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Well, we're more than half-way through Lent; so how's it going for you? God has been doing some great things on this end. I have some things to share in a little bit if you're still reading by then!
I've always felt that taking stock in my Lenten practices around this time is beneficial. We don't have to turn the page of the calendar anymore to see that Palm Sunday is coming, followed closely by the Triduum. Jesus' Passion starts to become a little more real as the days inch closer.
Around this time (and if I have time), I also start planning our Holy Week. Being in the choir at our parish, Holy Week holds an even more special place in our hearts as we prepare the music for each approaching Liturgy. It also adds to the anticipation as we find ourselves really looking forward to these incredibly significant days. Have you ever been able to attend each celebration in Holy Week? For some work schedules this can be impossible. However, for those that might be able, you've got to try it!
I remember the first time I did. The kids were young, but Rod and I were determined to do a family ministry. There weren't too many available back then, so we joined the choir. Even though the kids were too young to sing, the choir was very welcoming and allowed us to join with kids in tow.
That first Holy Week with the choir was astounding! Feeling the excitement of Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday and experiencing the deep sadness of Good Friday set the stage for an unbelievable Easter Vigil Holy Saturday night. Although participating was challenging with little ones, I was so affected by the Easter Vigil that you couldn't wipe the smile off of my face when the candles went out and all of the Church lights came on and the bells started ringing, signaling that Christ had risen. Singing "Alleluia!" had never felt so intense.
Needless to say, although taking choir breaks throughout the years due to new babies, etc., we continued to enjoy Holy Week, immersing ourselves in the incredible gift of Liturgy and celebration that the Church has given us.
And so I look forward to this year! In anticipation, I have been listening to songs (In case you didn't know, I'm a music fanatic) that bring me closer to my Lord and prepare me to experience His Passion.
And this is where I get a little up-close and personal with you. A couple of songs that I listen to during Lent are some songs that my siblings and I recorded for my parents to celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary.
Here's a quick window into the past:
My parents were serving in the Air Force when they met and formed a singing duo called "The First of May." This prompted not only a deep love of music but one of the 'marital kind' as well! I was born first; my sister, brother, and youngest sister followed soon afterwards.
Music was ALWAYS a part of our lives! Mom was an incredible pianist and Dad a fantastic guitarist. We grew up singing everywhere: walking down the block, driving in the car, in our church choir and even at some events. We were often dubbed as the "Von Thompsons" after "The Sound of Music" (which is one of my favorite movies!).
Well, as life would have it, we all grew up and moved on, married and had families. We had never really recorded anything growing up, which had always been my parents' dream. So, a few years ago, we decided to make that dream a reality.
Working by phone and email, we came up with songs with both past and current significance to our family and came up with an album that thrilled Mom and Dad. Actually, thrilled would probably be an understatement!
Only with God's grace and the amazing hard work and determination of the best siblings ever could this project have been completed. My brother, who had attended school for Audio Engineering in his college days, recorded us in an upstairs bedroom at his house using a 10 year-old program, individually recorded voice-part by voice-part since our schedules made it impossible to be at the house at the same time. (All this with my very self-sacrificing sister-in-law who was very pregnant with their 6th holding down the fort downstairs!) Then, the poor guy spent days upon weeks editing the album. He and my sister also arranged an amazing montage of short pieces from our past, combining them in barbershop form.
Anyway, as I was listening to them while I was driving recently, I wondered how it would come across if I shared them with you. I had considered this earlier in Lent, but decided against it since I worried that it might appear that I was looking for accolades of some kind. However, several readers have been encouraging me to open up and be a bit more personal in the blog, so I thought I might step out on a limb and take a chance!
My parents and siblings have generously given their permission, so I thought I would go ahead and share two of them that I have been listening to this Lent. The first one features my siblings singing a beautiful rendition of "Untitled Hymn" by Chris Rice. The harmony that they came up with is gorgeous! And who can go wrong with those amazing lyrics?
The second is a Southern Gospel song that we learned and recorded for my grandmother in South Carolina who was very ill and getting ready to meet Jesus. When she worsened sooner than expected, my brother put it together in lightening fashion so she could hear it before she passed. This one is perfect for Lent as it refers to who we are in light of the cross.
You can listen to the links below if you'd like. I hope you enjoy them!
God bless each of you - Easter is almost here!
"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song!"
Pope John Paul II
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May your Lent be truly fruitful and fill you with longing for His Resurrection!
If a song's title includes (family recording), please refer to the blog entry on 3/8/16 for info...
Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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