All posts by Catherine Lykins

About Catherine Lykins

Catherine (Steen) Lykins grew up in Michigan in the Oak Arbor New Church congregation. She and her husband, Rob, currently live in Atlanta, GA where she teaches high school chorus at a public high school. She loves her job and is deeply invested in the students she gets to sing with every day. Catherine also loves to run, sings with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, enjoys scrapbooking and often helps her husband fly his hot air balloon!


Acceptance has evolved slowly over time, and greatly over the past five years. Racial equality, Gender equality, LGBTQ equality etc. I tear up every time I see a story about someone who is able to be him or herself freely and comfortably and be accepted by their peers, their workplace and society as a whole.

Yet still, there seems to be an influx of hate groups lately. As progress in equality is made, unthinkable acts of violence are committed. I feel my blood boil when I hear stories of hate and anger over the color of a person’s skin or over an external difference beyond our control.

I taught high school choir in Georgia for six years, and now teach high school choir in Michigan. The school where I taught in Georgia is diverse. 20% White, 20% African American, 20% Asian, 20% Hispanic, 20% everything else. Culture did not decide who would be friends with whom. An Indian student had an Indian dance recital, and her whole choir class went to see her show. I asked one day where the best Vietnamese food in town was, and an African American girl said “Linda Tran’s family has the best restaurant- duh!” A boy who came-out his freshmen year was class president and voted prom king his senior year. A Hispanic soccer star patiently explained the rules of the game to an Asian boy one day in class. A boy with autism brought his favorite snack to share with the class one day- bananas. Even though other students brought cookies or chips to share, no one giggled at the banana option and instead they thanked him and supported his choice of delicious fruit. Continue reading Kindness

Be Strong and Brave

As I’ve gone through good and bad times in my life there are a handful of phrases from elementary school religion class that have never left my head. One is, “The Lord is always with you, and he will help you make the change.” One is the verse, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.” And another we created in 4th grade religion class.

We read a story that prompted our class to create the mantra: Be Strong, And Brave, And Know the Truth, And Follow it! We spoke it in the style of a rap, and would march around in a circle reciting this phrase. The teacher would say: “Whisper it! Ok, now yell it! This time, sing it! Now whisper again!” He would also add his own embellishments to our “rap”. Be Strong, (mmm-hmmm) And Brave, (Oh yeah) And know the Truth and Follow it (Louder!).

I clearly remember having a sleep over with a friend from the same class later that year. Before going to her house over-night, we went to the movies and saw the movie “Tom and Huck”. For some reason the character “Indian Joe” from the movie really freaked us out! That night, we had to take her dog out to use the bathroom. It was dark and we spooked ourselves thinking that “Indian Joe” was going to pop out of the trees and scoop us up. We started chanting at the top of our lungs: “Be Strong! And Brave! And Know the Truth and Follow it!” Our fear that night turned to calm and giggles and we often recall the event with fondness. Continue reading Be Strong and Brave


“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His Work which God had created and made.”
Genesis 2:2-3

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.”
Exodus 20: 8-10

This article is being written as a reminder to myself and a permission slip to all women that it’s ok to say no, it’s ok to take time for yourself and it’s ok to rest. Continue reading Rest

Keep On Singing

I currently have the great honor of preparing a choir to sing at a state-wide Music Educator’s Conference. We have titled the program “Keep On Singing”, which is the title of one of the songs the girls will be singing on the program. Each song has an underlying theme of this title, and has been inspiring us over the course of the school year in many wonderful ways. With these pieces on my mind and in my heart I’d like to share the lyrics with you!

Continue reading Keep On Singing