SILENT NIGHT

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So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.  – Luke 2:4-7

Most of us grew up singing this Christmas carol.  It’s like saying the pledge of allegiance or reciting Scripture we’ve learned by heart.  The lyrics just roll off the tongue with little or no thought.  Today I want to make you think about the words of this old carol.  Why was “Silent Night” written?  Why not “Bright Night” – although early in the song it’s mentioned that all is calm and all is…  bright.

On Christmas Eve, 1818, “Stille Nacht!  Heilige Nacht” was heard for the first time in a village church in Oberndorf, Austria.  The voices of the assistant pastor, Father Joseph Mohr, and the choir director Franz Xaver Gruber, rang through the church accompanied by Father Mohr’s guitar.  All the congregation at that Midnight Mass in St. Nicholas Church listened intently.

On all six verses, the choir repeated the last two lines in four-part harmony.  A carol was launched that would soar into the hearts of folks throughout the world.  It’s been translated into hundreds of languages and is sung by untold millions every Christmas from small chapels to great cathedrals around the world.

Keep in mind that this simple tune was written to be played on a guitar.  The effect is so profound because of its simplicity.  It’s as though as lullaby is being sung – and what better accompaniment than a guitar?quiet-time-prayer

Often our Lord speaks to the human heart in a whisper.  Why are we so surprised when it is the soft and simple song that penetrates a hard heart?  Christmas softens most hearts by its very nature because what’s more precious than a baby?  Of course, Christ was not just any child, but He did enter into our world in the same way we as humans do.  It’s the first small bit of common ground He established in order to become a part of humanity.

When I think of what He left behind to begin His mission, I’m so very thankful He decided to follow through…  from cradle to glorious resurrection – for even me.

Take a look at Lucinda’s cute poem about that silent night.

my-christmas-storyIsn’t that cute???  🙂

 

 

 

WE LOVE ELVIS

TL 5-25 WE LOVE ELVISThings are popping in Memphis, Tennessee at Graceland!  August 8-16 is ELVIS WEEK!  There will be all sorts of events and special stuff happening.  For a full schedule and more details, click this link:

https://www.graceland.com/elvisweek/

I’ve been to Graceland and it’s such a memorable experience.  I wasn’t there for Elvis week, but I think it’d be great to be there.  The next best thing would be to hop on this link and do the live stream – yeah!  That’s my plan.

I like the idea of having the children’s karaoke – kids 17 and under are invited to sing their favorite Elvis song.  It’s weird to think that anyone doesn’t know who he was, I mean – the generation right after mine was clueless about Elvis (and most things political – but I digress…) Isn’t it a great idea to keep Elvis alive, so to speak – keep his music alive by having the little ones sing it?  That’s brilliant.

Does anyone else appreciate the “human” side of the legend?  I mean, sometimes we build up a legend until they seem almost more than just human.  I found this quote and thought I’d share it – just to remind us that while yes, Elvis is a legend – he actually was, in reality, very human.

When one of Lisa’s baby teeth fell out here, the tooth fairy left her 50 cents. Another tooth fell out when she was with her father in Las Vegas, and that tooth fairy left her $5. When I told Elvis that 50 cents would be more in line, he laughed. He knew I was not criticizing him; how would Elvis Presley know the going rate for a tooth?  – Priscilla Presley

As you know, my favorite Elvis impersonator is John Coyote.  He’s done some of my favorite Elvis songs and some funny skits.  I hope you enjoy these.

That made me hungry for shrimp…  LOL.

That made me thirsty for…  water – a glass of WATER.  LOL – you thought you caught me, didn’t ‘cha?

Enjoy ELVIS WEEK…  uh huh huh…  uh huh huh!  🙂

 

 

 

 

WE LOVE ELVIS

TL 5-25 WE LOVE ELVIS

Elvis_Presley_Signature

What’s our friend John been up to???  Let’s find out!

