With family Thanksgiving gatherings nearly upon us, I bring you a friendly reminder courtesy of Seinfeld:
Never double dip.
And yet, that’s exactly what I’m doing with this #52Ancestors post. I am shamelessly double dipping by combining the current week’s topic (Thankful, week 47) with the only remaining prompt that I had postponed over the summer (Music, week 29).
I hadn’t “made up” that missed post because I had yet to find an ancestor who had a truly compelling story involving music. Sure, there were many who sang in church or played an instrument, but nothing out of the ordinary. Yesterday, after leading a rehearsal of the kids’ worship team at my church, it suddenly dawned on me. I hadn’t written about music because this was the topic meant for me. What a pity it would be if I wrote the stories of all of my ancestors and failed to tell my own. And that’s why I’m double-dipping. For me, music and thankfulness are inextricably intertwined. I’ll explain why, but first let’s go back to the beginning.
Me at the piano, December 1982
I started playing piano at age five. I remember falling asleep to the sound of my Suzuki piano cassette tape every night.
But piano was actually my second instrument. The first was my voice. I have always loved singing. Combined with my interest in dancing and acting, I began performing in local theater by the age of six. My very first role was playing Molly, the littlest orphan in Annie at Lancaster's Fulton Opera House in 1983.
"It's a Hard Knock Life" as an orphan
Annie and Molly
Believe it or not, I found the two photos above in the LancasterHistory.org collection. 
I wasn’t sure if I should feel excited to be included or depressed by being considered “historic.”
From first grade through college, I participated in every musical, play, church choir, school choir, show choir, concert choir, or other performing arts activity that was available in my community. I could share hundreds of photos and videos of my involvement with music. But I won’t, because this story is really not mine. It’s God’s.
Music is one of God’s great gifts to us, and for that I am immeasurably thankful. Music is one of the primary ways that I worship God, or respond in thankfulness to Him for who He is and what He has done. One of the great joys of my life is being able to share the gift of music and a thankful heart with the next generation.
I had directed kids’ choirs before, but in 2011, God gave me the idea of creating a worship workshop for kids. Instead of just practicing songs to sing in front of the church, the goal is to teach kids to LEAD the congregation in worship. We focus on raising up the next generation to respond to God through music and Scripture.
It is hard to believe that this ministry is already in our seventh school year and that some of our first participants have now moved on to college!
Sunday in the Park, June 2012. These kids are now in 8th grade through college!
We also sing at the beginning of December each year.
I am so thankful for the co-leaders who have embraced this ministry over the years.
It has also been a great mother-daughter experience. When we began, Alexa was just a second grader (in the 2014 photo above, she was ten years old).
Now she helps to lead!
Proclaiming Scripture is an integral part of each worship experience.
I pray that those words of truth will be written on their hearts forever!
So, I know I double-dipped on music and thankfulness, but I think you can see why.
Take-away for your family history: Don’t forget to tell your own story.
"Annie" photo source:
 Actors Company of Pennsylvania, photographic print AC-01-08-06, Publicity shot for "Annie" at the Fulton Opera House, Actors Company Collection, LancasterHistory.org (https://lancasterhistory.pastperfectonline.com/photo/F7F9BEC6-6D74-48C1-A763-753858639513 : accessed 12 November 2018).
Also, Actors Company of Pennsylvania, photographic print AC-01-08-14, Publicity shot for "Annie" at the Fulton Opera House, Actors Company Collection, LancasterHistory.org (https://lancasterhistory.pastperfectonline.com/photo/36AAF181-6261-4049-A6B1-128826354240 : accessed 12 November 2018).