On Performing

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They say that prayer is communion with God, and while I totally agree with this, I also like to add that for me, singing is also communion with God. Especially when you sing from the heart. Singing in my church choir has always been my favorite activity and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Especially when we sing worship songs, the feeling is even more exalted. I know everyone in my choir feels like this, so every time it’s very special – it’s a communal experience that it’s just so touching. After choir practice, I always feel so good!

In my community, we have an annual spring festival called Blossom Thee. This is probably our favorite event of the year! The pastor of our church always makes sure to organize it differently each year, so that’s why it’s so exciting! It lasts two days and there are all sorts of activities during those 48 hours.

During the day there are activities for children, like puppet shows, face painting, flower-wreath contests and the like. But everyone’s favorite is the toilet toss. Last year my little cousin was the grand winner, so one of the prizes she got was this new toilet seat. Funny, I know! It’s a private joke in my family now and the toilet seat is covered in confetti and neatly hanged in their basement as an art piece. Lol!

It’s the evening activities that most of us are excited about, especially me and my choir mates, because we usually perform every year. Last year we performed with a band for the first time and it was so exciting, it fueled my love for singing even more! I love performing. Some of us are soloists in the choir sometimes, depending on the song, and this year I’m one of them. My heart is pounding so fast when I think about it!

Usually, I’m not nervous before a performance. I’ve known my choir mates for years, some since we were kids, and I’m very comfortable around them. We’ve got each other’s backs. But I always get a little nervous when it comes to Blossom Thee. I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s the favorite event of the year and everyone’s always in a good mood, so the pressure (and the excitement!) is higher.

But, not to worry. We like to do a collective prayer before any performance and this always makes me feel better!

Helping Out in a Different Way

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You are shortly going to learn more of course over the course of time. For the moment, I am going to talk about my church. I love how much it does for the community. They have a huge kitchen they use to serve food for gatherings, and they also have bathroom and shower facilities they keep open to the homeless population during colder weather. This is what charity is all about and everyone gets involved.

At times, it takes some support to put all this public help into practice. Funds are limited and they have to raise money to replace the old defunct water heater for their building. It is kind of essential for the cooking and personal cleanliness processes.  I volunteered to do the leg work to find a reasonable replacement that does its job with reliability and cost savings. I have always been pretty good with money and even better at research. It was time to get on the net and read some reviews. I want to be sure the church gets a great deal on a good electric water heater.

As the search progressed, I learned more than I cared to know about the features and benefits of a hot water heater from https://tanklesscenter.net. I now know that they come in various sizes and configurations and the best option a wonderful internal computer for temperature and shut off regulation. I can spot a discount a mile away and it has been easy to narrow down the finalists. I rated them according to delivery time and price. It is an urgent need, so no six-week orders for me. I found the perfect choice at the optimum value. It is a win-win all around. It should be making an appearance soon.

Singing is Pure Joy!

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God is good, that is for sure. There are so many things I give Him thanks for every single day. I especially thank the Lord for music, and for allowing me the ability to sing. I have not found anything else that lifts my heart like singing. It makes all the difference in my life. If I am feeling down or sad, I sing and pray and feel my burdens lighten. Singing enriches everything in my life. The church choir is like a second family, it gives me purpose, it is a service to my God, and it also brings me happiness. Music is an art form and it is so pure when we are lifting that song up to the Heavens. It brings me such joy just thinking about it.

I try to sing just about whenever I can. On my commute to school, after classes at my job, while I am doing tedious chores like folding laundry or washing the floors. Singing makes dull activities feel like they take less of my time and heightens my joy when I am doing something enjoyable. I am so blessed that it is something easy for me to do just about any time I want.

My favorite thing about singing is singing during church services. It brings the whole community together in such a beautiful way. I love being able see everyone from where I stand during service each week. It feels so good to see smiling faces throughout the congregation. For those of you who might be a little hesitant, I will let you in on a secret: you don’t have to be a great singer to sing in church, and it won’t affect how much joy it can bring you! All that is required of you is to join in.

