Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Festival Of The Soul

It's Thanksgiving Day and I'm enjoying a day of rest.   Most of us are starting to gear up for the holidays and after the festivities of the day, will rush right into Black Friday.  I have friends who have already decided to put up their christmas tree.

I almost did.

I've been preparing for my Portraits of White concert for so long now that I feel like putting up a tree is too miniscule.  My insides have dug so deep into reflection that the little plastic tree I normally put up seems fake and trite. The makeover of my soul through this process seems to call for a complete makeover of my decorations too....but that won't be happening. I wouldn't even know how to express my soul in the way of ornaments and trees.

My decorations will show up in every note, lyric and thought presented on the night of December 12. It will be a festivity of the soul guised in the garb of music.

I've been practicing for months, but mistakes never disappear it seems. They are like little gophers that pop up out of their hole at the most unexpected times. As soon as I get one conquered, another appears. My mode of retaliation is to "hammer down" - a pun that fits the grand piano well.

It always puzzles me how a person can work so hard and long on something and still have it go awry. Like a skater who's jumped perfectly thousands of times but falls during a competition.

I experienced that recently at one of my concerts. In the midst of a piece I've played countless times, I completely lost my way.  The only payoff in practicing, in that moment, was that I pulled myself together and kept going.  The ability to keep going was my only success in that moment. Or at least it felt like it.

I walked away feeling like a complete failure. One hour of music - lyrics remembered and all, but all I could think about was the 5 seconds of faltering.

I'm reading a book right now that a singer friend recommended.  I knew the instant she told me about it that I needed to read it...and SOON.  It arrived last week. Today I'm reading it and I feel like I've visited a doctor who has been able to prescribe medicine that will relieve my pain and I thought you might like it too.

It doesn't matter if you are a musician or not - the tendency to remember the ONE mistake you made over any successes you had is common to all of us.  The writer tells of a cello student she had who was quick to point out his own mistakes but never mentioned when he did well. He considered any good performance an "accident".

She encouraged him to speak his successes out loud, not just his mistakes.   He went on to tell his teacher, "I guess I feel that way about a lot of stuff in my life. I sort of shrug off all my successes but get preoccupied with possible failures. Pretty dumb, isn't it?"

I stopped right at that paragraph and put my book down. I reflected on the recent "failure" where I lost my way in a song. All I could remember from that night was the 5 seconds of disarray. I gave about an hour concert and everything else went very well.  In fact, there were moments when I felt like I was giving some of the best delivery ever.  But I don't remember those moments now...or at least I didn't until I read of another human being's struggle to remember the successes.

I'm thankful for this reminder to focus in on the good things. The successes, the opportunities, the blessings we have been given. I suppose that's what this day is really all about.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2015

She's Still Standing!

I was jump roping along the road one morning 
and came upon this cornstalk.  

She was determined to grow no matter what. 

Busy traffic.

Dry weather.

Rainy weather.


Gawking strangers.

Only one ear to show for all her effort.

She didn't seem to care.

She was still standing.

I want to be like her.

Friday, November 13, 2015

How Cancer Has Shaped My Faith

Diana Focht (left) has become such a support to me at my concerts and in my music.
I received an e-mail this week from my friend, Diana Focht, who has become a support to my life and my music in so many ways.  She oversees the product table at my concerts as often as possible (which you see her doing in the picture above).  

However, Diana has her own story to tell and when she sent me this article, written for another blog, I asked her if I could share it with you. 

How Cancer Has Shaped My Faith

by Diana Focht

No one wants to hear the word, cancer, associated with them, but when it comes, you have a choice to make. Do you give in to the hopelessness and despair of a cancer diagnosis, or do you look upward, and cling to a God who has promised to never leave you nor forsake you!   

A verse I've known most of my life, but one that became extremely important to me not only while undergoing treatment for cancer, but more so in the "lost days" after treatment, is Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see! 

Can we hope for an end to our cancer and be sure about it?! Can we really be certain that God not only sees us in our times of trouble, but that He loves us enough to carry us through it?! In faith, can I trust that God has a plan and purpose for my cancer?!

Faith. Sometimes it's a hard word to define, and often times, it's an even harder word to live out! We talk of a faith in God. We hear of a saving faith. But when I was going through my cancer, I wanted a healing faith! I wanted a faith that could believe that God would physically heal me of my cancer. I prayed for it. My family and friends prayed for it. A multitude of strangers from around the country prayed for it. I was anointed and prayed for not once, or twice, or three times, but four times. 

