Friday, January 25, 2013


Today half a million people are in Washington DC for the March for Life.

I can't help thinking about what it means to be "pro-life" in our world. To me, being pro-life means you defend the dignity of all people. It means taking care of our children, giving them the best education possible, and helping them reach their potential. It's throwing away the word "normal." Pro-life means understanding that we each have ownership over our own lives and respecting the choices others make, no matter how far-off those decisions are from our personal beliefs. It's the right to love and happiness, regardless of our sexuality. It means that we recognize the beauty in simply being alive. Being pro-life is taking care of the sick, regardless of their ability to pay for that care. It's destigmatizing mental illness. Pro-life is feeding the poor and building up our communities. It's providing jobs and opportunities. It's forgiveness. Pro-life is quite literally taking care of our earth, as it is what sustains us. It is respecting the time we've been given and waking up every day to a job that fulfills us. Pro-life is not about defunding. It's about defending the defenseless. It is social justice. It is certainly not about judgment. It's not a political party. It's about choosing life for all people.

If we stand on the side of human beings, then surely we are pro-life.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Sometimes I have random thoughts or make observations and suddenly I can picture a blog post based on that thought or idea. This has been happening to me pretty frequently, but I still haven't been able to click the "New Post" button in quite some time. About three months.

A lot of things have been on my mind but I just haven't been able to find the words. Even now, as I write this post which isn't really saying much of anything yet, I struggle to find the words, as I type, delete, and retype.

I kept up with this blog for three quarters of the year. In the beginning, it was fresh and I had a lot to say. I finished up my junior year, and summer brought a whole mess of adventures. I traveled to Quito, fell in love with thirty little babies, and saw the beautiful mountains that I've dreamt about for a long time. I went on an amazing vacation with my family and finished the summer at camp in Esopus. I wrote and wrote and wrote. This blog helped me make a carbon copy of the summer, something I could look back on and attempt to relive that time, even though that's not exactly possible. School started back up and a month in, I fell off the wagon. I'm realizing now that I didn't run out of things to say, it just became very difficult to sort through the many ideas I've been having the last few months.

So here's what I've wanted to say for the last few months.

Everything is relative. I've been dismissing the definitive ideas of good and bad, right and wrong, successful and unsuccessful, etc. I've especially been considering these ideas as they relate to people. This type of thinking feels productive and helpful for my work in music therapy.

I love Christmas. It's my favorite time of year. I'm always secretly scared of that time after the holidays. It never feels good.

This semester I had the opportunity to do my fieldwork in a songwriting program with kids in Philadelphia. I learned a lot about kids, songwriting, and myself. It was quite rewarding.

I begin my full-time music therapy internship in January, the last piece of my degree. I graduate in May. I hope to be done with my internship by July, move back to New York, and begin my master's degree in the fall.

Violence, needless loss, and heartache have filled the hearts of our nation and world as of late. I hope we can keep overpowering the hatred with love. I hope we can rebuild. I hope as we rebuild, we try something new. I hope we recognize the important role that mental healthcare plays in our society.

I keep having the thought that some of the worst possible situations have been happening close to home, but this is being paralleled with some of the best, most human moments I have witnessed in my life. Don't lose hope. There's still love all around.

It felt good to document this year. This blog has certainly become something that I'm excited to read this New Year's Eve...and we'll see about next year.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Is that all you need?

I always seem to find myself right here, or somewhere around here, when life gets a little crazy and there are plenty of other things that need to get done. But here I am. I think I'll do everything else better and more efficiently if I can just get some things out of the way.

There are only a few days left of September and plenty more days left of my favorite season of the year. It always slips by so quickly, so I'm trying to savor the perfection of layering sweaters, pumpkin lattes, and leaves on the ground.

School is school. Lately it's felt like just another path to where I'm trying to get. It's necessary, even when it feels like nonsense. But really, tell me again why it's necessary for me to be able to calculate the distance from here TO EVERY CONSTELLATION IN THE UNIVERSE. Also, for the record, after over three years of discussing it in every class, I STILL DON'T KNOW WHY RACE EXISTS OR WHAT TO DO ABOUT RACISM. Let's just love each other. Do you think I'd get full credit on a test for that answer? I just want to play music with people. Just let me do that.

The two most important men in my life celebrated birthdays this month, and celebrate they did! I recorded Volcano by Damien Rice for my dad because he loves it. Here it is:

Volcano by Damien Rice

Things I love right now are fall, life, and love.

Friday, August 31, 2012

You know that I could be in love with almost everyone.

I would say something dramatic referring to the possibility that this week was my last first week of classes ever, but let's face it, I'm a big nerd and will likely be in school forever. This week might have been my last first week of classes at Temple though (but somehow I doubt that, too).

Anyway, it was a pretty good week.

I met a man in a coffee shop who had ridden his bike across the world in memory of a friend who died on 9/11. He told me that one day I will be so much more than I can even imagine right now. I finished my coffee, went back to class, went on with my week, but still haven't lost the thrill of a complete stranger telling me how exciting my future will be. There's something incredibly exciting about a person, who is completely unattached to you and your well-being, having total confidence that your life will be an amazing adventure.

You don't meet people in the suburbs like you do in cities. Cities make me feel alive.

Exhibit A: Street Yoga

Well, here's to a premature three-day weekend. You'd think they'd save these things for when I'm desperately in need of sleep at the end of the semester. I'll be enjoying it anyway!

