Tag Archives: Singing

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Making a Joyful Noise

O my God, some of Your children love to sing loud in church, and I’m one of them. While we know You’re not hard of hearing, we’re glad You’re not nervous, either.

Nailing the high note

What? … OMG, maybe the people in the pews in front of us are?

Earplugs, please.

Leading God’s Choir

Some elementary classmates considered choir cruel and unusual punishment. Not me. Although stuck in the back row because of my height, I didn’t permit boys’ cooties to lessen my joy in music. I grew up singing.

As an adult, I directed my church choir. We developed spiritual closeness and musical mental telepathy … that didn’t transfer to sitting/standing together. I’ve never seen another choir do the wave every Sunday. Still, we sang with gladness and authenticity.

After moving, my husband and I joined a large church with a bigger choir and classically trained director. How I missed old friends! But now I didn’t direct while belting out alto and/or tenor to compensate for members lost to the flu du jour. I sang my natural soprano!

Image by CCXpistiavos from Pixabay.

However, our director discovered my past. Would I substitute for him? I attempted the game all God’s people, beginning with Moses, play: Ask Somebody Else.

Other directors weren’t available.

The director believed in miracles. He also promised his compassionate pianist would cover my back.

O-kay.

What to wear? Often, seams split and zippers opened as I conducted. In the past, arm motion sent shoulder pads traveling. Once, I appeared to grow a bust on my back.

Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay.

Wardrobe decided, I caught cold. While I directed, would God send an angel to wipe my nose?

What if singers didn’t show? Without them, I was only a crazy woman waving her arms.

They came, though. A row of Bach’s descendants gave me the eye.

We practiced well, but questions erupted about missing music, standing up, sitting down …

“Only God is infinite.” I answered. “Ask Him!”

When I stepped up to direct, congregational eyebrows rose. But it wasn’t about me. Or anyone else.

We worshipped an audience of One: Jesus. All who lifted heartfelt praises to Christ belonged.

In His choir, nobody has cooties.

Those singers were so patient with me.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you deal with feelings of inadequacy?

Rachael’s Resolutions

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.

In 2012, I revolutionized the practice of making New Year’s Resolutions. Instead of lying through my teeth about diets, exercise and tiresome niceness, I included only promises I could keep.

Still, I didn’t accomplish all my goals. I kept a pair of gloves intact, forgetting to lose one of every pair. I remembered to charge my phone before it quit four times that year. Despite my efforts to destroy the previous Christmas’s poinsettias, one still lives. I didn’t kill it completely, though judging from its appearance, it probably wishes I had.

Given these failures, an attack of perfectionism prevented me from attempting resolutions again.

But I’ve recovered. Noble aspirations for 2024 are listed below:

I promise to harmonize with background music in stores. Singing is gluten-free, contains zero calories and harbors no toxic substances (if on key).

While I may not be the best snow shoveler, I find ways to have fun.

Shoveling snow, I’ll throw half our driveway’s gravel into the yard. Come spring, I’ll pick up 15 percent and let Hubby’s lawnmower retrieve the rest.

I’ll wear only mom jeans, sparing myself and the rest of the world any attempts at wearing skinnies. Instead, I’ll move up a pants size. Moving up is a promotion, right?

I will not label freezer items. Plus, if I’m careful to maintain its chaos, a ten-pound unknown will tumble out every time I open it.

Image by Maayan2007 from Pixabay.

I’ll continue to laugh too loud at our pastor’s jokes on Sunday morning. Sorry, fellow church members, but my laughter comes in one-size-fits-all.

I will growl at the gas gods, whether they zap my pocketbook or lower prices and mess with the world economy.

I’ll never open the front window at drive-throughs without opening a back one first.

I will introduce my grandchildren to a new form of sugar their folks have banned.

I’ll bore my grandkids with “when I was a girl” stories. (The last time I did this, one grandson asked if I knew Betsy Ross.)

I will hand out free smiles, no limits, and no coupon needed.

I won’t change a single light bulb, even if we’re cast into outer darkness. Hubby needs to feel needed.

Finally, I will leave at least one cell phone unmuted, one car horn braying for no reason, and one zipper unzipped at the worst possible moments of 2024.

Too lofty a list?

Sigh. Perfectionism strikes again. …

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What doable resolutions will you make for 2024?

Weird Things for Which I Was Thankful — Even in 2020

Image by Daniel Roberts from Pixabay.

(In this edited version of my newspaper column, I recall a Thanksgiving when COVID ran rampant.)

Have your children or grandchildren watched “Sesame Street’s” Oscar the Grouch? I worried, lest my offspring adopt him as their patron saint.

Fast-forward to 2020. Thankfully, my children don’t live in trash cans. Nor is Oscar their role model.

