Posts Tagged With: Music

The Sound of Heavenly Peace

holly ivyHave you ever wished you could talk with someone who has died? How do you picture something like that coming about? An ethereal mist with somewhat human form? A tangible person appearing from nowhere? Simply hearing a voice? How about just a feeling?

A couple of times my friend Kathy has “spoken” to me, but only in a kind of “I know what she’d say in this situation if she were here” sort of way. Like the first time I got a diet Cherry Coke from Sonic without her in the seat beside me. The thought came to me that she’d say, “Girl! Open the sunroof, crank the tunes and enjoy that diet Coke!”

Nah, I didn’t hear her voice at all. Just the memory of her in my head.

Then there’s the times I’ve had a conversation and said something really negative or pessimistic. “Kathy would get after me for saying that,” I think to myself.

By Wle2 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Wle2 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0]

Still, not what I’ve wanted, or hoped for or thought I needed. I’m pretty sure she said all she needed to say to me while she still lived and breathed. But this month I’m finding myself reliving and reviewing last December, since it was Kathy’s last month of this life. I can’t not do that.

So what does all that have to do with my Gratituesday today?

Kathy finally spoke to me, indirectly, but as directly as she could. Consider this quote before you read on: “If it weren’t for music, I would think that love is mortal.” ~Mark Helprin

Kathy’s husband woke in the middle of the night a month or so ago with the thought that “Kami needs to go to this Christmas concert I’m singing in.” He tried to ignore the thought and go back to sleep, but the it persisted. So he messaged me and then, a few weeks later, gifted me these tickets.

Saturday night MSH and I attended the concert. I tried not to have high expectations. It’s just a big two hundred and fifty member choir and an orchestra. Nothing professional. And I didn’t want to be disappointed by, I don’t know, Kathy not walking across the stage and waving hello to me or some such ridiculous incarnation like that.

And yet, life can surprise you.

The Christmas song Stille Nacht (ca. 1860) by Franz Xaver Gruber (1787–1863).

The Christmas song Stille Nacht (ca. 1860) by Franz Xaver Gruber (1787–1863).

The title of the concert? “Heavenly Peace.”

From the first note my heart opened up and tears dripped from my eyes like a faucet left on. Why? Because the music communicated peace right to the middle of me. I felt cradled and comforted by the harmonies. Oddly, the lyrics didn’t matter as much as the warmth that radiated through sound waves swirling around me.

Songs of delight and child-like frivolity also danced across my heart. A sweet preschool choir communicated the innocence and excitement of the holidays. A tonal poem of one word repeated drew a colored sound picture so exquisite.

By nosyme (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by nosyme (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0]

The final number, though, gave new meaning to the word breathtaking. Bagpipes and dancers, chimes, singers in the balconies, singers overflowing the stage, every single participant pouring their everything in to each note! I literally had to catch my breath multiple times to keep my emotions in check. The sheer joy of the Christmas season with generosity and fun, lights and song, focus and tradition, shot through my heart like lasers swooshing about the room. I felt lifted and renewed and saturated with incredible hope.

I felt Kathy communicating, “Feel that? That’s how I feel now! I feel relief and joy and freedom and incomprehensible love.”

I’m thankful today for music’s power to transcend ordinary communication. I’m grateful for musical artists who give with such abandon to their craft. I’m indebted to people who pay attention and respond promptly to nudges and thoughts and then follow through with generosity and love. I thank Kathy for getting through to me and showering down blessings from heaven. I’m overwhelmed with the joy of this Christmas season.

Thank you to any and all who had a part in this singularly magnificent Christmas gift.

musical notes

“Music… will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

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Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Holiday, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Not Giving Up On Us: The Middle of A Strange Love Story

Friday letter to My Kids – 11/21/14

Dear J, J, L and L,

Remember the New Mexico camping misadventure? (Okay, I suppose little L wouldn’t remember since she was still in utero then, but you’ve heard the tale.) I’ve concluded that New Mexico, from what little I recall of it, makes Arizona deserts seem like lush tropical rainforests in comparison. Remember the windblown rock covered weird ramada reservoir campground we stayed at? Remember the scrambled egg in the dirt fiasco? Well guess what? I found a photo of those very eggs.

