Synergos, she helped create the Global Philanthropists Circle and today works as a a fundraising consultant. But she still makes time to pursue her creative passion as a singer and songwriter. From the first piano/voice lesson to the first songwriting course/talent show, she has never stopped dreaming or combining the tunes and words into  music that touches people’s hearts just as what they do touches hers. Jennie Walker, It's My Time

A great example is Jennie’s new album, It’s My Time,” (Maddie Records, UK) which hits the market place on July 26, 2010 with distribution in the UK through Universal Music. The album title is based on the song “It’s Our Time,” and was  inspired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s pursuit of the presidency.

“When she (Hillary Clinton)  became emotional during the New Hampshire primary talking about her candidacy, I empathized as a woman still reaching for my dream. I immediately wrote “It’s Our Time” through tears of understanding.”

~ Jennie Walker

JKW:  Jennie, tell us about your favorite project and why it makes a difference.

why.JW: The Connective Series is something I started in 2008 as a way for aspiring singers, songwriters, and musicians to learn about the music business through a panel series. To tie this back to my charity work, I would give profits from the series to music related charities and also raise awareness for those charities at the events. WhyHunger?, of which I am a member of their Artists Against Hunger & Poverty Program (along with Bruce Springsteen), has been a beneficiary as well as the Georgia Music Industry Association in Atlanta, among others charities. I offer a silent auction of music related books and products at the panels, which also supports the charities.

JKW: Tell us about someone you know personally who inspires you.

Ken Ludden (in Red) Photo Credit NY TimesJW: I was introduced to Ken Ludden, the Artistic Director of the Margot Fonteyn Academy of Ballet in Peekskill, New York through a mutual friend. Ken runs an amazing after school program, teaching dance to a small group of students in Peekskill, New York. He does all of this work as a volunteer, having personally known Dame Margot Fonteyn during her lifetime and worked with her to develop a blueprint for a new approach to ballet education during the last 12 years of her life. The principals upon which this program is run are to fulfill Dame Fonteyn’s desired for a new approach to ballet for a modern era. Ken invited me to participate in the My Song portion of the students annual “Grande Défilé ” which showcases their dance skills. My producer, Tommy Faragher, and I worked with the students one-on-one helping them to finalize their song ideas and get their direction on performance. Tommy produced and I performed on each of the recordings and later gave a live showcase of the songs. The students’ reactions were really amazing. They liked that Tommy and I took their work seriously and produced, recorded and performed them as if they were already a professional writers. It was one of the sweetest musical experiences of my life so far. I blogged about the gift and card they gave me with personal notes like “You’re cool!” I smiled for a long time after that. I have been asked back for next year and now I am helping the organization pro bono on some fundraising strategies to get funding for next years event and for ongoing work. It’s a fantastic program with a real funding need….like a lot of these small but important programs sprinkled around the country.

JKW:  WHY do you do what you do.

Jennie's-Mom-Louise-WalkerJW: My mother raised me to be of service to others, and in my home that meant mostly to  give of yourself and of your time, rather than money. I was a volunteer at church, at school, at college, where ever I could find an opportunity. There has always been a lot of satisfaction I felt in giving and helping others. There is no feeling quite like it and believe me, I’ve tried to duplicate it other ways, but it’s impossible.

“You can only pick from what you have to choose from” – Jennie Walker

I am compelled and I am driven to make my mark with my music. On some basic level it’s a challenge. Trying to determine if I am smart enough to figure it out – the steps I mean – the process to becoming recognized as a singer and songwriter. There is no straight forward path. And, no book I can buy. The path is filled with twists and turns but at the end of the day, I have a passion and love for what I do. Hopefully my music will be adopted by the buying public. The process has already been rewarding on so many different levels and as I keep inching forward, it gets really exciting. The hardest thing in the world to do is allow this to happen organically without trying to force it. And, that means letting go of the how and focusing on the end result. As someone who works constantly as this process, it’s not easy to let go and accept that I have done enough. But in the end, the music will speak for itself.

JKW:  If you had 3 wishes – what would they be?

JW: My greatest wish is that my mother was still living to see me become successful with my music, which she inspired in me and encouraged me to do and with whom I wrote songs as a teenager and adult. We went through this musical journey together, not just for my own musical pursuits, but for hers also. She wrote a musical based on the life of Martin Luther King as well as many songs that were in the country and pop vein. We were close a few times to getting songs cut. It was enough to keep us going. My goal is to get some of the work we did together published. She deserves to be remembered for her music and not just for being the most amazing mother ever created.

Jennie-Walker-Three-Wishes2) I would like to see my music reach an international audience and market place and be  respected as a viable musical expression and product. Today, with digital distribution, it makes it easy to get my music out there. But, it takes more than just a distribution channel to be successful – the stars and moon have to align just right for something to catch on, and my wish is for that alignment to take place!

3) I would like to experience enough success with the music to form a personal foundation and be able to give back financially instead of just through volunteer work, and be able to utilize all I have learned from the inside of non-profit organizations to be able to give in the right way.

Getting Connected

Joan and JennieWorking in the music and philanthropic communities, Jennie understands how important it is to be connected.  While Jennie and I are both “Walkers” we would never have met if my videographer had not introduced us on Twitter. (Thanks Clay!)  The tweet is long gone but since then we have emailed, chatted, and gotten together in NYC for the launch of Amilya Antonetti’s new book The Recipe: A fable for leaders and teams.

Jennie loves to hear from fans and collaborate on projects that make a difference. You can reach out to her on Twitter @MsJennieWalker , find her on Facebook, drop in for a tune on MySpace, see videos on her YouTube Channel, or connect through her website.

 

 

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Welcome to Little Life Stories


What happens to us.
What is said to us.
What we experience.
These are thing things that shape our lives.

Here at Little Life Stories, I will share some of mine with you.

Just the stories. You get to draw your own take aways.

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Visit the links section to find my other much longer blogs and posts.

Thank you for stopping by for a little story.

Joan Koerber-Walker

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