(My first and only piano recital. May, 1989. I was 18 years old)
During my senior year of high school I decided to try something different. So I took piano lessons. Yep. Piano lessons.
I had never played a musical instrument before in my life, but I wanted to give it a shot. So I asked Sharon Odom if she could teach me. She was (and still is) a very nice lady, and she agreed to work with me.
For about nine months I practiced. Sharon was very patient with me. See, I was like a lot of other teenagers. Focused some times, and distracted others. But she hung in there with me and kept on teaching me the best she could.
Finally, in May of 1989, I played my first and only piano recital. It was held at a local church here in Sumter, SC. There was a good sized crowd present for the event, as several people would be playing. Words can not express how nervous I was that night. I played two songs. One of them was "Georgia On My Mind". The other one was a hymn. I can't remember which one it was. I managed to get through it, and I actually did ok. It wasn't anything great, but I didn't mess up much at all.
After that, I didn't do much more with the piano. I went off to college and focused on other things. But I'm still glad I had those nine months with the piano. It taught me some important lessons.
 Never be afraid to try new things. Outside of our comfort zones are thrilling opportunities waiting for us to experience. Take an art class. Try to learn golf. Learn a musical instrument. Write a poem. The willingness to broaden horizons and venture out makes life even more rewarding. Don't just play it safe and stay inside the bubble of familiarity. Attempt something you've never done before.
 Know that we can do more than we think we can. Many of us sell ourselves short. "Oh, I could never do that." "Me? Naaah, I don't have what it takes to succeed there." These kinds of thoughts and comments hold us back from the thrill of launching into new experiences that could benefit our lives. While I don't have scientific data to prove this, I have noticed that most of us, if not all of us, can accomplish greater things than we can imagine. We just need to be willing to try!
So thank you, Sharon Odom, for being patient with me and teaching me about the piano.
And may we all be willing to go out on a limb, take a risk, and try new things.