Category Archives: Hymns

Greensleeves ~ What Child is This?


Yeah…. Justin is the first one to comment about my new music!

Just for the record, this is an old melody, maybe goes back to medieval times, the name, “Greensleeves” The lyrics are here.

Then somebody wrote a beautifully written Christmas Carol, set it to this music, and called it, “What Child is This?”
The lyrics are here.

Oh wow… forgot to mention that this is one of my most favorites to play on the guitar…. I can go on and on with it. It’s when I get into those zones that my creativity comes out.

And The Music Speaks!


I’ve always loved this song. I am adding music to my site! yippee!

This selection is Canon and Gigue in D Major. It’s a wedding song and also the same melody for a church melody we sing to “Al-le-lu-ia” and we just keep singing it. This melody is so peaceful to me. I know that I have some chanting music that is done to it… Ah, yes, one of my chanting CDs, the Benedictine Monks…. so, so beautiful.

Okay, nuff done, now I can get to bed!

So coooooooool !

Of Blessings


Life Blessing

Let me preface by advising that all quotations in this post are in italics, unless otherwise stated, and taken from an article in the Liguorian, a Catholic magazine we subscribe to, entitled “Discovering the Blessings of Kindness”, written by Patricia H. Livingston. I feel that I must say that if I attempted to write on this subject after reading this article, I would have used much the same wording as she, so I thought it better to just quote her. My own thoughts will be in plain old regular text. I apologize ahead of time if this becomes confused, but I will do my best to keep my words separate from her words.

“The Jewish concept of blessing, the b’rahah, is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving, blessing God for giving us any of countless gifts or moments in our lives.”~ “Discovering the Blessings of Kindness”

I felt moved to take numerous quotes from this article because they express what I wish that I could. My opinions and feelings are reflected through them. Sure we can be charitable by donating a gift to the poor, whether it be money or clothing or food. Most of us will do so in anonymity, and there is a good in that because it does not draw attention to our acts of kindness, our egos are not encouraged to get a big head. The reason a lot of us move in this way, however, is specifically so that they do not have to come into contact with a person in need, for whatever reason. It seems to be a giving, when, where and how, of convenience and not necessarily where the true need is. I will not attempt to analyze this now because it will draw me away from what I intend to write about, which is the blessing that comes when we DO interact with people.

In my own opinion, I’ve always felt that the act was incomplete unless I could see the person on the receiving end; to see their face light up, receive acknowledgement. In addition, I’ve always felt that this was very self-centered of me to think and very ego-based. I always felt that I needed to actively work against satisfying myself of this need. Then I read this article and gained new insight. A bit of background on this is that this speaker is the sister of the author and was diagnosed with serious illness.

“I get a break from my preoccupation with the endless road of suffering ahead when I am doing something loving for someone else, someone who needs my help. It has to be in person. And they have to want it; they need to respond somehow so that I can see it matters to them…… Unappreciated efforts to little for my angst! Something has to pass between us, be given and received. Their receiving is as important as the gift…. I guess what I am saying is that what helps me is knowing that I can still be a blessing to someone else.”

I found this profound and identified with it right way. I suddenly felt that maybe it was not selfish of me to desire to see the results of my actions. Just maybe it was not my own ego desiring praise that was motivating my actions. I have since trained myself to think to what my thoughts were, what my motivation was before I did some good deed. I dwell on that because at some point, I will look back with pride and I feel that this pride is damning thing and contaminates whatever good was done. Now, I feel that the greater thing is the blessing created from the personal interaction with another. Read on:

“The capacity to bless life is in everybody. The power of our blessing is not diminished by illness or age. On the contrary, our blessings become even more powerful as we grow older. They have survived the buffeting of our experience….A blessing is not something that one person gives another. A blessing is a moment of meeting, a certain kind of relationship in which both people involved remember and acknowledge their true nature and worth, and strengthen what is whole in one another….. I think this mutuality of blessing, of helping one another to live, is enormously important…. The receiving is as important as the giving. We strengthen one another in the exchange.”

This seems right. A blessing is not to be just one sided; both parties, the giver and the receiver, contribute to it’s manifestation. I have had experiences that confirm this dynamic of blessing since I first began to understand it. I have a friend from church who is poor and she wanted to learn how to knit and crochet. She is slow to pick up the techniques, but she is optimistic and persistent. To be truthful, when I first learned how to knit, I gave up on it because of my impatience with myself; but she is wonderful. I told her that I have plenty of extra yarn, needles and hooks she could use, or even keep if she wants; but I thought it would be better that she used my tools until she knew which sizes she best liked to work with before she went out and bought them.

Anyway, she learned how to make chains first with the crochet hook; but she stuck with that and doesn’t seem interested in learning the actual crochet stitches to make things. She is content to make seriously long chains. That first day, I sent her home to practice. The next time she came over, she had long chain necklaces for my son to play with. I didn’t tell her that it might be dangerous for him to play with them; and accepted them with awe because I never expected her zeal for giving back in her own way. The next time, she brought beautiful little mats that I could put on my couch. They were made with chains and sewn together in a spiral. I consider her to be very creative because on her own she combined multiple strands of yarn and had the idea to sew them together for mats, or if bigger, rugs. It gave me much joy to witness this happening between us… and to RECEIVE gifts of two mats from her learning hands.

