Gloria Festiva: I Joined a Choir!

This morning was my first official performance as a choir member of my parish.

I am stoked! Other than a fest high school spring musicals, this is my only choral experience.

And it just makes Mass so much better. For one, I now have the best seats to hear everything I would normally be straining to follow. Father Ray is to my right, and our parish is in front of me. It’s like getting sky box seats to your favorite team!

We’re a small choir, which I also like.

I’m enclosing this Mariah Carey song, “Make It Happen,” because right now in my life, GOOD things are happening! I love this video shot in a church. I love her old-school songs.

Apparently all these years I’ve been wrong: I’m not an alto. (But I can sing Cher!!??)

David, our choir director, said he heard me as a soprano. To step down into the front row. I obeyed.

The first song I learned (and the only one I really know!) is “Gloria Festiva.” Even more perfect, I studied Latin in college. Of course, I’ve since lost it. But it just feels so AUTHENTIC. Every line is beautiful.

I’m learning gospel! I’m learning to harmonize. I’m participating in a new way during Mass.

BEST of all??

We get to wear the most elegant choir robes. White, with a red and white stole with a big red heart underneath the collar. It was Easter when I first thought I really like to join.

I daydreamed a bit, imagining myself wearing one of those robes, rocking out.

This robe makes me feel powerful, special, a little closer to God.

This robe signifies that I belong– first to our parish, and now our choir!!!

At my first rehearsal, they were so welcoming. And I loved that afterward we stood in a small circle and prayed– anyone was able to volunteer an intentions. They prayed for me– thanking God for “our newest member.”

I couldn’t stop smiling.

David gave me a black folder with the music, a phone list, and a rehearsal schedule.

Today was wonderful. Mass started off with us proceeding in singing, “This is the Day,” clapping and with a bit of a bounce in our steps.

We were on our feet during most of Mass. I did my best to follow along with the music, just singing what I could.

My Aunt Pat went with me to see my first performance!! She picked me up and we drove together.

I feel so loved.

It’s not a heavy commitment– rehearsal once a week.

I feel like this is exactly where God wants me. I get to meet great new people and learn Gospel songs.

All day, I’ve been in the best mood!!! Singing for God does that you.

Only Happy When it Rains: The Pluviophile Life

I saw something on facebook today that is exciting to a flabbergasting degree.

A new vocabulary word: pluviophile. I shared it and even made it my Timeline cover.

Nothing excites more more than words. Especially new ones that are more than three syllables.

That’s why I salivate over Anti-Transcendentalists like Hawthorne, Melville and Poe. Oh, my! All those glorious words.

I have to circle them, write them down, and look them up.

Ahem! Back to *this* word.

It ABSOLUTELY describes me.

Whenever it storms, I’m the broad running outside and frolicking in the rain. I don’t care if there’s lightening– I’m still going. Mind you, I don’t stand out there interminably. But I’ve gotta get out there at least a few seconds.

I love rain so much, I should probably move to Seattle. To me, precipitation is a wonderful reminder of God’s grace.

Maybe it’s because I’m a farmer’s daughter. Just like Dorothy, I hail from Wichita, Kansas. No joke! And rain is what makes the crops grow. My father grew up on a farm and went on to have a few different careers– from the Army to a hospital administrator, and now he’s in real estate. But he grew up working the land, and brags he rode a tractor at four-years-old.

Our family still owns farmland. Soon, we’ll be going home to visit– and I can’t wait to see the giant sunflowers, and the wheat fields. The silos. The hay bales and rusted farm equipment at my Uncle Jim’s farm in Zenda.

And I’ve lived a life full of thunderstorms, as most writers do. That’s how we are made– electrocuted to creative consciousness by odd and usually tragic circumstances. And we can choose to wallow, or we can choose to examine those incidents and use them to grow in self-awareness.

And hopefully, bottle that thunder and release it on our own via art.

But I’ve learned to welcome the storms of my life– they give me rich soil from which to write. They give me exquisite pain, which can then be transmogrified into art if I’m brave enough. And I’m getting there.

With every post, every like, every follower– I’m getting braver.

And the storms make the ensuing sunshine and rainbows all the more astonishing.

Only after experiencing chaos and darkness can you appreciate the glaring heat of awareness, of inspiration, of joy.

I don’t keep up with music these days, but one of my all-time favorites rockers is Shirley Manson, of Garbage. I do my best to imitate her alternately raw and hypnotic voice when I sing karaoke. I’m an alto– I don’t know what notes I’m singing, but I do well enough just imitating the pitches. She doesn’t give a damn– she just celebrates her pain and vulnerability to glorious results.

And I really enjoy singing her song, ‘Only Happy When it Rains.”

Tell ’em, Shirley. I’m right there with ya.

Thank God for my complicated, rainy life.

It’s given me material so good, I might not need fiction.