Tag Archives: singing

“Ah, Winter! How Do I Love Thee?”

 

Ah, winter! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Reason #1: Christmas usually comes during winter, thus Reason #1 by itself would more than tip the scales.

Reason #2: Christmas singing (where “yours truly” gets to croon Christmas tunes) comes, yes, indeed, during Christmas which . . . well, refer to Reason #1.

Reason #3: My favorite days tend to be days during which I get to spend at least a little time reading, drinking coffee or tea, and/or just breathing in front of our fireplace. (The only thing better than a good book is a good book in front of a fire.) Those days almost never come during summer; consequently, score a win for winter!

Reason #4: Nothing in nature is more beautiful than snow. And when, pray tell, does snow tend to fall? Bingo. Winter. (And snow falling on a mountain in winter? Perfect!)

Reason #5: Snow falling from the sky (though no moisture at all is falling from the sky this winter) is far superior to dust, dirt, real estate, and small animals flying across the sky. When weather prognosticators in our area talk about “spring-like conditions,” it’s usually code for “wind, dirt, and drought.”

Reason #6: Grass does not have to be mowed during winter. My yard never looks better than under a blanket of snow, and though brown grass is not beautiful, neither is it needy. Being able to ignore it gives me three extra hours a week to do stuff I’d rather do, like read and enjoy the fire. Oh, I love a nice green yard for a few months, but “few” is not eleven, and eleven would be insufferable. Winter is mower parole.

Reason #7: Valentine’s Day comes during winter. It is not, honestly, that I’m all choked up about that pseudo-holiday, but, much to my surprise, Cupid’s season has become a big one for me singing-wise. I love singing for joyful reasons, “for sentimental reasons,” and for lots of other reasons, and winter’s when I get to do a bunch of it.

Reason #8: Though the Olympic Games actually take place every two years, my very favorite edition is the Winter Olympic Games, which occur in . . . Yes. There’s never a time when I don’t enjoy watching skiing, bobsledding, snowboarding, and all the other amazing stuff folks do on frozen water. Give me food, drink, a fire, and these ice-based Olympic games, and I’m happy as a clam at high tide, as a pig in sunshine, as a ski jumper nailing a perfect landing after a near-miss with a Boeing 777. Snow-deprived here this year, I’m lovin’ it even more.

Reason #9: Our family’s annual ski trip (we’re not talkin’ water skiing, here) comes in . . . ditto. These reasons are not in order, or this one would be way higher!

Reason #10: Clear, crisp winter air is the best air you’ll ever breathe, paired very nicely with clear, crisp, star-kindled winter skies.

Thank God indeed, our Creator is Lord of all seasons and his joy is woven into them all. I just think he does some of his very best work in winter.

 

     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

Copyright 2018 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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“There’s an All-seeing Eye Watching You!”

 

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My tastes in music and my theology have certainly changed since then, but when I was a small child, my favorite song was one we sang occasionally at church (I’m very glad we don’t do that now) and pretty often at home (at my request).

That’s another story, but, yes, as hard as it is for most of us to imagine now, when I was growing up, my family spent quite a bit of time singing together around the table or in the living room at home.

We were at home occasionally back then instead of bouncing, kicking, throwing, putting, or serving all manner of balls every evening of the week. Those are not at all bad things, you understand, but our society does seem to have a serious problem with balance and priorities, don’t you think?

To make the music work, so that a family filled with low-voiced altos and basses could manage to fake four parts, we lowered the pitch of the songs pretty drastically. My sister sang the melody, Mom sang alto (I can still hear her smooth alto tones), Dad stretched to catch the tenor (a tenor, he was not, but he strove manfully onward) and, as my voice changed, I picked up the bass. My younger brother, who had the hardest time sitting still for family singing sessions, fidgeted, and, when my much older brothers and their wives were around, we just parceled out the parts as needed. We still find time to sing on the rare occasions when we’re all together, and though Mom and Dad and my sister are gone, they still seem very much a part of the proceedings.

Okay. Back to that song.

For at least a little while in my young life, my favorite song was a questionable piece entitled, “Watching You.” I’m told that I used to prance around the house singing, “Otching Ooh!” (way before I could sing bass). Not filled with the greatest music or the best theology, that song pictured God as an “all-seeing eye watching you.”

I was very young at the time. I obviously wasn’t old enough to have smoked grapevine on a Scout campout or puffed pencil shavings in an old pipe back behind our house (that was a very hot smoke!), or the idea of an all-seeing eye watching me would have been a tad less comforting. The fact is, at that age, I didn’t care what the song said, I just liked snappy and upbeat music, and it had that, if not much else.

My musical tastes have changed a lot since then, and so has my understanding of God. Is God watching me? Is he watching you?

Yes, I certainly believe that he is. But not as an all-seeing cosmic code enforcement officer or a humorless EPA or IRS bean-counting bureaucrat just waiting to catch us in a mistake.

No, our Father watches us through the eyes of love because we’re the sons and daughters in whom he delights.

 

 

     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

 

Copyright 2016 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


Love Is Not King, the True King Is Love

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If you know me, you probably already know that I have WRSTE Syndrome.