“It might seem like such a little thing, but I believe that it was a blessing being exchanged. Her receiving is as significant to me as the giving was to her“; and visa versa. I realized, as the author of this article did, what a very important point this is.

“We can be ashamed of our need to receive. Yet the receiving is just as important. The blessing happens. We need the kindness.” I can relate to this, too, because I was the one ashamed of being financially needy after my divorce.

“This is sacred truth: We bless one another when we meet in kindness. In those moments we are one with the primal energy of God’s outpouring of life and love…. This realization has helped me understand our part in God’s blessing… God is constantly offering abundant blessing, but our receiving, our appreciation, and our gratitude in response are a necessary part of what makes the blessing fully happen.

“Each time we notice, each time we pause and say thank you, each time we savor a gift and remember it, we deepen the sacred moment, we increase the kindness in the world… When we meet in blessing ‘the light of the world is strengthened, around us and in us’.”

And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God’s eyes
God’s hands
God’s mind

~ “Hands”, Jewel ~ Only Kindness Matters

Praise Through Music


Chant Page……Thought I’d better write something, so just got Little Drake off to nap and I’ll write a little about last Sunday, when I was the cantor(ess?) for the mass. Serving the Lord through music, ah, for lack of better words, and time to think of them; serving Him through music brings me much joy. I have always felt it right, for me, that prayer and praise should be more of a “feeling” experience than a “wordy” one, though I am aware that the spoken word has power. For me, praising the Lord, even praying to Him, doesn’t come easily to me with words. I stand before Him and I am revealed. He knows already what I need, what my soul needs; all I need to do is trust. Through music my heart flows to Him, bringing everything of me, seen and unseen, my heart’s desire and all the waves of emotion inside me that can fill all the oceans of the earth.

I believe that God knows our thoughts, our desires, even before we do. Words of prayer do not resonate with me, but something flows through me when I am singing or just listening to music, especially the chants. It lifts my spirit, it does; and I believe that it’s a form or communication. The heart is revealed in music, whether happy, sad, angry, triumphant, in love or yearning for love. Everything is revealed in music. Lyrics are good, and I do require the lyrics to be of quality, along with the music before I will say that I like it. A song must stir me heart, mind, body and soul. When I sing or listen to music, I feel as if my body and spirit are lifted up, sliding along the threads of the song… the music carries me. All the better if there are no lyrics. I love Celtic music, pipes, rain sticks, chants, drums… Mickey Hart’s “Planet Drums”… oh man!

Last week was my once-a-year chance to sing the psalm. Very exciting and I got so very nervous though I have sung before in front of the very same people. Solo parts… this is when people get to see whether I actually have a voice that can stand by itself…. ugh… Though I know that this is a service to my God that I perform with love, you cannot be a public singer without your ego getting in there somewhere, at some point. Anyway, I practiced and practiced with the music director… who told me that the introduction will be the whole response part, and then I start. Another thing is that I had to remember where to take deeper breaths than normal to reach the high notes. Well, sadly to say, the pianist flubbed the introduction and that made me even more nervous… and well, that set the tone of the whole thing for me. I relaxed myself and continued… then I forgot to take the deep breaths and, though I made the notes, they cracked. Oh well, I acknowledge that I am not a trained vocalist AND, most importantly, my service was to the Lord. I believe that however it was delivered, the Lord accepts it with the love that it is intended. Plus, the music director makes us sing higher than our natural voices to get that church-feel!

If anyone is interested, our psalm was “Save Us O Lord” and that link is to the lyrics on a prior post of mine. I have not tried out the sonic song site yet… if anyone has, please let me know how they like it and how to get started… Thanks!

Save Us, O Lord


Save Us, O Lord
by: Bob Dufford

Refrain:

Save us, O Lord; carry us back.
Rouse your power and come.
Rescue your people; show us your face.
Bring us back.

1. O Shepherd of Israel, hear us. Return and we shall be saved.
Arise, O Lord; hear our cries, O Lord: bring us back!

2. How long will you hide from your people?
We long to see your face. Give ear to us.
Draw near to us, Lord God of hosts!

3. Turn again; care for your vine;
protect what your right hand has planted.
Your vineyards are trampled, uprooted, and burned.
Come to us, Father of might!

This is a hymn but sometimes our music director uses them for the psalms. Psalms are prayers spoken or sung between the first and second readings from scriptures. This Advent, I will be singing the psalm for at least one of the weeks. I feel so blessed with this gift of voice that God has given me. The midi audio for this song is here.

