The last refrain 

No where in a music score does it tell a listener how to react properly. When you read music as you play it’ll cue your brain to manipulate the instrument that you are playing into crescendos or fortissimo or some other type of expression, but it doesn’t give the listener any cues as to how the music will affect their heart.  It’s up to you the musician to put  passion and voice into the music to make it memorable for the listener. 

He was the former band director of our little school in Iowa, and he passed away in a bike accident a few short days ago. Last night as I sat in the hot gym I sat with  his friends and family as we listened to speeches, scriptures and songs given in honor of a man who devoted his life to the art of making sure the listener listened to the music being played. 

His friend spoke of times they adventured. His oldest daughter spoke of his love for doing small things everyday to master anything.  Love poured out of the lifelong friend who sang “Bourning Cry.” Then there was a band, 40 steller musicians that offered their time and talent to honor the legacy of a man who had touched them in some way. 

I listened to the music played by this all star band made up of former students, colleagues, and lifelong friends and my heart captured a glimpse of deeper things that happen when one gives their time to play in a band. The diligence of practice that must occur. The friendships that form between people who play the same instument. The sheer grit it takes sometimes to get through learning a new song or instrument. And for this band specifically, it was the beauty of many parts making something amazing together to honor a man who knew God consistently, loved his family emmensly, and gave over 30 years of his life to the art of making music in the local school. 

Mr Dahn, you’ll be missed by this community you called home. You’ll be missed by generations of band students you so patiently guided and lead over your years as band director, but most importantly your life will be missed by a whole host of people that you encouraged excellence from simply because your passion for great music was contagious. 


it happened at hearts at home.

She sat on my shelf for almost a year. Her joyful self, all pink and lovely. I thought I created it in October, but nope. Instagram clearly states June 3rd. I can’t tell you how many times she was up for a repaint. A makeover of epic proportions of course. To become something of a sliver of her former self. She never made it back to the table, always just sat there and waited. Waited for the exact person to find her.

heart at home show 2016

I told The Lead as we were unpacking all the lovelies at the Hearts of Home conference n Peoria, IL that whoever wanted this little girl, who had been so patient in her waiting, would have to receive it as a gift. To make it more desirable to that person I marked the price point way down to $20. It was April 2016.

Several hours went by at the conference as the booth was plum full of beautiful ladies and I was yaking about something to a couple of them.. I hear the lead say. “Kelly.” as he held up the sweet girl on a swing lovely to show me someone wanted her. Just as she was. That meant… there was a story behind the want.


I wish I could tell you more specifics. Through tears this grandma told me of a courageous little person who fought and lost her fight against brain cancer. A bold little wonder of excitement who loved to swing and also the color pink. Grandma was going to purchase this lovely for her daughter- the amazing little girls sweet momma.

Of course I’m all teary again thinking of how amazing God is to have it confirmed twice that this playful little girl shouldn’t have hair… and then let it sit there until Shaylee’s grandma could find her…almost a full year later.

I have no other details about this little one, infact  I probably am spelling her name wrong again…her grandma made me write a card to her daughter, the recipient of the lovely, explaining the wait that this lovely had had.. and the struggle. I spelled her precious little ones name wrong, and I will eternally regret that. Through tears and shaking I crossed it off and continued my story to her on that card. I am told when you lose a child people stop saying their name as to not remind the hearer of that loss. This of course is ludicrous, sweet momma’s never forget.. but with every breath they wonder a whole bunch of what if’s and what could have beens.

I have never lost a child and I would hope that God wouldn’t put that in my life story… but those women who have have a special place in my heart. They carry with them so very much love and grace and have a compassion level I have rarely found elsewhere. Someday I hope to hug this little girl who lost her fight again cancer’s momma and just hold her and tell her that although I never met her sweet bundle of pink she has had an impact on my life and my art…and prolly cry a few tears.