In this world where we seem to value all the things we have over what we can do for each other, I have found that my singing can bring others joy as well. And that is something everyone can use more of. God has graced me with this talent and it would be wrong not to share it with those around me. Music brings people together and what better messages are there to send than the Words and praises of our Lord? It reaches people in a way that reading the bible or sitting through a homily can’t. That’s not to say reading scripture or listening to a good sermon don’t move me, but music has always felt like a direct connection between me and God. And that makes it pure joy.

Do you have anything in your life that makes you just light up with love and life? I really hope that you do, and I would love to hear about it in the comments.

I Auditioned Today!

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Miranda, another member of the church choir, told me that one of the youth group ministers is a member of a community theater and they are looking for people who can act and sing for a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. And she thought of me!

Can you believe that! I couldn’t! I like the musical, but I never thought I would get to audition for it. I went home and listened to “A Pharaoh Story” on repeat, enough to drive my neighbors a little crazy. Unfortunately, the audition was the next day (today) and so there was not a lot of time to get ready.

I can sing in a few different styles, but I’ve never tried anything like a Broadway musical before. I felt really unsure, so I did what I always do in a situation where I feel like I don’t know what to do: I prayed about it. At first, I was really nervous. I asked the Lord for some direction. I felt a wave of calm come over me and I knew that I had an answer. It did not matter that I only had a day to prepare and might not perform at my best – I should try out anyway. If for nothing else, I would get some experience. My whole family loves this musical. To be able to perform it with them in the audience would be such a thrill!

I went to the address on the sheet Miranda gave me and it turns out that just about everyone trying out for the role of the Narrator had picked the same song to audition as I did. There was nothing I could do about it at that point. Even though I went sixth, I tried not to compare myself to the people who went before me. The woman who auditioned right after me was incredible. I was tearing up listening to her, that is how beautiful her voice was. I told her so afterward, and gave her a hug, even though I knew it meant I probably wasn’t getting the part. Everyone there was really nice and I had a great time talking to everyone after the tryouts were over.

Hold on, my phone is ringing, maybe it is about the show!

Well, it was about the show. And I was right, I didn’t get the part of the Narrator. But the director offered me a part as one of the Three Ladies instead! I get to perform in the production after all! I cannot believe how God’s hand guided me toward this great experience – Miranda had to know the youth minister and had to see him before the tryouts, then she had to think of me and see me before the tryouts… God is so great!

Oh No!

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Hey everyone. I hate to ask for personal prayers but today I am making an exception. That is, if you’re so inclined, of course. I am sick. I try so hard to eat healthy and take care of myself, and I got sick! The worst part is that my throat is so raw that it hurts to talk. If it hurts to talk, there’s no singing! Although to tell the truth, I am also pretty stuffy so even if I could sing it would likely sound really bad.

I will be missing a choir practice today for the first time in over a year. They’re learning the songs for a wedding that is happening this weekend, and if I’m not better by then, I won’t get to sing in the wedding either. Not to mention missing Saturday and Sunday services, which would be so sad. That’s why I am asking for prayers from those of you who do pray. I am hoping that I can be well enough to sing by the time the weekend rolls around and I can get myself up there to sing with the rest of the choir.

I do also hate being sick. When I was young, it was fine. I got to stay home from school. Mama would set me up on the couch with pillows and a blanket and let me stay in my jammies all day. She’d make me tea with honey and give me crackers or toast. We would watch gameshows for hours. I actually kind of looked forward to getting sick. Not just for the time off from school but as a chance to be with Mama without my brothers around. I like them both a lot but they did take a lot of her attention when we were growing up. It I was stuffy at night or I had trouble sleeping, she would rub that menthol gel on me and sing to me. Mama rarely sang otherwise so that was always such a treat.

Now things are different. When I am sick, I try not to go to my parents’ house. I don’t want to get them – or anyone else – sick. But that means that I am usually in my apartment alone. I have to make myself the tea and take care of myself, which is no fun at all. I watch movies all day instead of going to work. My boyfriend came over this time and brought me soup, which was really sweet. I did not want him to stay though. Not just because I didn’t want him to get sick, although I don’t want him to get sick, but for a much more ridiculous reason. I look like a mess and I didn’t want him to see me like that! He was very sweet and told me that I looked adorable even with a cold, isn’t he the best?

