Happy Things April 2024

Lemon Pecan Pancakes

Once again I feel blessed with a wonderful month of happy things. Composing, singing, playing the harp, playing the piano, are definitely highlights of every month. These things were also the heartbeat of my life in April. In addition I was able to get out of town for a long weekend to see family and experience the joys of another city. During that trip I ate some great food that was both unexpected and indulgent. I had some lemon pecan pancakes that almost brought me to tears. Given all of my food allergies I rarely get to have something like that, both safe and delicious. When topped with maple syrup it really made my day.

Other things that may be happy in April:

brown wooden harp on garden
Photo by Анна Малышева (Заволока) on Pexels.com

A patient harp teacher
Breakfast with a talented composer
A zoom conference with a famous composer
Beginner harp music
Singing a duet with my favorite Scotsman
Airbuds
Find your airbuds app
A kind veterinarian
Phone calls from my son
Potato chips – a guilty pleasure
Composer and mentor Andrew Maxfield
Voice Teacher Timothy Wilds
Pictures of grandchildren
Tulips
Blooming lilacs
Woodpeckers
Mechanical pencils
Maple syrup
Naps

I hope you have started keeping track of all the happiness in your life. I’d love to hear about your list.

I Will Sing Alleluia

I Will Sing Alleluia was a really fun composition experience. It originally started as a longer piece, with a long introduction and piano interludes. Over many months, and multiple revisions it became an introit for choir and piano. The tone is positive, and a song of gratitude. I am really drawn to songs of praise and cascading alleluias or amens. There is a repeated message of “I will Sing” that admonishes me that I am to sing to God in all circumstances, not just those that please me. While it is often difficult to put into practice, this song is a great reminder.

Although I began writing I Will Sing Alleluia in 2020, this year I was able to experience it being sung during worship in two different churches. It was incredibly exciting… and terrifying. I felt somewhat vulnerable putting my creative product to the test in a public performance. But, in both churches it went really well and the feedback was positive. Whew!

The text is based on Psalm 59:16. According to the New American Standard Bible, Psalm 59 is a prayer for deliverance. The psalm is one of many that are attributed to David. The beginning of the psalm includes multiple requests for help from God in order to protect him from his enemies. There is also an acknowledgement of God’s strength. It ends with the statement of gratitude for God’s lovingkindness and the statement of praise that this song is based upon.

Want to see more? Check it out HERE.

Thanksgiving is Over

For most people the day of purposeful gluttony is over.  Thanksgiving is over. We had our feast, family gathered, and hopefully cleanup is over.    Now what?  There may be Black Friday shopping to look forward to (or dread).  Some people will be working as usual.  Many airports will be crowded with people heading home from wherever they went.  Will the purposeful practice of gratitude be over too?

I’m in a pretty funky mood.  The weather is overcast and so are my thoughts.  The frenzy of Christmas is upon us.  Even so, I am keenly aware of all that I have to be grateful for.  Instead of a New Year Resolution, I am making a Thanksgiving Resolution to be more mindful of engaging in a purposeful gratitude practice.

Here are some ideas I am considering:

  1. Writing at least 2 things on the whiteboard above my desk each day that I am grateful for.
  2. Find one person to sincerely thank for something each day at work (a place where I find the spirit of gratitude tough)
  3. Starting my morning, before I get out of bed with a gratitude prayer
  4. Saying or singing grace before my meals (silently or aloud)
  5. Counting my blessings while I brush my teeth

If you have a gratitude practice, I’d love to hear about what you do and what benefits you have noticed.