A Song for Sunday–We Are

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We Are–James Tealy, Hillary McBride, Chuck Butler, Ed Cash

Every secret, every shame
Every fear, every pain
Live inside the dark
But that’s not who we are
We are children of the day

So wake up, sleeper, lift your head
We were meant for more than this
Fight the shadows, conquer death
Make the most of the time we have left

Today felt like one of “those” days, for no good reason. On the surface, all was well. I got to sleep in. My husband made breakfast for the family. We got to spend time together as we did a few things around the house and the yard. But in spite of how smoothly the day was going, I was a bit anxious and edgy, although I couldn’t say exactly why.

Since I am now the music director for the evening Mass every Sunday, I grabbed my phone and listened to “We Are” on YouTube while tackling the laundry and a few other chores. This was the new song for tonight. I know myself well enough to know that sometimes, the anxiety just needs to be pushed aside, so I worked away at the song and hoped that it would go well–not just for my sake, but for the people I would be leading.

Once we arrived at the church, I was finally able to calm my mind and settle into the prayerful atmosphere. As I listened to the readings, and as I led the music, I felt that wonderful, familiar peace come over me. In spite of all the worries that had been hanging over me all day–worries that I couldn’t quite identify, but still couldn’t chase away–I felt calm. As I played and sang, I felt like I was exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. I can’t say I always know that I am doing what God intends for me, but when I do, there’s nothing like it, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine

Whatever your light for the world is, don’t hide it. Push aside the uncertainty, the doubts, the obstacles that might be in your way. Let your light shine, because that’s how God’s work gets done. However small each of us might be, we can all make a difference in our own way, a way that no one else can quite duplicate.

And with all the challenges out there–watch the evening news for a few minutes, on the off chance that you don’t know what I mean–it would seem that the world really needs more light right now.

We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine

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A Song for Sunday–Living the Dream

Living the Dream–Downhere

This song comes across as a little tongue-in-cheek, but maybe that’s just because of where I’m at livin’ my own dreams. Sometimes it’s hard to sort out exactly which parts of our everyday existence are helping us to live our dreams. Responsibilities can feel like burdens or distractions from what we really want to be doing, and sometimes a crisis really throws us off course for a while… or at least, that’s the tendency, to think we’re being drawn away from the path we should be on. But what if right here, in the middle of the mess, is exactly where we’re supposed to be?

Usually, I’m trying to live my dreams by squeezing little bits of time into the cracks between working at my job, driving the kids to where they need to go, getting the household chores done (or at least trying to). But then there are moments when I realize that all of those everyday things aren’t just distractions, they aren’t just things in my way.

As for me, I’m singing a new song.
I’m not gonna dwell inside
Some alternate reality

I feel free
I’m making the best of it
I’m seeing with eyes that find the heart and soul of true beauty

Lately, I’ve taken to calling certain irritations “problems of privilege”. Sure, doing housework isn’t necessarily my idea of fun, but these jobs are tied to a blessing–I have a family. My property taxes are going up? I that “problem” because I have a house. The car needs to go to the shop? I try to remind myself to be thankful that I have a car. I’m exhausted by week’s end, yet again? I have so many things to keep me busy because of the people in my life. How could I not be thankful for them?

Everyday, love makes the promise
That we can be great
If we wanted and
We are living the dream.

Highs and lows we’ll take on together,
Choosing joy whatever the weather, and
We are living the dream,
Living the dream,
Living the dream.

This is the dream.

This song is a good reminder that the dream is not off in some distant “someday”, but right here, around us today, if we just look at things a little differently. Even in the tough times, and I’ve had a few, God’s blessings surround us, if we just try to open our eyes see them.

My Soundtrack–Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze–Seals & Croft

Winter has us in its grip this week. Records have been set for coldest daytime highs and overnight lows. I’ve had to dig out every last bit of winter outerwear I own, and I’m waiting for a new pair of boots to arrive at the local catalogue order store. Yes, we have real stores around here, but I don’t really like shopping at the best of times, and the selection of boots has dwindled because we’re already into mid-February.