Trying again.

Trying again.

I’m only sorry there’s no video or audio to include. The dialogue and sound effects of cursing, tears, yelling and incessant forty-mile an hour winds would add so much to the scene. The lesson I learned? Don’t use lightweight backpacking equipment when the winds exceed most speed limits. Oh. And never, ever, no never, go camping in New Mexico.

That’s the only time I remember a camp breakfast going completely south. Normally, your Dad produced cuisine worthy of kings on that tiny burner. He always managed to keep all the food warm when cooking over a fire, too. He’s got some skill on the grill!

Another talent your Dad possesses, quite frankly, probably acted as the hook that pulled me in initially. The way he could spin me around on the dance floor, ultra-klutz that I am, left me feeling graceful and dizzy. I was giddy with the high he got me on swirling, swinging, and moving that night. (If guys knew the real way to a girl’s heart was on the dance floor, really dancing, they’d be lining up to take lessons. But they’re slow to learn this one important detail.)

Each of you girls have enjoyed Dad and Daughter dates, with that same thrill of being led around a dance floor, feeling every bit like a princess. Not too many Dad’s can do that, so count yourselves extra blessed for those experiences.

Of course there was that one time he wasn’t so graceful and debonair. I came home to a story about a failed grand j’ete over the couch. That horrid bruised toe left him limping for weeks afterwards. Luckily he laughs about it now.

To look at him you’d never guess at his wry sense of humor. He loves to laugh. That’s something he’s refined over the years. I think it’s one of the good ways I influenced him. I certainly gave him plenty to laugh about. And cry about. But then, the reverse proves true as well. We make interesting music together.

Your Dad’s piano playing, I hope, holds a sweet place in your heart. Beethoven’s Fur Elise always reminds me of him since it’s a song he played often over the years. And his version of Mason Williams’ Classical Gas still lights up the house with energy and fun. Just a couple of months ago two of my favorite little people danced up a storm while your Dad rocked the piano with some fun tunes.

His love of music drew me in when we first got to know each other. I’d never met anyone who preferred classical music to rock or pop. That placed him high on my list of classy guys. Imagine my surprise when I found out he liked The Moody Blues. Once I learned more about that group and their classical beginnings I understood his selection.

One of our backpacking adventures in North Carolina, I think.

One of our backpacking adventures in North Carolina, I think.

Your Dad mellowed in some big ways over the years. A little less perfectionistic, more flexible and way more fun. I like to think I influenced him in those good ways, but I’m afraid I wasn’t always good for him. The guy I met in college never cursed, that’s for sure. But then, the guy I met wouldn’t have gone camping or rock climbing either. So I suppose it balances out some.

We’re still a major work in progress, your Dad and I.  And that’s okay. At least the work still happens. I mostly credit your Dad with the fact that we’ve stuck it out. You know that Jason Mraz song, “I Won’t Give Up”? Yup, that one. It caught me by surprise when I heard it. Why? Because it sounded like something the two of us might say to each other if we were poetic and musical. We’re an odd team sometimes, polar opposites I often think, but we keep plugging away together anyway.

He’s a good, honest, kind, generous man. I’m a lucky woman.

Here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on. Each of you started out light years ahead of us in your own marriages, which means I have high expectations of marital bliss for you and your sweethearts. I envy that in you. I know you’ll hold on tight and enjoy the ride when it’s good, just as I know that you’ll make the best of things when the road’s scary and hard.

I just wanted you to know this one thing for certain because you saw it in writing: I love your Dad.

Yup, dirty scrambled eggs and all, I love that guy.

 

With love,

Mom

*~~~*~~~*

This is a link to that Jason Mraz tune I mentioned. It’s not the studio release version, but a pre-release of the song done in the UK. Just him and a couple of backup singers and a box. Yes, a box.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturevideo/musicvideo/live-music-sessions/10938389/Jason-Mraz-performs-I-Wont-Give-Up-music-session.html

Or, you can click on this one. But I think the video gives the song a different flavor and feel. So, close your eyes and listen. How about that?

 

Categories: Family, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

They Couldn’t Carry a Tune in a Bucket

Friday Letter to My Kids –

Dear J, J, L and L,

I hesitate to bring up this particular subject. It makes me squeamish. And I tend to cringe automatically with even the thought of it.

