Tag Archives: Ella Fitzgerald

BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT

Long, long ago in the Campbell Street house, I heard a song while sitting on my daddy’s lap. His feet were bouncing me up and down until my mom pulled us both up to dance with her. From then until now (and from the way it looks now, probably for all eternity), it is always her voice in my head when I hear this song.

I fell in love with jazz that day. Blue-grass rhythms and harmonies had probably been a part of my genes while I was being knit in my mother’s womb, then add a few spirituals from whatever choir she was singing in, and my preference in music was pretty much set for life.

“I never cared much for moonlit skies
I never wink back at fireflies
But now that the stars are in your eyes
I’m beginning to see the light”~Don George/Duke Ellington

A few years later – I discovered the deep power of vibration as William Warfield sang “Ol Man River” (one of the first songs I remember memorizing just out of love for singing it in the Campbell Street house)- the richness of George Gershwin’s Bess as she sang “Summertime” – the intricate harmonies of the 5th Dimension’s “The Declaration” – the dissonances of Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Fantasy” – the heart of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly” – the soul of all spirituals that chorally covered me in oh-so-many-choirs over a lifetime of singing.

“Every man has a place, in his heart there’s a space,
And the world can’t erase his fantasies
Take a ride in the sky, on our ship fantasii
All your dreams will come true, right away
And we will live together, until the twelfth of never
Our voices will ring forever, as one”~Earth, Wind and Fire

Today, I got to listen as my eldest daughter sang in a new choir. It is one of those unspoken blessings about living close to children we were blessed to raise. Sitting in an audience, swelling with pride as we watch them perform, and somehow – it never gets old. It never goes away. It never changes. Love, heart and soul circles through the music, into a new generation, into the Grands as they fidget in their seats, and into the mind of this elder as she pondered all these treasures clasped as tightly as possible in her hands.

“I must walk my lonesome valley,I got to walk it for myself, 
Nobody else can walk it for me,I got to walk it for myself…
Jesus walked his lonesome valley, He had to walk it for himself,
Nobody else could walk it for him,He had to walk it for himself.”~J.H. Cone

Journeys are individual. Yet – when those paths intersect, there is that possibility of being able to walk together for a short space of time, and today was just one of those blessed days. A day to listen as my youngest Grandson read an entire story to me for the first time while my youngest Granddaughter reached for my hand behind his back for a short minute or two. A day to watch the daughter sing for joy a song I have loved for ages. A day to hear the Grands shout across a big city parking lot, “Bye, Grandma” – not once but twice. A day to rejoice for being in the perfect place – at the perfect time – and looking up to see the Conductor of Life start the up-beat for “I’m Beginning to See the Light”.

“You did not chose Me, but I chose you and appointed you, to go bear fruit – fruit that will last.”~Jn 15:16   

BLESSING TRIAD #19-21

The Nineteenth Blessing

Today, November 19, 2015, I am thankful for music – in particular accapella vocal music.Perhaps it is because I know how hard it is to do it well. Perhaps it is the way I imagine it is how the angels sounded at creation or on the birth of Yeshua or on the morning when He rose from the dead. Whatever it is – I am thankful when I wake up with this song in my heart. What a way to start or end a day. “Praising our Savior all the day long….” (I guess I have more songs than one in my heart tonight) 🎵 🎶

“We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be;
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!”
~1597 Adrianus Valerius

The Twentieth Blessing

A Grandson’s conversations, hugs and questions, “Do you know everything, Grandma?”

Closing on the house Tuesday – yikes.

A small sentence in a fiction book I found at the “free” shelf in Saxapahaw:
“I believe strongly in prayer,” Silas said with obvious conviction. “It’s the key to each new day and the lock for every night.” p167 Wanda Brunstetter “The Hope Chest”

Our Father talks to us in so many ways. Sometimes the clutter of the day, the noisiness of the world, and the laziness of our own sin nature gets in the way. But if we listen – if we force ourselves to still the distractions – the BREAD is there. We only need to remember to use the key and the lock each day. Pray for the world, our country, our leaders, our friends, our enemies, our veterans, our sick, ourselves and give thanks to the One who never fails to hold us close – if we only let Him.

Today, November 20, 2015, I am thankful that PRAYER IS AWESOME.

The Twenty-first Blessing

the-harlem-renaissance-9703-1-728

Today – November 21, 2015, I am thankful for the Harlem Renaissance. In college, I fell in love with the poetry, the literature, the music, the fashion – Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Ella Fitzgerald, Scott Joplin. A time between wars – a time of change – internal/national strife – depression – spiritual growth – – – sound familiar?

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,” Titus 2:11-12

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again! ~Langston HughesLangstonHuges_NewBioImage