Well, I think I had better go take a nap. Hopefully I will feel better when I wake up!

A Gift From God

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We are each obligated to promote our God and his good works. Some of us do missionary work. Some of us preach, lead Bible study, or work with a youth group. And some of us sing.

Every Sunday growing up, I would see members of the congregation up there in their robes, their beautiful voices calling out to God and inspiring every person inside the building. When I was real little, I thought they were angels, that is how lovely they sounded. When Mama told me that they were not angels but real people who attend this church just like me, I could not believe it.

“Could I be one of them, Mama?”

And bless my Mama, she was never one to discourage me. I may have been only six years old at the time, but she was already teaching me that I could be anything I wanted. She told me that I could absolutely be a singer in the church choir.

I joined the chorus at school to learn what I could about reading music and singing techniques. Instead of asking for presents for my birthdays, I asked for singing lessons (my brothers thought I was crazy). While other kids were out riding their bikes, I learned breath control and the importance of good posture.

I could not wait to try out to be one of them. I wanted to stand up there in front of everyone and sing my praises to the Lord as part of a beautiful harmony. The night before my tryout, I sang my audition piece, Holy Holy Holy, for my parents. Mama cried. Daddy’s smile was so big I thought his face would crack in two. They were so proud of me and told me that I had a gift from God, and that I should share it with the world.

My audition went well, but I didn’t make the choirmaster cry like when Charlette joined the choir four years ago. Mama told me that I shouldn’t be in competition with anybody else and that the important thing was that I made the choir. Pride goeth before the fall, Daddy reminded me. They were right, of course, but it is hard when you’re young and you want to do a good job.

Now I get to wear the robes and sing in the choir. I like to look around the pews and see my friends and family watching me sing, seeing their smiling faces lifted up to the Lord. I enjoy seeming people feel so moved by the music that they sway in their row or even dance in the aisle. My favorite is singing Christmas carols and honoring the birth of Baby Jesus. The whole church is filled with such love and warmth that it makes my voice even stronger and brighter.

Maybe there is even a little girl looking up at me in my robe and thinking one day she would like to be a singing angel too.

It’s a Family Thing

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I have been told that I come from a long line of singers. Seems like people in both sides of my parents’ family trees have been talented, both men and women. So sometimes it feels like I am carrying on a family tradition. Mama says that her dad was really good with a piano and he used to sing too. After he fought in the War and came home, he didn’t want to sing much but it was a way to make extra money while he was going to school to become a teacher. He played in lounges and would come home smelling like cigarettes and Grandma would throw a fit. She was happy when he quit being a musician and started being a teacher, according to my mom. I don’t really know because they both died before I was born.

But my other grandma, my Daddy’s mom, she is a firecracker. And a good singer, to boot. As a kid, I would make her sing “O Christmas Tree” with me before we could turn the lights on. Everyone – especially my brothers — would roll their eyes but I think they secretly enjoyed it. They would sing along too, they just acted like they didn’t care. She had to move out of her home and now she lives in an assisted living facility a half hour away, but we go and pick her up or visit her as much as we can. I still like to sing with her, and sometimes we sing along to the radio together. We brought her to the wedding of a friend of mine last year because I got to sing a solo during the service – that was so much fun! Grandma doesn’t just like church music either. She likes to listen to “what the kids” are listening to as well. She probably knows more contemporary music than I do.

Mama sings, too. I wish she would join the choir with me. Or maybe we could be a mother/daughter singing group like the Judds. It’s too bad because she’s really shy. She hates it when anybody can hear her and sometimes she’ll just mouth the words to a song if she thinks she can get away with it. I know she has a lovely voice because she always sang to me and my brothers when we were sick or when we had trouble falling asleep. If I try to bring that up now, though, she tells me I am remembering it wrong. That’s unlikely!

Daddy and my brothers all enjoy country western music, and they’ll sing along to that all day long. And the fight songs for their favorite college teams, too. I love listening to them sing because they all have this hard shell and I only see their softer side when they’re singing along to something.

Like I said, singing is a family thing!