I, on the other hand, sound more like Oscar every day. So, this Thanksgiving, I choose to be grateful, even for weird things.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the following:

  • I don’t have to mask when I talk with You.
If praying with a mask seemed difficult, singing in the church choir was harder!
  • Because of COVID-19, I rarely try on clothes in stores. No multiple mirrors!
  • Squirrels playing nut-soccer on our roof don’t weigh 400 pounds.
  • Delivery drivers bring life’s necessities — like apple cinnamon air freshener and SunChips® — to our doors.
  • Potholders that aid in taking golden turkeys from the oven have not, unlike everything else, gone digital. I haven’t had to recharge one yet.
  • Not all gas pumps show videos.
Image by Artsy Solomon from Pixabay.

I also thank You that my husband has never, ever refused to open a pickle jar.

  • We use clean water I didn’t haul a mile.
  • Though some idiots — er, futurists — drool over human interfacing with technology, my Internet still has an off button.
  • Leaves filling my yard are not poison ivy.
  • I rarely worry about charging hippopotamuses.

Thank You, too, God, for pie. Any kind but mince.

  • Also for the fact no one has written or performed “Medicare Supplements: the Musical.”
My niece’s pie looked much better than mine, so I used her pic.
  • For the color periwinkle.
  • For the rustle and fragrance of a real book that keeps me up late.
  • For phone calls from Little Brother. When I was a teen with a boyfriend, and he a brat with mirrors, I wished him 2,000 miles away. Eventually, my wish came true. Now, I cherish the bittersweet joy of hearing his voice.
So thankful that the COVID situation improved so I could travel and visit Little Brother out West.

Finally, Lord, I’m thankful for my two-year-old grandson who sings in the night.

You hear that, Oscar? Probably not, as you have clapped your trash can lid on tight.

Image by Maaark from Pixabay.

Stay there, if you want. But if you change your mind, gratitude’s an excellent antidote for grouchiness.

Even for you, Oscar.

Even for me, this Thanksgiving of 2020.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: For which aspects of COVID’s wane are you thankful?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: No Marching Choirs

O Lord, such a treat to watch our oldest grandchild march with her college band on Family Day. But after the director invited visitors to a practice workout with our kids, OMG, I’m glad I’ve always been a singer!

The professional and the amateur. Can you tell who’s who?
Nothing like full uniforms on a hot day!

I Flunked Euchre

I was born and raised in Indiana, the heart of the “Euchre Belt.” Along with understanding all things basketball and eating dinner plate-sized tenderloin sandwiches, I learned how to play euchre, right?

Wrong.

My father, a card-shark-turned-pastor, nixed cards. Even Old Maid made him uneasy. While friends learned to play euchre and that favorite pastime of the devil, poker, I grew up calling clubs “clovers.”

Instead, our default family activity consisted of singing around the piano.

Once, at an Indiana University summer music camp for high schoolers, I sowed the wildest of oats. My sort-of boyfriend, who also attended, volunteered to teach me euchre. He became my partner.

By evening’s end, he was crying. Why, I didn’t know. The clover issue bothered him. Also, I considered spades hearts too — pointy black hearts. He took that personally.

The relationship crashed.

Dad was right. Playing cards messed up your life.

Then, I met my dream guy: taller than me, with bigger feet and a cute smile. Like me, he enjoyed school. More important, he shared my Christian faith, as did his family.

Eventually, he invited me to his grandparents’ get-together.

I was ecstatic. Until everyone started playing heathen euchre.

Worse, no piano graced their living room.

How could this relationship survive?

Especially, as I learned his parents and grandparents played euchre every week. Grandma and Grandpa even gambled (gasp!), winning penny pots and cans of applesauce and beanee weenees.

My parents would want me to be polite. When my hosts insisted on teaching me euchre, I tried to learn.

Only now do I realize the extent of their kindness. Even Grandpa didn’t pounce on me — mostly because Grandma fixed a steely eye on him when I, his partner, trumped his aces.

Fortunately, my future husband was too in love to notice when I trumped his.

However, even he tired of waiting while I pondered various plays. He joined the others in extended coffee and bathroom breaks. Grandpa built a garage.

“With practice, you’ll do fine,” my sweet, future mother-in-law assured me.

She was right. After 25 years of marriage, I could play without anyone building garages.

Of course, our children caught on to the game as preschoolers. Their children also are fast learners.

The Phillips family playing euchre.

When we play with friends, the card sharks my father warned me about, they can’t play plain euchre. No, we must bid and think high and low and upside down.

You mean the cards read the same upside down?

My euchre education continues.

Occasionally, even the friendliest card sharks lose patience with me. But the important relationship hasn’t crashed.

He still possesses a cute smile. And Hubby can sing around the piano, too.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What in-law tradition tripped (trips) you up?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Can’t Stop Singing!

O Lord, I’m so thankful. Yesterday, for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak, our church choir, including Hubby and I, could join the angels in singing Your praises. We had to wear masks, and the angels didn’t. But OMG, what a joy to worship You together!