Elvis was a phenomena and a trend setter.  Before we heard his music, there was no Rockabilly.  He advanced all genres of music so much.  I enjoyed his gospel music – I know that surprises you!  But when I read about the music that influenced him the most…  guess what it said?

Presley’s earliest musical influence came from gospel. His mother recalled that from the age of two, at the Assembly of God church in Tupelo attended by the family, “he would slide down off my lap, run into the aisle and scramble up to the platform. There he would stand looking at the choir and trying to sing with them.”  In Memphis, Presley frequently attended all-night gospel singings at the Ellis Auditorium, where groups such as the Statesmen Quartet led the music in a style that, Guralnick suggests, sowed the seeds of Presley’s future stage act:

The Statesmen were an electric combination … featuring some of the most thrillingly emotive singing and daringly unconventional showmanship in the entertainment world … dressed in suits that might have come out of the window of Lansky’s. … Bass singer Jim Wetherington, known universally as the Big Chief, maintained a steady bottom, ceaselessly jiggling first his left leg, then his right, with the material of the pants leg ballooning out and shimmering. “He went about as far as you could go in gospel music,” said Jake Hess. “The women would jump up, just like they do for the pop shows.” Preachers frequently objected to the lewd movements … but audiences reacted with screams and swoons.

As a teenager, Presley’s musical interests were wide-ranging, and he was deeply informed about African-American musical idioms as well as white ones. Though he never had any formal training, he was blessed with a remarkable memory, and his musical knowledge was already considerable by the time he made his first professional recordings in 1954 at the age of 19. When Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller met him two years later, they were astonished at his encyclopedic understanding of the blues.  At a press conference the following year, he proudly declared, “I know practically every religious song that’s ever been written.”

Elvis_How_Great_Thou_art

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7336391

HOW GREAT THOU ART is the song that sends chills up and down my spine.  I heard that before he recorded it, he had never heard the hymn.  He did his own arrangement with no frame of reference.  To me, that takes some intestinal fortitude and confidence in your ability to arrange and perform.  He had such a great talent!

On my video called “The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley”, they said that when Elvis took a break, he and his backup singers ended up around the piano, Elvis playing – and they sang gospel songs.  I believe that is the music he loved deep down inside.  It’s the only music that had real meaning.

Amen!  HOW GREAT THOU ART!  Have a wonderful day in the LORD!  🙂

 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY 7 2

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To this day, Elvis Presley is probably the most iconic figure in American music history.  From his truck driver hair style to his blue suede shoes, he took America by storm in 1954 and remained popular until his untimely death in 1977.

Every generation enjoyed his music.  Older people liked him because of his southern charm and good manners.  The fact that he recorded 4 gospel LP’s during his lifetime endeared him to the more conservative folks as well.  Younger people liked him because he seemed to understand them.  There was a little bit of rebel there that made us dig him.  His music had an appeal that spanned generations.

There’s not a baby boomer that does not have a favorite “Elvis” song.  Mine is “Don’t Be Cruel” and I’ll tell you why…

There’s a line in the song that says, “Then you’ll know you have me, and I’ll know then that I have you.”  Well, here’s how I sang it – “Then you’ll know you have me, and I’ll know LINDA I’ll have you.”

Hey – that’s what it sounded like he was saying!  It sounded like he was singing to ME!  How dreamy is that?

That great song was recorded on this day in 1956!  He also recorded “Hound Dog” on this day.  Both songs were hits – but by 1956, that came as no surprise to anyone.  There was just something about Elvis – he was driven when it came to music.

Over his two-decade career, Elvis recorded over 700 songs for the RCA label.  It’s thought, however, that there were other songs that never got recorded – which means that he probably knew and performed almost 1,000 songs!

I’ve been in a recording studio twice and recorded about 20 songs.  It was challenging to remember the chord progressions and lyrics to them.  I can’t even imagine what it takes to file 1,000 songs away in your mind.  I believe that’s just how much music meant to him.  There are some people who eat, drink and live music.  Elvis is definitely in that category.   There are Elvis impersonators on every corner, but there will only be one Elvis.  🙂

 

 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (11)

South Pacific

On this day in 1958, the soundtrack album for the musical, “South Pacific” hit #1 and stayed there for 31 weeks!

