Tag Archives: Mahalia Jackson


“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours…”

Tonight was the first time in three and a half years that I have sung with other people. It was joyous. It was beyond my expectations. It was a God-wink gospel moment.

Remember that old Nat King Cole song? “Smile when your heart is aching, Smile even though its breaking…” My life has sort of been like that for many reasons. When that little tick decided to share its bacteria with me, it changed parts of my body in many different ways. Energy levels, achy joints, weak immune system and…….no singing voice.

I whined about most of it, but I never mentioned the loss of my voice. It hurt too much to contemplate. It was my identity in so many ways, that I struggled with how I viewed myself in this new voiceless capacity. Funny, how one little aspect of our ego plays such a huge role in the perception of self.

“Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all…”

When I was a child, I always planned on being a dancer. I danced every where and loved how music could move your body in ways that it normally didn’t go. Then my knee blew out and never recovered its strength. Every time I tried to dance seriously, it would swell up and give out. After lots of prayer and tears, I decided G-d had a better plan, and I would find it. Losing my voice brought back many of those internal dialogues.

Long story short. I decided – once again – that G-d had a plan and started to move forward. As always, He did. The voice is not fully back as it was. It is different. My low register is LOW. Tonight, I was definitely singing tenor comfortably. There is a mid-range weakness and the high voice is not anywhere near the range I used to hit. But the voice is back. Best yet – I’ve recieved a new gift. I hear harmonizing notes in my head now and tonight – it was perfect. For you see – tonight I got to sing with my first gospel choir.

“Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things…”

I am not great at singing gospel. I may never be great at singing gospel, but I sure do love it. Bessie Smith, Paul Robeson. Mahalia Jackson. Della Reese. When you grow up with parents who listened to early blues and jazz, I think you get it by osmosis. College enlarged the desire as I got to attend churches and actually watch the Holy Spirit move through the gospel choir and into the audience.

The great thing is that – here in the South – I get to join a gospel choir. It is totally new. Not using sheet music. Not being told exactly what to sing. Listening to those around you and feeling the Holy Spirit just move everyone to sing a new note. I once attended a 7th Day Adventist Church in Columbus, OH. The preacher and choir were amazing. The preacher sang almost half of his sermon while the rafters shook with the choirs’ responses. But the main thing I remember from that sermon is that he said, Luciel (the evil one) could sing in 4-part harmony by himself before the fall and that was a main part of his pride that tripped him into falling. In the 40+ years since then, I’ve pondered that point often and tried not to let it trip me.

Gospel is all about praise. Gospel is all about being led by the Spirit of G-d. Gospel is totally out of my comfort zone, but then again, I guess that is the journey I am on this year. Camping out in a house. Learning to sing gospel with people who can lead me in prayer and worship in ways I’ve never experienced for myself. I’m hoping that I learn enough to join a gospel choir in heaven every now and then when I get there. And I’m for sure glad that I can lift up my voice unto the hills from whence cometh my help.

“In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.” 1 Chon 29:11-12

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I stubbed my toe today on a rock, but I smiled through my tears. You see, there is an upside to this tiny tidbit of information that nobody really needs to know or care anything about – it is December 10th, and – cuz I’m outside in my barefeet, I get to stub a toe. How cool is that?


This has been a week for being outside and dreaming. Hubby and I are driving our eldest daughter crazy (once again) because we’ve just turned a 180 in our fast pace forward into our journey for a new home – well – maybe – kinda – please G-d hopefully – as we continue to seek that piece of rock we need to settle our butts for the next few years.

“There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any Rock like our G-d.”~1 Sam 2:2

5387712175_be36b0393fI’m calling it our 40 day journey into a rock based covenant so that I don’t have to do this again. I am not a mover. I love curling my toes into the dirt that holds my gardens. Nourishing my gardens with daily doses of love and song. Surrounding myself with touchstones of memories and dreaming of new memories waiting to be revealed.

“For I proclaim the name of the LORD; Ascribe greatness to our God! “The ROCK! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A G-d of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.~Deut 32:3-4

So with a “smarting” toe and a few stumbling steps, we are walking forward or maybe slightly sideways; laughing at ourselves for once again complicating our lives, but knowing that is precisely why we joined our lives together in the first place. Idiots who like the “less traveled by road” deserve each other.


Fortunately, for humans such as we, Our Father always has a plan. 2000 years ago, He began planting a stone that would never roll away. A Rock planted so firmly that any who stand upon it “WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

In a tiny, dirty stable, after a long journey that ended on a dark and chilly night, the Rock of Righteousness planted a piece of Himself into a world that needed a more tangible Rock to stand upon. A Rock that continues to call to all who have ears to listen, saying, “Come, stand upon me and find peace to all of goodwill.”

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Commandment Series: Prohibition of Theft.

ten-commandments-400.hebrew abbrevIt has been a challenging week.  Things have not gone at all the way I expected or wanted.  However, deep inside of me, I know that God knows that is how I learn best.  So…as much as I hate assessments…I keep trying to look for the wisdom in all that is going on around me and remember that Jehovah-Rapha stands beside me just as Jehovah-Nissi is ready to help fight my battles.

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more severely than others.” Jm 3:1

Today, I was ready to ignore writing again.  When I am wrestling with a “God Assessment”, I tend to do more reflection than teaching.  Teaching means being sure of  my subject matter and relying on my faith to guide my words and concepts.  Reading, devotions, playing with the dogs, seem to give me a better perspective as I work through whatever the current faith-walk plagues my life at the moment.  It’s strange – music has always been a big part of my faith life, yet now, when I am troubled, I don’t go into the music room. Instead, I turn to the WORD and reading things from other sages – especially those of Jewish tradition.  It was during this time that I found a small little piece of information buried in a rabbi’s writing.


This is the Jewish letter Tov.  Its initial letter Tet also represents the letter nine as it is the ninth letter of the Jewish alphabet. Tet also represents the word “good”; as in “… God saw that it was good. Gen 1:12b   Amazingly it is also the only letter of the Hebrew alphabet that was left out of the first time Moshe brought the tablets down off the mountain. (Ex 20) Yet – in the second set of laws that Moshe brought off the mountain, it was included. (Deut 5:15 in the word “outstretched”  NeTuYah) Hmmmmm….

Jewish tradition holds that it is because anything “Good” lasts forever. Our omniscient Jehovah-Tsid-Kenu foresaw these events in our linear life line.  Had He included Tov in the first tablets, they could not have been destroyed.  Only Our Father God knows why things had to play out the way they did.  What important God Assessments did these scarred and damaged people have to “grow” through to achieve the unity of being His united and chosen people?  Maybe it was just that – they would no longer see themselves as a people enslaved to other societies – other gods – other lands.  That they would see themselves as His people – united by His love, His grace, and His law.

“You shall not steal.” Ex 20:15

On the physical level it is a very straight forward law, and it makes sense to most of us.  After all, who wants to go through getting arrested, going to court, being convicted?  When Moshe presents it a second time in Deut 5, it is still a very straight forward law.  Again, why would we do anything but that?  But what if – what if there was more to it?  Don’t steal away.  Don’t steal a glance.  Don’t steal someone’s heart. Don’t steal the spotlight.  Don’t steal anything…….period.  The 10 Commandments are still relevant.  They still make us think.  They are still a strong guideline for our lives as we journey this faith-walk.  Our Father knew that as He carved them.  They were meant to last until Christ returns and is able to establish “…Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…”   Kinda important, don’t ya think?  That being said…should I stop singing this hymn??????  Somehow – I think not.  ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????