Let’s sing that again!

What do I love to help people with? I love to reveal to people the beautiful music hidden in their souls.

When a shy teen reluctantly shows up for a choir rehearsal (I may have bribed him), accepts a sheaf of sheet music with bewilderment written all over his face, and barely makes a sound for the whole hour and a half, I’m giddy with hope.

I’ve directed volunteer choirs for nearly my entire adult life, skipping a couple years here and there.  I especially enjoy enticing unsuspecting nascent singers who’ve never thought they could hold a tune, or learn harmony, or enjoy choir music or even be accepted in such a group…and then seeing their surprise and pleasure at what they can do.  I love to decode the mathematically elegant written language of music for those who have never encountered it, or who thought it more foreign than Chinese. It gives me great joy to encourage and watch a quiet, tentative singer grow. I smile as she finds her voice and eventually rejoice as she belts out the top notes of a solo with confidence and skill.

Even better is  the opening up of hearts when a choir accepts a newbie and loves them as family. Because a choir is a family. You don’t work hard to make beautiful music together week after week without some serious bonds being formed! More experienced singers point out what page we’re on,  or ask to have that bit over again please (for the newbie’s benefit but don’t tell them that!).  Choir members pray for each other, cry with each other through bad times, rejoice in each other’s happy happenings. The best choirs don’t fuss too much about perfection in their fellow singers. I aim for it as director, but not at the expense of the joy of learning the music and the plain old fun of hearing it sound better and better until we’re all amazed at what we did together.  The joy is the thing, not perfection.

And the joy can be exquisite. When the music you are singing exalts God, your heart exalts God. This is a novel experience for some folks. Occasionally a new singer meets God  for the first time while singing praises to Him. Not just a generic god either, but the God of the Bible, who is Love and  who died so we could live and be loved forever. This is the sweetest joy of all: to experience welcoming a person not only into the loving family of a choir, but into the crazy, eternal, globe-spanning, supernaturally loving family of God. 

Yeah, I love to direct choirs.

Book Launch for Maui Christian Writers Member

IMG_3943

A few friends and I  started Maui Christian Writers somewhat less than two years ago. Our goal is to encourage one another as we write the stories that are on our hearts, as we research and build books to help people, and always to bring glory to God. Now one of our founding members, Susan M. Robinson, has published her first novel, Accused a Traitor. (It’s good, you should read it!)

Bonnie Aleman, a friend from church, opened her house and threw a book signing party for Susan. In grand Hawaiian style, we ate pupus and talked story before giving Susan the floor. She read to us from Accused a Traitor, told us about her writing journey, and graciously signed copies for all of us eager to buy the book and find out what happens next!

All of our Maui Christian Writers members have at least one project in the hopper. Koni is editing an heirloom manuscript written by her grandmother, and writing a historical novel of her own. Karen is researching health and diet ideas, and collecting them into a simple, practicable guide. Joy, an occasional member, has her own fantasy project in its early stages.

And I have finally finished the first draft of my Montana Rising novel, and am now working through the second draft. I hope to finish the revisions by the end of the year, and then to begin asking select people to read it and provide helpful feedback. (Untrammeled enthusiasm will also be welcomed.)