But, if I’m going to stay honest with you in these letters I can’t put off this subject any longer. You probably already knew this but had buried it in the deep recesses of a closet somewhere.

Our family can’t sing to save our lives.

Oh, sure, individually some of us have beautiful voices, but combining them together constitutes a crime against nature.

Surely you remember “Jumbo Elephant” or “The Train Song.”

My favorite and most memorable of the songs we sang together, hands down, goes like this:

“When we’re helping we’re happy and we sing as we go,

For we like to help mother for we all love her so.

Tra la la la la la laa, Tra la la la la laa,

Tra la la la la la laa, Tra la la la la laa.” ~ Wallace F. Bennett

Dad and the four of you would sing those words with the enthusiasm of a cow giving birth to twin calves and in about the same pitch.

Even with the piano accompaniment some of us couldn’t hit the right notes. I’m not sure why that happened. Sad, though, since your Dad in particular loves good music. What we sang was not good and whether it counted as music is still up for debate. Even “Happy Birthday” sounded painful and more like a dirge than a celebratory song. Ah, well.

My selections, although I don't mind Dad's at all.

My selections, although I don’t mind Dad’s at all.

I used to get irritated by those huge families (think Osmonds, Pointer Sisters, Jackson 5, King Family, Everly Brothers, Celtic Spring and countless other local families) that performed publicly, singing or playing multiple musical instruments. I liked to envision their four a.m. wake up calls so the whole famdamily could practice for three hours before school. And then, surely, afternoons required another three or four hours of lessons and practicing. Oh sure, they smiled while they performed, but in real life, at home, I’ll bet it was sheer misery for all involved. Or not. Maybe they loved music so much and were so good at it that no sacrifice seemed too great. It could happen.

That was what I told myself at least. I suppose it made me feel better about our non-musical abilities as a family.

A bit tinny and not exactly in tune, kind of like our family.

A bit tinny and not exactly in tune, kind of like our family.

I think I also feel badly for never providing piano lessons, or singing lessons, or music lessons of any kind. We had a piano! (I blame money and my own laziness and too many moves.) I find it silly that we didn’t make music a bigger priority. Big L, you did learn to play clarinet in Junior High and went on to High School with it but then gave it up for more important and interesting things. And you taught yourself, with a few months help from Dad, how to play piano. You found success in spite of your parents being musical slackers. Good for you! And Big J, you also taught yourself a few songs and even memorized them.

We still have that ancient guitar, missing its strings, leaning on one side of the piano. And on the other side, a violin that needs serious work that no one has a clue how to play. We are a strange music loving, non-musical family.

A sampling of the Classics.

A sampling of the Classics.

You poor kids lacked exposure to most any other kind of music except Classical, movie soundtracks and easy listening (i.e. elevator music) when you were younger. How weird is that? Sure I own a few albums; Paul Simon, John Denver, Kenny Loggins and the like. But Dad’s LP collection spans the millennia from Beethoven and Bach, Holst to Haydn. He went out on a limb with Classical Gas and Moody Blues, but they had their roots in the Classics, so it made sense.

I’m glad you finally discovered the Beatles and Alternative Rock, and every other musical genre out there. I’m happy that you’ve wandered around and partaken of the musical menu and found ways to let many different kinds lift and enhance your life.

And I’m grateful that Big J, with your mega bass speaker taking up the entire trunk of your car, completely understands the importance of turning the volume down when you enter a neighborhood. Mothers everywhere thank you.

I like to think that you all have a sense of humor about music, too. It would be impossible not to after singing along with our family in six different keys at the same time.