The production won ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Libretto, and it is the only musical production to win Tony Awards in all four acting categories. Its original cast album was the bestselling record of the 1940s, and other recordings of the show have also been popular. The show has enjoyed many successful revivals and tours, spawning a 1958 film and television adaptations.

There are a few things that put me in a better mood automatically.  Of course, my faith is at the top of the list, but running a close second is my love of show tunes!  I not only own the DVD of the movie, but I also have the soundtrack and the (well used) music book!

What is your favorite song from “South Pacific”?  Mine is “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair”. 

Does your family sing along when you’re watching musicals?  That was something my parents encouraged as I grew up – and to this day I sing along!

The story for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” is drawn from a Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel by James A. Michener called “Tales of the South Pacific”, which dealt largely with the issue of racism.

Some of the wonderful songs on the soundtrack include:

  • SOME ENCHANTED EVENING
  • I’M GONNA WASH THAT MAN RIGHT OUTTA MY HAIR
  • HAPPY TALK
  • BALI HA’I
  • YOUNGER THAN SPRINGTIME
  • I’M IN LOVE WITH A WONDERFUL GUY

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The musical opens on a South Pacific island, during World War II, where a naïve young Navy nurse from Arkansas becomes romantically involved with Emile de Becque, a French plantation owner. In spite of the dangers of the ongoing war, Nellie sings to Emile that she is “A Cockeyed Optimist.” And in “Some Enchanted Evening,” Emile recalls fondly their first meeting at an officer’s club dinner. At the same time, the American sailors are growing restless and bored without and combat to keep them active or women to entertain them in their downtime (“There is Nothin’ Like a Dame”). One sailor, Luther Billis, hatches a plan to travel to Bali Ha’i, a nearby island where the French plantation owners are believed to have hidden their women. Meanwhile, a U.S. marine, Lieutenant Joe Cable, arrives on the island undercover on a dangerous spy mission crucial to the outcome of the war. A middle-aged grass skirt seller nicknamed “Bloody Mary,” one of the few women on the island, takes an immediate interest in Cable.

Nellie, on the other hand, has been reconsidering her relationship with Emile and decides to break up with him (“I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair”). However, when she bumps in to him unexpectedly, she realizes she can’t dump him because she’s in love with him. Accepting an invitation to meet all of his friends and associates, she sings “I’m In Love With a Wonderful Guy.” About this time, Cable, who needs to run reconnaissance on a nearby Japanese-held island, approaches Emile for help, but the plantation owner refuses and Cable is told to go on leave until he is able to continue his mission. With nothing else to do, Cable allows Billis to convince him to travel to Bali Ha’i. On the island, Bloody Mary introduces Cable to a young Tonkinese girl, Liat, who turns out to be her daughter. She had been planning a love match, and it turns out to be a successful one as Cable and Liat quickly fall in love. Meanwhile, Emile and Nellie have become engaged, but when she learns that Emile has children with a dark-skinned Polynesian woman, Nellie’s racial prejudice surfaces.

As Act II opens, the relationship between Liat and Cable is growing more serious, but like Nellie, Cable exhibits some signs of racism, fearing what his friends and family will think if he marries a dark-skinned woman. When he finally admits that he won’t marry a Vietnamese girl, Bloody Mary is furious and drags her distraught daughter away, swearing that she will marry her off to some other man. Although somewhat aware and ashamed of their bigotry, both Cable and Nellie seem prisoners to their social conditioning and believe that they have no real choice in the matter.