As the winter grinds on, I’m trying to enjoy it, but I’ll admit it, I’m dreaming of spring. Oh, never mind spring, I’m full-out wishing for summer, hence this song. This new series is meant to be a catch-all–new music that catches my ear, songs that bring back memories of events, and so on. There will probably be quite a few from my childhood, because I think my mother always had the radio on in the kitchen when I was a kid, and I will be forever grateful. Many of my earliest memories are attached to songs. In some cases, I think the song¬†is the memory, like this one. It was a #1 hit in 1972, when I would have been a little too young to remember, but it must have gotten a lot of airplay on our local station over the next few years. In my mind, I’m shorter than the kitchen counters while this song plays over the radio, and I sense my younger self standing still, completely entranced. I think I must have been hard-wired for music from the start.

Fields of jasmine will have to wait–everything is still buried in snow around here. But I can listen to this song, soak in the harmonies and smile while I dream of the summer sun on my face. It’s only a few months away!

 

CD Launch Party–Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the CD Launch Party. It was a great time! I love the fact that it filled up with people who were happily visiting and enjoying conversation while listening to the music. It was a very friendly atmosphere–what an awesome way to celebrate! Thanks to all the friends and acquaintances who came out, to the new people I met that evening, and to the restaurant staff.

cd launch band2As for my band, I can’t thank them enough for the great job they did, and all the enthusiasm they show for what we’re getting ourselves into. They are all excellent musicians, and I am so happy to have them on board. Jim Brown shares his awesome skills on the bass, Del Metcalfe burns it up on the guitar, and Eugene Metcalfe amazes all with his dexterity on the drums. (Sorry Eugene, I tried to find a photo where you weren’t hiding behind the mic stand, no luck.)

My son, Tate, hopped on board too, as the opener, and added his fiddling flair to a tune during our first set. I can’t wait to see what else he gets up to as a musician, I’m sure this cd launch tate & meis just the beginning for him. My whole family deserves thanks, for their wonderful support, and for their patience with the practices. They’ve heard the songs many times over and they haven’t complained (too much, haha)!

Another big thanks goes out to Al and Lisa at UCB Radio for having me in for an interview during the preceding week, and to Jay Smith and Corey North over at CKXS for their awesome promotion all week long as the artist in the Local Spotlight. It’s great to have media outlets willing to promote local artists. Both stations were a great help in getting the word out.

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better event. I would do it all over again, exactly the same way, in a heartbeat. I’m so very grateful that it went well! Now we’re focusing on getting ready for upcoming public events in Waterloo (solo appearance) and Chatham (full concert with the band). Details will be posted soon. I hope to see lots of people there! God has put the music in my heart, along with a drive to get it out there, and the means to make it happen, one small step at a time. I feel very blessed, because in the end, I don’t want to keep these songs at home in my music room–connecting with listeners is what makes it all worth it.

Worth a Listen–2 Cellos, Thunderstruck

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As an elementary school music teacher, being able to access YouTube in the classroom has definitely enhanced my lessons. I’m no longer limited to the CDs I can buy and carry around with me–there is a huge store of music out there, immediately available when needed.

I just love (no, I LOVE!) showing this video to students. Whether it’s the kindergartners learning about different instruments, or the older students learning about music in historical contexts, it is so much fun watching their reactions as the drama unfolds. The best part is that no words are required–it is completely played out in the music. And after watching, I think quite a few students would rate the cello much higher on the “cool” scale than they did before seeing it. If I could, I would thank these two performers for making my job easier!

A Song for Sunday–I’m Free

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I’m Free–Tim Neufeld (feat. the Glory Boys)

Sometimes Christians are accused of being too serious, too sombre. This foot-stompin’ tune most definitely is not! It is just overflowing with positive energy, and I love it. It takes the familiar message of Amazing Grace and rocks it with a down-home feel. Reading the lyrics here does not do it justice–give it a listen if you have a minute. I dare you not to enjoy it!

My burden fell with a sound like thunder
The hour I first believed
My chains were gone and the fear no longer
Had a hold on me.