Laughingly and lovingly yours,

Mom

"Bluebird of Happymess"

“Bluebird of Happymess”

 ~~~~~

 

“Ducks in the pond quack a happy song,

Mother hens cackle the whole day long,

Birds in their nests and wind in the treetops,

All join in singing a happy song.”

~ Music for Young Americans, Book 2, by Berg, Burns, Hooley, Pace and Wolverton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Friday Letters, Music, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Few Fab Finds and Some Fun

Found myself in serious need of ramping up my energy levels and changing the mood this past week. So I’ve tried a few different things to shake up the routine and shake off the blues.

DANCE

First, I mixed in more music with my days. The best way I know to ramp up the tunes involves that lovely free app called Pandora. I tapped on something new called Bossa Nova. Much more than the simple label Brazilian Jazz, it’s music that makes you want to dance but leaves you feeling mellow and laid back. Perfect while prepping or eating dinner. I think MSH and I need to learn some new dance steps.

ROAD TRIP

Turns out Pandora also has this thing called “Browse All Genre Stations.” It lists thirty-six genres, or types, of music you can explore. So I tapped on Road Trips. That gave me some options like Country Road TripFamily Road Trip, Road Trippin’ and Classic Commute.

So far I’ve only tried out Family Road Trip. Instantly addicted! I didn’t want to try any of the other stations because this had EVERYTHING!  Fifties to this year, Elvis to One Republic, Billy Joel to Rascal Flatt.

Can’t wait to explore the rest of the Road Trip stations. Then I plan on making my way through the other thirty-six genres and all those possibilities.

TAYLOR

Taylor Swift doesn’t fill everyone’s teacup, but I stumbled on her latest music video. What a bunch of fun! She dances and sings her way through all sorts of trends in “Shake It Off.” Mostly she’s laughing at herself, not taking things too seriously. But there are some seriously good dancers highlighted in the video. Made me want to dance, and  I laughed out loud. My favorite thirteen-year old laughed, too. That’s a good sign. Best of all it kind of makes me feel younger, which I consider a major plus!

DOG POETRY

Have you heard of Billy Collins? If you’re the kind of person who says they don’t like poetry, then you just need to spend four minutes with this video of Billy Collins in a TED talk sharing two poems (the second one is my favorite) about dogs. Yes. Dogs. Hearing his dry wit makes all the difference if you’re iffy about poetry at all.  Turns out I checked out one of his collections last week at the library without realizing who I’d stumbled on. What a great find!

TWITTERPATED

I think I might have gotten hooked. For those of you still fresh from the womb, i.e. forty years or younger, you might not recognize the term twitterpated. It’s a word that debuted in the Disney movie “Bambi.” It means infatuated or obsessed or smitten. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Twitter, the social media app.

Although, oddly, it’s how I’ve found myself feeling about Twitter recently. There’s something about “tweeting” that feels different from posting status updates. Maybe it’s the challenge of a limited number of characters. There’s a sense of immediacy on Twitter that I find fascinating as well. Whatever it is, I’m tweeting, like a newborn baby bird, uncertain of my wings and voice, but willing to learn to fly.

NOT INTERNET ADDICTED, HONEST

Lest you think all I do involves the internet, here’s evidence to the contrary.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • Thursday I danced with my favorite three-year old and favorite one-year old while MSH played the piano. We’ve all got some sweet moves. Really!
  • The desert sage burst into bloom overnight! Check out those purples in my slideshow above. And while you’re at it, take in the yellow blossoms, too. And don’t forget the neon orange Bird of Paradise that brightens the view outside one of my windows.
  • The sunrises this past week left me breathless and glad I got out of bed more than a few times.
  • Enjoyed a candlelight dinner in the cool (yes, cool) evening air outdoors with MSH, music wafting out to the patio from the stereo inside. Tasted better than any five-star restaurant. Nothing tops the view of the night sky either.
  • Did I mention the mile and a half walk home last week in a rare morning rainstorm? I’d recommend it the next time you have a chance. Ditch the umbrella, point your face towards the clouds and let the sky wash life’s dust from your shoulders.
The view just before the downpour.

The view just before the downpour.

Hoping for more rain later today and tomorrow. Either way, dancing’s gonna happen because I’ve got my new tunes on.

~~~~~

Have you found anything new and fun that adds energy to your day?

Categories: Fun, Music, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Warming Up and Getting In Tune

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for music of the season.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re thinking, that sounds typical.  Except it isn’t exactly.