Depressed over his rejected proposal, Emile offers to join Cable on his spy mission behind Japanese lines. Confronted by the plantation owner about his prejudices, Cable admits that it’s just how he was raised (“Carefully Taught”). The mission is successful, and the intelligence received results in an American victory and the destruction of Japanese convoys, but Cable is killed in the ensuing battle. Touched by Liat’s grief when she learns of her lover’s death, Nellie, who imagines that Emile has also died, decides to put aside her prejudice and at least learn to love Emile’s children if she can’t have their father. When Emile unexpectedly returns home, Nellie is overjoyed and agrees to marry.

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The great musicals of the 1950’s are just another happy memory I have of my family and I having fun together – singing!  🙂

 

 

NATIONAL ANTHEM DAY

TL 9-14 NATIONAL ANTHEM DAY

9-14 THE LIME AMONG THE LEMONS

On NATIONAL ANTHEM DAY I’m asking:

Who is your favorite singer to sing our National Anthem?  I’ve heard so many great singers through the years, but the one that touched my heart most of all is this sweet girl (better grab the Kleenex box).

Detox Lentil-Lime Soup
Ingredients:
•6 cups (1.5 L) broth (chicken or vegetable)
•1 bay leaf
•3 cups (750 mL) dried organic red lentils
•3 Tablespoons (45 mL) water
•2 cups (500 mL) onions, chopped
•3 garlic cloves, minced
•3 Tablespoons (45 mL) whole cumin seed
•1 Tablespoons (15 mL) turmeric
•2 cups (500 mL) kale, finely chopped
•1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
•1 cup (250 mL) fresh lime juice
•Sea salt to taste

Directions:
1. Rinse dry red lentils in cold water, over and over until water runs clear. In a large pot, combine broth, bay leaf and lentils. Bring to boil.

2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

3. In skillet over medium heat add onion, garlic and sea salt with bit of water and sauté until translucent (about 10 minutes).

4. Break the shell of the whole cumin seeds by lightly grinding them in a mortar and pestle. The seeds should still be visible when you are done.

5. Add turmeric and ground cumin seed into the onion mixture and sauté for 5 more minutes.

6. Mix sautéed onion spice mixture and chopped kale into the cooked lentils. Simmer for 15 minutes over a medium heat to blend flavors.

7. Turn off heat. Add lime juice and olive oil at the last-minute to preserve the taste and nutrients.

8. When reheating, gently warm over a low heat.

Makes 10 cups.

This is great for overall health, but also gets your voice ready to hit that high note in the National Anthem!  😉

NATIONAL DAUGHTER’S DAY

TL 3-9 NATIONAL DAUGHTER'S DAY

AN ADOPTION STORY

I’ve not started writing yet and my eyes are filled with tears. Today is NATIONAL DAUGHTER’S DAY and all day I have read the most heartwarming posts from mothers and daughters on facebook. It’s been my practice to pray and ask God to pass messages along to my parents. Don’t laugh – He’s God. Do you really think that’s completely absurd? I don’t – and if the belief that my messages get passed on keeps me happy and healthy and sane, then what’s the harm anyway? Once I’m reunited with them in heaven it won’t matter one way or the other, will it?

There’s only one way I can mark this special day, to write a poem about it. The day I went to live with the Turner family was the beginning of my very blessed life. The older I get, the more blessed I feel for having been their little girl. They did not spoil me, but they just loved me so very much. We spent so much time laughing and singing together. I felt as though I was on vacation every day of my life.

When I was 18 I decided to get a copy of my adoption papers. I was not unhappy with my life, but rather I was curious about things. I had a long talk with my parents before I drove to the courthouse. I wanted to make sure they knew I was not looking to replace them (like I ever could). It was a matter of curiosity and nothing more. Once I got my papers, I began to be even more grateful to God for the life I was given.

I apparently had 9 siblings and my birth parents were not educated. They had given up the last 5 of the 9. My birth mother was well over 40 years old when I was born and I suspect that is why I have a learning disability. My sweet mother was very savvy. She is the one that realized that if I could learn to read music, I could apply the same principles to learning to read words. She should have written a book about it. It’s fascinating how well that theory of hers worked!

I love my parents and I am a devoted daughter – even now.