Freedom to Choose

I’ve never really listened to George Jones. I know his songs, and I read a book written about him and Tammy Wynette many years ago. Back in the days when I read anything I could about people and their lives. They had a love story, not only filled with roses and sunshine, but thorns and stormy days. The same stories we all share. George Jones was an extremely talented songwriter. He was able to tell a story, draw you in, and have you laughing or crying in under five minutes. Wow!

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You are probably going to have a lot of posts from me about songs I listen to. Our son gave me a little white box this past Christmas. It sets in my kitchen where I can talk to it, asking about the weather, and recipes I need. It’s a very handy little device, and I’ve become rather attached to it. When it comes to music, all I need to do is tell it what song I want to hear, or what genre. I smile when I think back to the days when we ran miles of stereo wire through the house so we could have a speaker upstairs and get ‘surround’ sound.

This morning, I had bluegrass-type gospel music playing, when this song came on. Choices was not written by George Jones, but it was written about his life. If you know anything about country music, George Jones had a huge impact on it. He also struggled with addiction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP0oQCh_teg

It continually amazes me the way God uses people. Not only their strengths, but their weak areas as well. The men in the Bible given as examples were not sin-free. They murdered, committed adultery, and didn’t always do as instructed by God. Some even turned their backs. Those actions detoured their lives, and there were consequences to pay. We live in the same world today, and we still have choices to make.

Every one of us can think back over our lives, and see something that we should have handled in a different way, maybe a better way. We all live with regrets and guilt. I think that’s why it’s so very important to instill in our children a sense of right and wrong, and to teach them to listen to that little voice of warning when we are headed down a wrong path. There is no shame in re-routing, or admitting we are wrong. There are second chances…usually. The only shames are arrogance, and being unwilling to learn.

This song is bluntly truthful, speaking of the singer’s regrets for not making better decisions with his life. The addictions were more important than family, friends, and talents. Addictions are not only in the forms of alcohol and drugs. They can be anything that keeps us from being the person God designed us to be…the best that we can attain here on this earth. I know what mine are…how about you? I know the areas in my own life that are weak, that lead me to make unwise choices. I do want to listen to that little voice that warns me that I’m headed down a dangerous path. And I want to be courageous enough to stop, and admit I was wrong…that I need to make a better decision.

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Because at the end of my life, I don’t want to be singing a song of regrets…about all the should-haves. I want to rejoice that I was courageous, even when it was difficult to be. And if I failed, I found my feet once more and tried again. I do have choices in my life. I have the freedom to make them.

The Blizzard

Songwriters are pretty special people. They have the ability to pull you into a story in a very short period of time. That story may leave you smiling and laughing, or pretty sad and wanting to cry. We all have a list of our favorites.

One of mine is a song written by Harlan Howard called The Blizzard. From what I could research, Jim Reeves recorded it first on October 4, 1960, releasing in February 1961. It had many other talented people record it after that. Just goes to show what a great story it is! I won’t share the words on here since the Jim Reeves lyrics are property and copyright of their owners. But you may listen to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2fyFumisiU

If you would like to hear some other recordings, this is a site I found: https://secondhandsongs.com/work/54004/all

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As we all feel with a favorite song, we never get tired of hearing it. Songs can take us back to a time and place, even bringing to mind certain smells and emotions we experienced when hearing the song for the first time. Christmas songs are probably the most familiar for transporting us to other days, and recreating memories in our minds.

At Christmas time during my childhood, Christmas music was played from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Hearing it at any other time shakes me out of that happy place of Christmas memories and is comparative to a cold-water dousing. So of course, I’ve never been a fan of Christmas in July! When I was 17-18 years old, we lived in Tucson, Arizona. The scenery did not bring a New England Christmas to my mind. I think our entire family felt the same. So, my mother played the music, decorated as she always did and baked. She also sprayed all the windows with fake snow, and ran the air-conditioner. We arrived home from school those weeks of the Christmas season, lugging school books and our winter coats. The area we lived in near the base of the Catalina Mountains was known for being frigid, with maybe a dusting of snow in the early morning, but hot by afternoon. catalina-mountains-tucson-2928436_1920

It was a bit of a shock to walk into the house after a long day of trudging around the school campus. But my mind instantly went back to Christmases spent in Colorado, Vermont, and upstate New York.