Mr Grinch

Mr Grinch (Photo credit: Candie_N (Welcome Fall))

During November I grinched around town. Every store I entered that already had Christmas tunes playing aggravated something in me. I’d secretly vow not to shop there during December since they ignored my personal unwritten rule that Christmas is a December thing. When I couldn’t find an Autumn or Thanksgiving themed wreath two days after Halloween, I swore off another couple stores. Everywhere I went Christmas assaulted me. Cinnamon scented pinecones here, exhortations to buy early and buy often there, and red and green glitter everywhere like a crime scene gone bad.

So on Sunday morning I’m listening to some music online and a Christmas song comes on and immediately my hackles go up, (picture a cat hissing, back arched, teeth bared.) Dang Christmas music, I’m thinking. Can’t they wait until December? Then it’s like I’m hit up side of the head with a baseball bat. Duh! It is December. It’s December 1st.  Helloooooo? Now I can enjoy Christmas music and do all the Christmasy things and enjoy the season.

But I’d curmudgeoned my way through November and couldn’t quite shake off the grouchiness even with it being December.

Bah!

photo-18 copy 26But then, last night, I attended a benefit concert put on by The Red Note Foundation in honor of a wonderful young bassoonist, Kristin Hooker, who lost her life when she was barely twenty years old.  Her love for music and her belief in its ability to change lives resonated throughout the concert. And just like the Grinch, I felt the ice around my grouchy heart begin to thaw and noticed it starting to beat again. In fact, it might have grown a bit in the process of listening to such a gift presented in voice and orchestra.

The Christmas season began for me last night thanks to those heartfelt, sacred soaring melodies.

Secular or silly, sappy or sacred, A cappella or orchestrated, modified lyrics or ancient rhymes, I love it all! The songs of the holidays rate high on my happy list, something I had forgotten, apparently. Now that my internal strings are in tune I’ll enjoy all of it with gusto.

Greenery

Greenery (Photo credit: Sharon Drummond)

Come what may, shopping frenzied crazed drivers, baking disasters, piles of unsent Christmas cards, Christmas trees that topple over, strands of lights that only halfway work, or picture perfect scenes of family bliss gone awry. No matter. I have Christmas beating right here in time with the music in my heart.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Music | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Like Nobody’s Watching

 

Feeling a bit sluggish I click on over to Pandora for some tunes to rev the old engine.

 

Serendipity does one of those “ah ha” kind of things. Kenny Loggins starts playing “Footloose.” Exactly. Yes, exactly what my body, brain and feet needed to kick start my day.

 

Dancing Feet

Dancing Feet (Photo credit: JPott)

 

Power resides in certain arrangements of notes, rhythm, timing, lyrics, beat, and style. Power to lift. Power to lull. Power to move and change and motivate.

 

Why should I be surprised when a song changes my mood? It happens over and over and over.

 

Yesterday on the road I cranked on the radio, it’s crackly speakers rattling with the shimmy, buzz, hum and squeak of my old truck. Three Dog Night started in with ‘Joy to the World.” Y’know, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog…da da daaa!” Happy crowded into the cab of the truck and road along, tapping its feet to the beat. Man, we were rocking it. “Joy to the world, All the boys and girls now, Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea and Joy to you and me.”

 

Moments like that can carry you through some crazy times.

 

I can’t get through a month without a bit of Santana’s “Smooth.” I also love moving it to “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller. And who can leave out Counting Crows “Accidentlly in Love.” And the Beatles “Twist and Shout.” And of course, “Boogie Shoes” by KC and the Sunshine Band. And the quintessential  disco album from the movie “Saturday Night Fever” especially “Stayin’ Alive.

 

Gotta admit here that I’m a kitchen dancer. Yes, me. I can bust a move, boogie, disco and cut a rug like a pro, at least when no one’s around.

 

 “Dance like nobody’s watching.”

 

It does something for your mind and your heart and I’m not talking cardio, either.

 

spatula

spatula aka a microphone if you need one on the fly (Photo credit: jmcunnin2000)

 

Maybe you’re not a secret dancer, maybe you’re a spatula-microphone or toothbrush-microphone kinda person. If so then James Taylor is your man, with “How Sweet it is to be Loved By You.” You too can be a star when you ramp up your day with a few sweet songs. Try listening to the kicky tune by Dave Barnes “Little Lies.” Or “Clouds” by Zach Sobiech, there’s an upbeat song. Kat Edmonson has a sweet one called “Lucky” that’ll get your toes tapping.