My faith was riddled with doubt, because nine years earlier, I watched my Dad take his final breath, after battling cancer for three short, agonizing months. I wanted a healing faith for him, but it didn't come. At least not the way I wanted it to. My faith was shaken for the longest time.

Three months and four chemo rounds into my cancer treatment, my doctor ordered a CAT scan to check the progress of the chemo. The results were not the results she was expecting, and she was ecstatic! The CAT scan results showed no evidence of disease. When I asked her if these results were normal or abnormal for an individual battling stage 3 endometrial cancer, who had only undergone 4 rounds of chemo, without hesitation, she said it was abnormal. At that point, I acknowledged what I had been sharing with her from the beginning…that God had healed me of the cancer! It was a tremendous time of rejoicing and celebration! My faith meter was sky high!

Two days later, I was called into the HR Director's office at work. My company had experienced a downturn in business and had been laying people off weekly. I knew what this visit meant, but even after being told my employment would end in two weeks, my faith was still soaring. 

I still had one more chemo treatment, which was scheduled to take place after my employment, and my health insurance, ended. The Lord prompted me to ask the company to extend my health insurance to cover the last chemo treatment, and through a chance encounter with our company's COO, I believe the Lord softened their hearts to show me mercy and they extended the health insurance for 30 days. I was still on a "faith high"!

Little did I know at that time, it would be 12 long months before I was once again employed full-time. 

What followed was a move back to my home state of Pennsylvania and a roller coaster ride of emotions, disappointments, discouragement, fear, doubts, uncertainty, indecision, name it. I entered a phase where I just felt lost. The cancer was behind me, but I wasn't the same person, in many ways. I couldn't find my "new normal". I was scarred physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually from the battle I had waged for six months. 

My faith took a tumble.

God in His mercy and grace, placed individuals in my life to carry me through these lost days. They encouraged me and lovingly nursed me back to spiritual health. 

One individual just loved on me and showed me what compassion looks like in human form. 

Another individual, who had gifted me with a Compassion Bag, became a trusted friend and a spiritual mentor. 

An individual, whom the Lord had brought back into my life right before the cancer diagnosis, modeled for me an authentic faith that lives out the peaks and valleys in our Christian walk. 

And finally, He brought an individual whose music brought to me peace and hope, and it raised me up.

God had a plan and a purpose for my cancer, and that was to draw me into a closer walk with Him. The testing of our faith is to result in us looking more and more like Jesus. I am not the same person I was before the cancer diagnosis. Not because the cancer changed me, but because God changed me!   

My musical friend sings a song that has become an anthem to me about faith. Read the words she sings:

It’s believing the impossible 
Seeing the invisible
Dreaming bigger than you’ve ever dreamed
It’s listening to His still small voice 
It’s letting your heart make the choice
It’s standing at the edge of what could be
It’s reaching through the shadow of a doubt
That’s what faith is all about

Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see! That is what faith is all about!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Portraits of White Winter Concert is filling up fast.  Get your tickets soon.

Go HERE to "like" my Frances Drost Solo Artist music page so you can participate in the contest on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

Want more info about the concert itself or buy tickets?

See the video HERE.

December 12, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Messiah College
Parmer Hall
The Calvin and Janet High Center For Worship And Performing Arts
Mechanicsburg, PA 

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Bucket Life

Every time someone asks me if I have a bucket list, I cringe.

I finally figured out why.

I don't have one because I feel like it implies that I'm living a dull life and the only way I'd change it is if I got some really bad news and realized my time was short, so I'd suddenly throw caution to the wind and go do everything I ever wanted to do. Maybe that's a harsh way to look at it...but that's me.

I'm not sure how much the movie "The Bucket List" contributed to my feelings, but I do know I had this reaction long before I saw the movie.

"Billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and car mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) are complete strangers, until fate lands them in the same hospital room. The men find they have two things in common: a need to come to terms with who they are and what they have done with their lives, and a desire to complete a list of things they want to see and do before they die. Against their doctor's advice, the men leave the hospital and set out on the adventure of a lifetime."

I don't have a problem with this part of their story: "a desire to complete a list of things they want to see and do before they die"

But here is where they lost me: "a need to come to terms with who they are and what they have done with their lives"

I don't like the idea of waiting until something serious comes along and threatens your identity causing you to scramble for your pen and paper and totally change your life's trajectory. 