Another ingredient I think is a trademark of a great story, is the ability to give you an emotion at the end…no matter how many times you hear it, read it or watch it. Each time I listen to The Blizzard, I am shocked at the end. As if that time, he would have made it to Mary Ann, or encouraged Dan to get up and walk home.

So now, if you’ve never heard The Blizzard, you know the ending. But have a listen anyway. It’s a great song! Happy Tuesday everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

This life we live is uncertain, filled with obstacles, lost expectations of our youth, and a lot of ‘just getting by’. Life is a journey that each of us has been given, and it is also a gift. Along with the struggles, and the not-so-good days, there is hope, and there is joy.

I’ve always loved the words to this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n3iLXHzX9k

It was written by Ira F. Stanphill in 1950, during a very difficult time in his own life. From what I could find, his wife left him to pursue a career of her own, at the zenith of his. If any of you know of different facts, or more, please share. I always enjoy learning more about a person. Mr. Stanphill wrote this song out of the pain, betrayal and loss he was experiencing at that time, and you can feel it.

So many items in this life are unknowns. We don’t know what the day will hold, we don’t know if any of us will be here tomorrow. But we do have today, and we can rejoice and take comfort in that. Make your Sunday… today, a good one.

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The Gibb Brothers

The Bee Gees were always one of my favorite groups when I was younger. One of the biggest reasons that I enjoyed them, was because they were brothers. Seeing a family work together, and especially for so many years, is pretty special. Barry Gibb lives on, the oldest of the brothers. What a legacy they have left for all of us. This is a song Barry wrote. I enjoyed looking at the pictures in the video. I hope you do as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qLT26K89Qo

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. The house has been draped in garland and ribbons, the tree twinkling, aglow with Christmas memories.

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The baking is done, lovely aromas of sugar and spices, a confectioner’s dream. The green and red dye has worn off from tiny fingers, the tongue will be tinged for days…until no crumb remains.

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If you are privileged, you’ve seen carolers, and listened to their sweet voices, and maybe not so sweet, lifted with joy in song. You’ve enjoyed a Christmas program or two, and delighted in your children or grandchildren, niece or nephew.

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The music has played, and set the tone, and all that remains is the opening of gifts, and a day filled with family, friends and laughter. The absolute best part about the festivities. That meal is also pretty special!

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Tomorrow, let us recall the reason for it all. That babe in a manger, so very small. You may not be surrounded by family and friends, your house a delight of colors and smells. You…alone physically or emotionally… have the most special of days, the time spent with a Man, that died for you…the same. He now sits at the right hand of the Father, waiting for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB3Fo6yG2n0

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I wish you a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for reading, for being part of my life.

 

This Is My Father’s World…

I love music…in almost any form. I have a tremendous appreciation for those that play musical instruments, and those that have been gifted with voices to sing. (There are those of us that sing anyway!) 😉

I have written before about the few years that our children and I had a family group of mostly blue grass and gospel. This was because of our children’s musical talents. I was just along for the fun ride. Our son learned guitar, our daughter played the mandolin and just about anything else you tossed at her for a few seconds. Our son could handle that aspect pretty well too. I watched them with amazement. Our second oldest wrote a couple songs that we used in our concerts. Well, we used one of them. The one that was happy and uplifting!

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When our son and daughter went away to Cornerstone Bible Institute in South Dakota, our little group was no more. Children grow up and want to have their own lives for some reason…and that makes me a bit sad. But, I have wonderful memories, and they still share their lives with us. I am very thankful for that!

If I am remembering correctly, I’ve shared a little about our son, and why it is even more special that he has the musical talents that he does. In his mid-to-late teens, he was diagnosed with cholesteatomas in both ears. Since he did not have chronic ear infections while growing up, the doctors said they were congenital. Since he had other difficulties at birth, this was not a surprise to us. Nathan had surgery on one ear just before he left for Cornerstone Bible Institute. Because of repeated surgeries on both ears…several on each ear, he missed his last semester of school. He is now at Cornerstone completing that year.

We were told the cholesteatomas were very bad, and each surgery came with lab work to  assure they were not cancerous. A couple times, the growth had come very close to crossing into the brain. We were told he could completely lose his hearing.

Nathan is now at Cornerstone, finishing what he began several years ago. He did not lose his hearing, but he does have implants behind each ear that help him hear. And he still plays the guitar and harmonizes beautifully. God has gifted him with these talents. He is also our electrician and carpenter when he is home…so he is greatly missed in many ways.

