life inspiration

Cause for Inspiration

March 20, 2014

Over the years, I have often reminded myself to feel grateful for the amazing life that I lead.  The simple pleasure of having a warm bed to sleep in and food on the table every day is more than what most have. I rarely think about how those simple day to day luxuries are more than what so many are afforded.

This past February, I had the honour of visiting an orphanage in Rwanda called L’Esperance Rwanda.  These children do have the privilege of meals and a bed to sleep in but being with them taught me about life and happiness. They gave me memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.  harpist in Rwanda

Below are some of my writings in my journal while I was there.

The Real Story:
How is it possible for a child to end up in an orphanage? How is it possible for a single parent to give up his/her child for an orphanage? As an extended family member of a child, how does one allow him/her to live in an orphanage and not in the comfort of their own home?

For most of these children, their mothers died at child birth and their fathers gave them up unknowing, unwilling or unable to care for them.  For some of these children, their stories are even more grave.

Most of the people in the countryside can barely put food on the table once a day and for others, there is no food at all.

The government attempts to keep up appearances and tries to implement laws that the country is not yet ready for. One such example is of the government wanting all children to be “accounted for.” As a result, they are closing all orphanages and expecting the children to go live with family who cannot support them, who don’t want them or who will try to kill them in order to own the land that used to belong to the child’s parents.  The government seem to forget that the definition of an orphanage is a house for children who are without an able or willing family.

On the topic of the government: it does not support anyone with disabilities because it believes the family should take care of that person.  But when that person has no family and no education; what happens? I understand that Rwanda is still a developing country who is desperately trying to emerge from the ashes of the genocide but I can’t help but wonder if it is always the right decisions that are being made.

I sit here in shorts and a T-shirt knowing that I have it all.  I am loved and have always have been by many people.  The sheer good fortune, wealth, health and security that I have been lucky enough to have in my life is greater than so many will ever know.  I knew that already, but now, it is different.  I now possess knowledge that will never allow me to go back to the way I used to think.

Me + Erina

Erina is in the picture above.  I met her my first evening at the orphanage and then I spent most of my time with her.   She told me that she could no longer go to school because in September she started having pain and weakness in her legs.   I did everything I could to ensure that she would get a proper doctor in the city, we did exercises to strengthen her extremely weak muscles and we did a lot of learning together. She is one of the brightest and coolest people I have ever met and I have such respect for her.  We had a bond that I will always treasure.Typically, after a day of studying and hanging out together, the rest of the kids would come back from school, we would work together all afternoon and in the evenings I would listen to them sing in their language and usually do a bit more studying or chatting. The older teenagers were my favourite because they had such depth.  They had to grow up way before they should have, but as a result they have turned into these amazing human beings with an enormous amount of strength and maturity.


My Last Night’s Thoughts:
The director said he has never cried so hard or laughed as hard as he did here.  He has never felt so alive and yet so dead at the same time and never so helpful and yet so hopeless.I cannot think of a better way to summarize my experience here.   I have seen so much happiness on these children’s faces as well as a delight and an eagerness to learn, be cared for and to have a bit of attention. Really, a big thing that these kids want is to have people who care about them.

One of the guys said he was sad that I was leaving because not many people sit with them and care about them.   I sat with these people every single day. I taught them, I listened to them and loved just being with them joking around and having fun.  I am not sure if they will remember me for the rest of their lives but there is no way I will ever forget them during mine.

I never want to forget the feeling I have today of giving and of love.  I know that I am meant to be on this earth to give and that is my true “calling.” Real struggle allows true love and happiness to bloom; superficial and material things are not what is most important in life.  If at any time I start to feel down on myself for the type of day I am having or for my troubles, I will try to remember that no matter how bad my day is going, someone else is having a worse one.

I want to remember to have the courage to walk off the beaten path, to remember that what I have is more than enough and to remember that giving is truly more gratifying than receiving.  I want to remember to follow my heart down the path it leads me no matter how strange or untraveled.

Harp in the Country

September 24, 2013

One of my dad’s first memories of me as a baby was bringing me back to the farm in the car seat of his brand new Versatile 800 tractor in a blinding snow storm.  Needless to say, I have grown up on equipment and it gives me as much peace and serenity as playing my harp does.

A lot has changed in the the last 27 years. The old Versatile was retired years ago and now so much of the equipment is run electronically; even the steering! My favourite piece of equipment to drive is the combine which is in the picture below.


The day that we harvested that field, the wheat was not quite ready to go so I dragged my harp into the field with my mom and sister and we took this video.

Hours on the farm are more intense than most people imagine.  Not only is the whole family involved in working on the farm, but the hours are long and the work is unpredictable; you never know when a rain cloud will come your way or the field will be ready to harvest.  Still, nothing beats a meal in the field which makes it all worthwhile.

Every year, it pains me to come back to Vancouver and leave the farm but once I get back, I do love my life here as I am so fortunate to be a working harpist in this beautiful city.  Don’t worry though, I always go back!




Vancouver Wedding Music & Harp

August 28, 2013

Once upon a time, there was an eleven year old little girl who played her harp at her Aunt and Uncle’s wedding. She then got asked to play at another wedding, then another and soon she found that she was playing at weddings every weekend and she loved it.

Fast-forward 15 years and that little girl is all grown up and is still enjoying playing the harp at beautiful Vancouver weddings.

Here are pictures by the lovely Denise Lin at a recent Vancouver wedding:

Vancouver Rosewood Hotel Georgia Wedding Photography

 Vancouver Rosewood Hotel Georgia Wedding Photography

Vancouver Wedding Tips:


1. Outdoor weddings: Outdoor weddings are beautiful but one must have a Plan B in case of rain.  I will share with you a secret: In all the years of playing at weddings, I have only played at ONE wedding where we got rained out. Maybe I am a bride’s lucky charm! 😉

2.  The dress:  When a bride-to-be tries on her dress, she should also pause for one moment and figure out if she can comfortably move in it.  If there is one day where a girl should be free to throw her arms in the air, jump up in excitement, or wipe a tear from her eye, this is it! 

3. Wedding Planner:  The wedding is about the couple but the couple would not be the individuals they are if it were not for the love and support of family and friends.  If there are enough details, do everyone a favor and get professional help the day of so everyone can relax and enjoy.

4. Hire a harpist!: There are very few instruments that spell “romance” as much as the harp.  Treat yourself and your guests to beautiful, live music that will create that unforgettable touch on the day of your dreams.


Vancouver Harpist

August 2, 2013

5 things to know about a Vancouver harpist:
1. Don’t touch my harp.
2. I said, don’t touch my harp.
3. Are you listening?  Don’t touch my… thank you…
4. I can move my harp by myself.
5. No, I don’t wish I played the flute.

Vancouver Harpist

 When I was in high school, and I was deciding “what am I going to be when I grow up”, I knew that the harp was going to play a big role and I knew I was the type of person who needed to have my hands in many different pies in order to stay inspired.  Little did I know that becoming a professional harpist would keep me occupied in so many different ways.  My job is so diverse as I mainly travel around the Lower Mainland, but especially in Vancouver while playing my harp.  I have met amazing people, I get to hear their stories, I get to be creative musically and visually, I get to do the business side of things and most importantly, I love what I do.

Another great perk about being a musician is that I get to work from home quite often.  I love being home and having that freedom.

All in all, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I love my job.  I love being a harpist.  I love Vancouver.  And I love my harp.

Vancouver Harp- animated