I have always loved music, and naturally singing, since I was a kid. People will tell you, however, that I had a horrible voice… of course I disagreed! Through the years, I’ve been allowed to develop it, by the will of God. By His will also, and through the Drake, I came to the choir here, in Elizabeth, NJ, at Immaculate Conception Church. My voice has really come a long way as far as range. When I was a teenager, I sung almost only Barry Manilow tunes… which you know is of a very low key/note/whatever. My voice, then, adapted and I could not sing high. I could sing some Barbara Streisand and maybe Celine Dion, but my voice could never hit the high notes. I was also singing Meatloaf and other male oriented rock songs which gave me strength, though, I did not know how to use it and usually ruined my voice on Bat Out of Hell. My mother also had a very loud speaking voice and I know for a fact that I inherited that.

Since being here in the choir, however, I have been forced to sing higher and higher because the music director/organist refused to play lower for me. Ugh… but you know, I can now sing higher than when I started. When I am singing in church, my heart is filled with such joy…. Joy that I am allowed to create something beautiful. I believe that God gives me “the voice” each and every time I need it. I mean, it’s very different singing in church than singing along with the radio or CD. Thankfully, I get more and more comfortable singing in front of the congregation each time I do it. Still can’t reach some of those high notes, but the journey is filled with pleasure for me and I hope, God. It doesn’t always go smoothly, but I believe that God’s hand steers me and if I mess up, it’s for a reason. Maybe to show the kids in the CCD class that, hey, we’re all human and Jesus wants to hear us sing, just as we are….. so let ‘er rip!

The Cry of the Poor


Refrain
The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Blessed be the Lord.

Verses
1. I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the Lord,
who will hear the cry of the poor.

2. Let the lowly hear and be glad,
the Lord listens to their pleas;
and to hearts broken God is near,
who will hear the cry of the poor.

3. Ev’ry spirit crushed, God will save;
will be ransom for their lives;
will be safe shelter for their fears,
and will hear the cry of the poor.

4. We proclaim your greatness, oh God,
your praise ever in our mouth;
every face brightened in your light,
for you hear the cry of the poor.

Here is a link to the melody if not the verbal words, but the sound is very beautiful.  I’ve always loved this hymn.  Had choir practice tonight, and this song is coming up this weekend. I am so happy! I am hoping that I will be chosen to lead it because there is nothing like doing this leading when a song oozes out of your being. What I mean by leading, is just standing up at the podium and announcing the title and number of the song, then lifting your hand up high to signal everyone to sing…. but it’s not a solo or anything… everyone sings. During Advent, I will be doing some of the psalms which will mean singing by myself for part of it… kind of scary, but the more practice I do, the more confident I will become.

This hymn has a kind of wailing to it. I am not musical enough to say, but I think the music is in the flats (b)… but very emotional sounding. I don’t have the hymn book in front of me right now to check, but I am pretty sure of it. Nope, wrong again. Just checked and this hymn is in sharps (#). Still very beautiful. I love to sing slower than our music director likes to play…. ugh. Singing slower allows you to hold the notes longer… AND… give more time for recovery if you lose your place! Little trick there.

Musically, I used to play the acoustic guitar… again, love the tones, melody. I officially labeled myself a rhythm guitarist because I played chords… mainly because learning melody, which means learning exactly where the notes are, which means having to KNOW what notes actually are, was just too hard much for me to learn. Still, I loved playing chords, too. Gabriel’s arrival pretty much put the kabbash on the guitar, but when he gets a bit older, I’ll whip it out so he will think his mom is cool.

The Key of Life


Last Easter

This picture got put here sort of at the last minute… and believe it or not, was taken with a camera phone! This is our Church, Immaculate Conception Church in Elizabeth, NJ. See our choir area on the left, with two of our choir members talking. This was taken last Easter. I love the effect that the inferiority of my phone created of the cross at the top.

Got this quote from the GUD site. I just had to scoop it up and put it here, as well.

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. ”

~ Albert Einstein

This is the stuff of who we are. Jesus is in us, we are in him, get it? We must strip away all the earthly things and seek the Father.

Romans 12:4-5

“For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

As always, I feel a hymn coming on….. So simple, so beautiful
One Bread One Body

Refrain:

One bread one body; one Lord of all; one cup of blessing which we bless.

And we, though many throughout the earth; we are one body in this one Lord.

1. Gentile or Jew, servant or free, woman or man……… no more.

2. Many the gifts, many the works, one in the Lord of all.

3. Grain for the fields, scattered and grown, gathered for one, for all.

I really enjoy being in the choir. I tell ya, I’ve always been a ROCKER from the ’70’s on… and I still enjoy those songs and singing those songs. Heart, Meat Loaf, Eagles, Styx, Def Leopard, Led Zep, ELO… all those guys. But you know, I feel so at home singing church songs and I’m not ashamed to say that for everyone to see. The music, the sound of the music, just resonates all through me…. very emotional songs, whether it be Gospel or more traditional, like Amazing Grace or The Saints Come Marching In. Take the time to really listen some time.

I’ll tell you something else. It wasn’t until I started singing church songs (hymns) that my voice really got strong enough to handle those rough, raunchy “ROCK” songs, especially through practicing the slow, high ones.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH!……………………………. 😀

Amen!

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