 

Looking for something different? Try Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Love Changes Everything,” or “Simple Gifts” by Aaron Copeland. And who doesn’t love Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wondeful World.”

 

Music makes a huge difference in my life from Sunday to Saturday. I need more of it, more often! So I’m building a new playlist titled:  Feel Like Dancing.

 

I’m open to any suggestions ya’ll wanna throw my way. Current stuff, oldies…I’m open minded and ready to dance.

 

Categories: Happiness, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wisdom from Tiny Bird Triplets

Like sunlight opening up an entirely different view, a new twist on an old thing can cast light where there was shadow.

I found that happening when I stumbled on this cover of a Bob Marley song on Pandora.

Bob Marley? Yup. Bob Marley.

If you have to ask “who’s that” then click here.

This particular recording of the song he wrote, Three Little Birds, gets new life through the voice of Elizabeth Mitchell and her sweet little daughter. The female vocals, the lighter quality of the accompaniment, in fact, the entire feel of this cover tastes, smells, looks and sounds different from Marley’s version.

I’ve listened to both. Both versions play well, but, sorry to tell you, I prefer the newer version. It feels light-hearted and freeing without a sense of a background agenda. It just seems happier.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to both and tell me what you think and why.

Either way, you’ve heard a great tune you can add to your playlist, or that lightened up your day. Enjoy. I know I did.

Woke up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Sat on my doorstep
Singin’ a sweet song
A melody pure and true,
Singing: “This is my message to you-ou-ou.”

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Woke up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Sat by my doorstep
Singing a sweet song
A melody pure and true,
Singing: “This is my message to you-ou-ou.”

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Woke up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Sat by my doorstep
Singing a sweet song
A melody pure and true,
Singing: “This is my message to you-ou-ou.”

 

Categories: Happiness, Music | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

An Ode to Joy

How many times have you sung along to a song, not completely certain of the lyrics?  A few hundred at least? Yeah, me too. When you do find out the actual lyrics it sometimes changes how you feel about the song. Or it just makes the song make more sense.

Three and a half weeks after those first ominous days of uncertainty after her stroke, I watched my Mom sit down at a grand piano in a quiet wing of the hospital cafeteria. Her occupational therapist sat nearby as she put both hands on the black and white keys and played a simplified version of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

Surely orchestrated by some angel in charge of perfectly timed moments, for me that brief experience felt like serendipity!  That song played within an hour of arriving at the hospital, captured my emotions at finally, blessedly being with Mom after so many weeks of enduring the tug and pull of needing to be in her physical presence.

Page 12 (right) of Ludwig van Beethoven's orig...

Page 12 (right) of Ludwig van Beethoven’s original Ninth Symphony manuscript. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every time I’ve heard “Ode to Joy,” especially the final movement when the chorus joins the symphony and raises the roof with Schiller’s German poem put to music, my heart has soared.

Imagine how my heart felt then, hearing my Mother, a pianist all her life, play the piano again, albeit, hesitantly. Relief, at her ability to read music and have it translate from eye to brain to hand to ivory, flooded through me. Surely as more healing takes place, as more therapy trains and retrains synapses and connections, she’ll be able to sit down and enjoy playing the piano with ease and confidence again.

I’ve never known the translation of the German lyrics. I only knew that my head and heart responded to the music with a sense of exultation and energy.

Surely, I thought, as I watched Mom struggle through some other simplified piano music, the lyrics to “Ode to Joy” must be very powerful to lend themselves so strongly to the impact of the music.  Of course, I looked up the translation and wasn’t surprised.

Sorry to say it wasn’t a poem about the joy of a mother and daughter reunited. But it’s not far off. It’s a song of brotherhood, of relationships, of the joy that can occur because of those connections.

Honestly, the whole of humankind is a family. The potential for joy astounds when looked at that way. But of course, we personalize and take things in small bites. We learn how to interact in family groups and then let that translate out into the world.

That’s just my take on the music and lyrics.

But don’t take my word for it. I’ve included the English translation below.  And I also want you to be able to feel the joy in this music, so, of course, I’ve included a phenomenal flashmob link for you to click on. I recommend having tissues nearby.