It was an honor for Nathan to be asked to do the video (that I will share the link to) with Luke E. Boy. https://www.facebook.com/LukeEBoyArt/

Luke is another very gifted young man that Nathan met through Cornerstone. Luke and his siblings have also attended the Bible Institute. He builds tiny houses, makes his own instruments, composes his own songs, does his own photography…and the list goes on and on. I do apologize to Luke if I missed anything! You can check out his Facebook page above. Please like it and check out his links. He has some interesting things on there.

Now here is the video of Nathan and Luke…two very talented young men. We hope to be hearing more from them in the music area! Traveling mercies to Luke as he travels across the United States once again, and shares all that he is doing with his beautiful photography, art and music. And to God be the Glory!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/NKhwc69UH9w

 

Be Thou My Vision

I am missing our children this morning. Missing the days when we all attended church together on a Sunday morning. Missing the days when we sung together, lifting our voices…usually in song! 😉

This song was one our children sung the day my husband was ordained at our church. They did a beautiful job, our son on the guitar, daughters harmonizing with him. The words were fitting for that service.

I made a copy of the song from the hymnal, and used a setting to make the paper look ‘old’. I then enlarged the words,

Be Thou My Wisdom and Thou My True Word.

Still Be My Vision, O Ruler of All. 

They are printed over the top of the music. This was hung in my husband’s office at the church, and now is where I can see it everyday, in my office at home. Seasons of our lives. I pray He is still my wisdom, my true word, my vision and Ruler of all.

This particular arrangement is also special because the woman in it is playing a Chickering piano. You don’t see very many of those. My upright is a Chickering and around 100 years old. My mother learned to play the piano on it, and she became an excellent pianist.

Have a beautiful Sunday!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihJAJA4ibEs

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Mood Music

Sometimes you need some music to set the mood. I have a PowerPoint I need to work on this week. Rather than get frustrated with my lack of knowledge where that program is concerned, I thought I would listen to some music to help ease the pain of inexperience. I found this on YouTube, and I’m pretty excited. The man’s name is Tim Janis. I had never heard of him before, which is not saying much. I don’t get out and around like I once did. If a child or a grandchild doesn’t mention it, or it doesn’t fall on my doorstep, I don’t hear about it. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much! I don’t generally watch the news, or listen to it on the radio. I don’t read a paper. Whatever I see or hear comes to me through the internet when I’m checking my e-mail or Facebook. They may not be the absolute best sources, but that’s what I do.

Tim Janis has been around for awhile. You may read about him here on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Janis. In my opinion, he sounds a bit like Enya and John Barry, kind of wrapped up together. Which is wonderful for me, because I’ve always loved their music. Out of Africa was a movie I really enjoyed, and a big part of it was the music from John Barry. (My husband thought it was wonderful music to nap to). Somewhere in Time was the first movie that I saw with his music, and I was enraptured. Our oldest daughter has the middle name of Elise because of that movie!

So no more talk, you can enjoy Tim Janis as well, right here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAFRD9hScmI

He has so many tracks you can listen to on YouTube. And they all have gorgeous photography to go along with it. I would love to just sit and watch, but that can’t happen today or I won’t get a thing done! Be sure to ‘like’ and subscribe to his channel. I don’t think you will be disappointed. And if you’re in the area, he will be performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City on December 1, 2017. He must be really good! 😉

Life Is Not Miserable

Flash mobs have always intrigued me. I think they are especially wonderful when they happen in everyday, mundane places like the local shopping mall, an airport or your library. I would love to be at my local library and have a group of people break into song! When the music is from Les Miserables, even better!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu6y1NhECGU

This world is so full of all the bad and the ugly. Our everyday life can be a struggle to just get to work, pay the bills and put food on the table. Little moments when people sing or play the piano, or any musical instrument, need to be appreciated. None of us are so busy that we can’t take a moment to appreciate the talents that God has gifted to people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q22o3uXvb8c

These videos are shared from YouTube. I’ve shared them because of my appreciation for people’s creativity and musical abilities. Please be sure to check out their YouTube channels for more great music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwN2r8Lma_8

A Concert for One

Sometimes you just have to share. This video was taken a couple of months ago now. It has taken me this long to find a way to put it on here! Can you get anymore cute?! Oh, our son did a pretty good job with the guitar and singing too! 😉

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eowI9QWsT-g&feature=youtu.be