I want to live my life in the now and decide now who I want to be and what I want to do and then spend my days doing and being. No line between what I am now and what I would do if I ran out of time.  I call it 'the bucket life'. I grab hold of all that I can right now and put it in my current bucket.

For instance.  Say I wanted to take a trip across the U.S. on my motorcycle. I think doing that would bring about a certain feeling of satisfaction and freedom. It would be 'out of the norm' of my current path, so therefore, it would feel amazing.  There is a sense of "I can't do this until certain things are in place" in that 'bucket list' mentality. If it's on the bucket list, I am waiting until something serious catapults me into the wherewithal to make my wish happen.

After all, I would need extra time, money and who knows what else to be able to travel all the way to CA on my motorcycle.  I might not ever have all those pieces in one place at the right time. I'd have to be retired, but then I might not be in good health. 

But in the 'bucket life' analogy, I take a ride in the evenings, through the valley where I call home.  I see the changing seasons, I get to stop and talk to friends out in the fields, I go for ice cream and I spend time with my husband. I experience the feelings in my current reality that I would have if I rode across the U.S.  

Having a bucket life mentality instead of a bucket list mentality has more to do with attitude. Embracing each moment you have right now and making the most of it. Bringing the 'list' items into your current 'life' as much as possible.

IF I had a bucket list, one item might be to do Christmas concerts all across North America - a Portraits of White Christmas tour.  But the truth is, I am getting so much enjoyment out of doing just one that I'd feel completely satisfied if I 'kicked the bucket' tomorrow because the bigger list is already a part of my present reality in a small way.

So I say, fill your bucket with all that you can and embrace each moment fully, right now.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Tunneling" Your Fears

I've somehow grown to be afraid of tunnels.  Growing up in Pennsylvania, living right near the turnpike meant we would travel through the tunnels of the Blue Mountain ridge of PA.  As a child I thought they were really neat...but as I have grown older and have a better comprehension of what they really are, I have to fight fear when I go through them.

I spent part of my week in Franklin, TN working on the upcoming Portraits of White concert, overcoming other fears.  I recorded short video clips as a way to "journal" my trip and share it with my friends.  Overcoming my fears about this upcoming concert has made many other fears in my life begin to appear small.  If I can do this concert.....I can do just about anything.

One morning I was out walking and decided to walk through a tunnel that I've known existed but was a little nervous about entering.

It was an 'enlightening' experience.

Click here to experience the tunnel with me.

If you want to experience the whole TN trip with me, head over to my Frances Drost Solo Artist page and "like" it and then you can go with me - virtually.

When it comes to pursuing your dreams.....

What are you afraid of?
What holds you back from pursuing them or conquering your fears?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Got A Light?

It's that time of year. The sun sleeps in later and goes to bed early. It throws my routine and rhythm out of whack and I don't like it.  I have to change my quiet time, my exercise time and even my diet.

Basically, I have to readjust my schedule to fit the sunlight. Shorter motorcycle rides in the evening (if any) and no early morning jogs. No more fresh watermelon and cantaloupe. My tomatoes are still with me but they are slowly fading and don't ripen as well in the crisp air.

During the summer I crave fruit and there is plenty to satisfy me so I make better food choices. In the fall I crave pumpkin pie, apple pie...dumplings...all the stuff I really shouldn't have. So now my temptation list is a little longer and stronger.

Every year I experience this upheaval, but every year I learn to adjust a little more quickly. I can't change the daylight, but I can guard my attitude.

There's one thing that I find helpful and though it's very small, I appreciate the hope it brings:
I simply light a candle on our table when we eat breakfast and dinner. The tardy sun in the morning and the approaching darkness outside in the evening are softened by the light of the candle. It flickers and makes me feel warm and peaceful.

It's funny how the smallest things can make a big difference. Like lighting a candle or choosing to embrace the change of seasons instead of dreading them. How about enjoying the fact that I can soon uproot my flowers and be done with outside work. There is a sense of rest from those labors. By the time spring comes, I'll be more than ready to start in on the garden again but I welcome the break from outside upkeep.

So if you, like me, struggle with the fading summer and coming winter, here's a few tips:

1.) Find creative ways to embrace the change (like candlelight on the table)

2.) Adjust your mental attitude from dread to embrace (be thankful for a break from outside work)

3.) Change your normal routine and realize that with it may come some benefits (it can keep you from getting too set in your ways)

Got a light? Put it to use!