As I go into my 16th year of teaching Kindermusik, it feels like a good time to reflect. I remember that first semester of teaching two classes of "Beginnings" in my church basement (for you newbies, that's what we called it before it became "Our Time"). After teaching 3 years I was up to around 50 students and decided to hire a teacher....and then another. As life was good, in my ninth year, I started feeling like there was something more I was destined to do. I didn't want to give up Kindermusik, but something was nagging at me. Then I went to convention and witnessed Sandy Taylor from Denver, Colorado, as she presented us with her work with special needs children. It touched my heart so a new endeavor began. For the next two years, I worked on becoming not-for-profit so we would be eligible to apply for more grants. We received our 501-c in 2006. This part of our program has been an uphill battle ever since, and our mainstream children are still the ones we mostly serve and value so much. They are the ones who sustain us and bring us joy every day. We're up to 3 locations, 230 children, 7 teachers and a part time Administrative Assistant. Fundraising is a new part of our yearly activities, and we currently provide tuition scholarships for 6-12 children per semester. We're so excited about receiving At Home materials from the Ruth D. Anderson Kindermusik Children's Fund for the coming 2009-2010 years. We will take free Family Time classes to Sheltering Wings which is a shelter for battered women and their children. We hope to bring some positive bonding between these mothers and children and put smiles back on their faces again. We're also moving one of our locations this year due to the center we've been in for 3 years closing down. If there's one piece of advice I can give to my fellow Kindermusik Educators, it's this. Don't say to yourself, "when is it all going to settle down?" or "when I just get this done, we'll be set." It never settles down. There's always another fire to put out. A teacher quits, or a location closes down or asks you to move, you have a huge unexpected expense come up for the program, your computer breaks down, you make a big mistake. It's called "running a business" so relax and don't take it so seriously. It's all part of the journey -- so every time there's a hurdle, don't panic -- even if others around you do. You learn something with every trial. Just look at each hurdle in the face and then calmly tackle it. It will never be perfect but it can have endless rewards. Kindermusik has taught me not only about children but about myself. As we patiently wait to receive that first grant, I am grateful for the wonderful families and staff that I currently have and continue to value the new relationships I continue to make.