Monday, August 20, 2012

This is the first day of my life.

Sometimes we build things up in our heads, and when whatever we've been waiting for finally comes around, it's not nearly as exciting as we remember it being. Well, that's not at all how camp was this week. Every year I wait twelve months for the best week of my year and it never disappoints.

The only disappointing part of this week was ending up in the hospital and having to leave camp early. That's irrelevant to this post, though. (Don't worry, I'm fine!)

Camp always opens my eyes to the beauty that I often shut out. It revives my awareness of the little things in life. It confirms my passion for caring for people, and it erases my inadequacies about doing so.

It was a great week at Esopus. I wish every day of my life could be a camp day, but I guess that's what makes it so special. It has to be savored. But at the same time, why can't every day of my life be a camp day? I guess I have that kind of power. We all do.

My mind is racing with thoughts of this summer. From the moment my plane took off for Quito, Ecuador, two months ago, this summer has completely flown by. I tried my best to process and organize and document all that this summer has given to me, but to be honest, it felt like a whirlwind. A very exciting whirlwind.

So now I'm off to Philly this week, ready to take on a new adventure. I can't believe my senior year of college is creeping up on me already. It's right around the corner, ready to be taken advantage of completely. I know that with a little help from my friends, that task will be done and done well.

A big thank you to everyone who made this summer all that it was. I could've done all the same things by myself, but it never would have been as special without the wonderful people in my life.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Let me tell you about a magical place. A place that goes unmatched in my book.

Sometimes it feels like a bubble, but I think it's okay to live in a bubble every once in a while.

This place is green and warm, except for the chilly nights. The sun always shines, even on the rainy days when there's nothing to do except play games and watch movies. Gym games and High School Musical and we're soaring, flying. There's not a star in heaven that we can't reach.

All are welcome. All are welcome to laugh and play or scream and cry. All are welcome to be exactly who they are, free of judgment. Free to fly.

It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from. All that matters is if you like walks down to the river and golf cart rides. And if you don't, well that's okay too. We can just sit in the big wooden chairs and sing Beatles' songs all day long.

We can take a nap in the room with the walls made of rock.

We can sing and dance but if it all gets to be too much, we can go to a quiet place to sit and talk. We can talk about your family and your school and what scares you and makes you smile that beautiful smile. You'll make me laugh. You always do.

Tea parties in the kitchen. One black tea with honey and one peppermint tea, or coffee with milk on the tired days. A peanut butter cup for each of us. And one for your friend, who only you can see.

Roasting marshmallows around a fire and singing songs, always dedicated to that special someone.

Kiss the girl. Let it be. Sometimes your courage brings tears to my eyes.

A midnight swim for the one we lost. Remembering our friend and holding onto one another for support. His bravery, his love, his wrist filled with all the girls' hair ties. I can see you in the summertime. (I wish that I could see you one more time.)

You say more to me with your eyes than anyone has ever said to me with words. And you offer your favorite thing in the world to me and we play without all the unnecessary sounds. Just shared looks, as your plastic chain swings between us.

I'll sing "The Way You Look Tonight" to you all night if you'll just close your eyes. I can't sing that song without you coming to mind, and literally, the way you looked that night, when we danced in the gym and you couldn't stop smiling.

Your love is free and it flows through the air, over the acres of land in upstate New York.

Your love has no limits and it carries me through my year, as the months slip farther and farther from August, and then closer and closer until we're back.

And then we're laughing and singing on the bus and we're all headed to our favorite place on Earth and nothing is as beautiful as this moment.

Nothing is as beautiful to me as the time I've spent at camp, in Esopus, with the special people I have met there. The people that make "disability" a meaningless word, because their abilities are so profound. They love with every fiber of their being, and I am so blessed to be the recipient of that kind of unconditional love. This world is a nicer place because of them.

Monday, July 30, 2012

9 things I want to say about music (and corresponding YouTube videos)

1. I'm just going to get this one over with--I like pop music. I don't ironically like pop music. I genuinely like it. It makes me feel good. It makes me want to dance. Stop saying you hate pop music to sound cool. I know you like it. You do.

2. Vocal harmonies have intrinsic beauty that does not depend on how well the engineer tweaked them to perfection. Gimme some raw harmonies.

3. Everyone knows that the more instruments you play, the cooler you are. What I want to say is that the more instruments you play on one recording or live song, the cooler you are.

4. I'm not gonna be all crazy and say I'm suddenly into Taylor Swift, but I'm also not going to say that I haven't had "Our Song" stuck in my head for the past month. This video is beyond ridiculous.

5. I cant get down with relaxation music. Like I think it's cool that it works for some people, and I've definitely seen it work for a lot of clients that I've worked with, but it makes me anxious. Check this out and see how it makes you feel.

6. Once in a while something awesome comes out of American Idol. I think Damien Rice might be cool with this recording.

7. Okay so I'm not necessarily "into jazz," but as my jazz friends so lovingly put it, I'm "into being into jazz." Basically what that means is that I like hanging out with people who play jazz and going to see jazz shows and talking about how cool Kind of Blue by Miles Davis is. I accept my place in the jazz world.

8. I think some musicians have the whole package. They can sing like an angel and play a mean guitar and write beautiful lyrics and be all successful. But I also think that you only really need to be incredibly talented at one of those things to make it. This guy isn't the best singer I've ever heard but his writing is the most beautiful poetry I've ever known. 

9. I am constantly picking out wedding songs with no particular future husband in mind. If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.