Now that I know what the lyrics are, it changes how I feel about the music. From here on out it will remind me of my mother, of my family, of those most important of connections. Those permanent bonds of love and caring bring more joy than anything I know.

Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary.
Thy magic power re-unites
All that custom has divided,
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.

Whoever has created
An abiding friendship,
Or has won
A true and loving wife,
All who can call at least one soul theirs,
Join in our song of praise ;
But any who cannot must creep tearfully
Away from our circle.

All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift ;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can fell contentment,
And the cherub stands before God !

Gladly, like the heavenly bodies
Which He set on their courses
Through the splendour of the firmament ;
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
As a hero going to conquest.

You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world !
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions ?
World, do you know your Creator ?
Seek Him in the heavens !
Above the stars must He dwell.

Categories: Hope, Joy, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Will Do It For You

Recently discovered this song by Phillip Phillips.

Still resonating in my head and in my heart. I think it hits home, plucks those chords running through who I am. It reminds me of all the people I love so dearly. It recalls the love I’ve received so selflessly over the years in spite of it all.

The video adds another dimension of meaning and beauty.  I’ve included the lyrics afterwards so you can really catch the meat of it all.

Thanks to such wonderful artists who had a hand in this one. It’s all you, I’m just happy to share the splendor of what you do.

Phillip Phillips Gone, Gone, Gone is a track from his début album “The World from the Side of the Moon”.

When life leaves you high and dry
I’ll be at your door tonight if you need help, if you need help
I’ll shut down the city lights,
I’ll lie, cheat, I’ll beg and bribe to make you well, to make you well
When enemies are at your door I’ll carry you way from more
If you need help, if you need help
Your hope dangling by a string
I’ll share in your suffering to make you well, to make you well

Give me reasons to believe that you would do the same for me

And I would do it for you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone
And long after you’re gone gone gone

When you fall like a statue
I’m gon’ be there to catch you
Put you on your feet, you on your feet
And if your heart is empty
Not a thing will prevent me
Tell me what you need, what do you need

I surrender honestly
You’ve always done the same for me

And I would do it for you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone
And long after you’re gone gone gone

You’re my back bone, you’re me cornerstone
You’re my crutch when my legs stop moving
You’re my headstart, you’re my rugged heart
You’re the pokes that I’ve always needed
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum my heart never stops beating

For you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long, long after you’re gone

Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum my heart never stops beating for you
And long after you’re gone gone gone
I love you long after you’re gone gone gone

 

Categories: Love, Music | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Needing the Power of Words

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am thankful for the power of words. That may sound silly until you think about words in varying contexts.

Prayer

(Photo credit: mojoey)

For instance, the power of words spoken in a prayer. I’m not thinking about rote prayers, repeated utterances we make with little thought. The words I’m thinking about pour out of a place deeper than a person’s mouth. Words birthed in loss and heartache and heaviness. Words searching for a foothold. Words struggling for sense in a senseless situation. Those words carry power and heft and potential healing.

Sometimes the mere act of placing words into the heavens is all it takes to see things clearer, to feel enabled to keep going forward. Sometimes a need requires action words added to the spoken ones. Sometimes answers arrive in unexpected packages. Sometimes answers seem elusive. But the power of the words remains unchanged.

what are word for?

what are word for? (Photo credit: Darwin Bell)

Power rides on the words we speak or withhold. Expressions of love carry a potent, almost magical strength that binds and seals. Failure to let words work such charms can leave a vast emptiness that a lifetime may never fill.

Words accompanied by music make up life’s most power-filled elixirs. Nothing else prompts action, conveys emotion, shares thoughts as well as music with words. Better than a prescription, well-chosen words combined with a perfect tune can make a gray day brighten.  Carefully placed words in a melody that touches the heartstrings can open doors long shut with hinges rusted over.

I haven’t even touched on the incomparable time-traveling properties of words, or the artistic nuances available in poetry and prose. And laughter? What elicits a laugh easier than a few just-so words? Words offer condolence. Words may lift an aching heart. Words connect, intertwine, link and hold fast.

Such powers that words possess will lift and heal and hold me today. And everyday.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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