You’ll not find this on a list of disease acronyms, be they tragic or trendy. No pharmaceutical company will spend millions making annoying commercials about it. (I’ve not yet figured out why that couple in the now-famous drug ad is sitting in two bathtubs. The drug-pushing company is not selling plumbing fixtures or foaming bath soap. Ah, well.)

By the way, isn’t it a hoot that those commercials are 1/4 ad and 3/4 lawyer litter? “This is great stuff, but be advised that some people have turned suddenly and irreversibly green while taking Prescriptex, a few have died truly ghastly deaths, and research has shown at least a 1 in 500,000 chance that if you abuse this medication your grandchildren could be born naked.”

But I digress.

WRSTE is an under-studied, under-funded, little-known malady, and I definitely have it: Would Rather Sing Than Eat.

Since I’ve been incredibly scrupulous about my diet all of my life, following the strict IOEIIITG Diet (“I Only Eat It If It Tastes Good”), I was a little surprised, years ago, to be stricken with WRSTE. That can be a problem. You see, “stuff that tastes good” tends to cluster around places where I’m asked to sing. That puts my diet and my syndrome in conflict. WRSTE always wins. I’ve got it that bad.

The malady is particularly troubling during Christmas (no surprise) and around Valentine’s Day (some surprise). Christmas food’s fantastic but Christmas music is even better!

And Valentine’s Day? Well, the fact that Cupid’s kingdom has become annually a bit of a singing-rich environment for me still surprises me. That I’m involved with Valentine’s Day much at all amazes me.

You see, my wife loves me not because of any romantic inclinations I might have to spend too much on cards ($6.50 for a card!? Really?) or splurge on flowers. I’ve been pretty successful at keeping those tendencies under control. (Guys, if your wife loves cards and flowers, by all means, go with the cards and flowers. My wife prefers cash.)

But some good folks at a nearby community civic club asked me to croon a tune or two for a Valentine’s banquet a couple of years ago, and, well,  a few more folks and a church or two have, too. (After all, I suffer from WRSTE.) But be assured that the American classic love song dynasties of Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett are under no threat from me.

My family’s got Valentine’s Day surrounded. Two brothers have birthdays within three days of Cupid’s Day, and my mother-in-law’s birthday is the big 14th of February itself. My brothers haven’t asked me to sing to them, but Vernell was fine with “Happy Birthday.”

Cupid’s songs really are kinda fun and some of the classic crooners’ tunes are timeless. I like singing them.

But here’s the deep truth worth singing about any day: Love is not king; our King is love.

 

     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com! By the way, you’ll find there some samples of a few of the songs I’ve just written about here. 

 

 

 

Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


“Singing in the Rain”? No! Singing in a Sandstorm!

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April 27, 2014. I’m no good with dates, but I’ll remember that one.

The big event tied to the date was in Lubbock, Texas. Since I live in Texas—“a whole other country”—and not a polite little itty bitty “state-let” where you can reach out your arms and touch two state lines, and since I live only seventy miles away from Lubbock, I make that trip a bunch.

But I was headed into Lubbock from the east, which is unusual. Been singing in Abilene and enjoying old friends and family there.

I also remember the day’s color—a really nasty brown. Were it not for the wind in this area, I think our climate would be just about perfect. Come to think of it, even some wind by itself isn’t all that objectionable. But we don’t have it by itself. We have it with dirt in it. Highly objectionable. And I don’t remember a worse dust storm than the one gripping and gritting us that Sunday.

The closer we got to Lubbock, the more faith it took to imagine a city on the horizon. We could barely see the brake lights right in front of us—brake lights getting closer. slowing, moving off to the side of the road, even stopping.

I was NOT stopping. I had no desire to lure an eighteen-wheeler up our mini-van’s tailpipe. So we eked, oozed, lurched, crawled on. Finally, we made it through the worst of the airborne dirt and into a dreary dirt-assaulted Lubbock.

We drove to my brother’s house so I could put on a white shirt (instantly turning the collar brown) and a black suit. I needed to look a little more like a singer from the 50s or 60s, which shouldn’t have been hard for a 1957 model guy.

We headed over to a Lubbock treasure, the Cactus Theater, so I could practice crooning a couple of tunes—one Nat King Cole and one Tony Bennett, believe it or not—with the band.

Those guys are amazing. Nat and Tony, yes, but I mean the band. No doubt in my mind that if anybody messed up, it would be the crooner. Don Caldwell, owner of the Cactus, put a bow on things with a great sax solo during “The Way You Look Tonight.”

The sandblasted but courageous crowd was a bit short, but I felt button-bustin’ proud to be “working” (if you can call that work) with folks who would put on the same great show for a handful or a packed-house-full.

And I got to sign the wall. Yep! Backstage. In black marker. Note to self: If you ever get to sign another backstage wall, write a little bigger.

For me it was a fun and memorable April evening—brown or not. And I’m reminded yet again simply to be thankful to the One who is the Source of the real music of our lives as he leads us on our journeys down lots of roads we never expected to travel to places we never expected to get to see.

I wonder if in heaven you get to sign your name backstage? We’re certainly told about a very important Book, and you definitely want your name there. But our Lord’s the One doing the writing.

 

      You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com! (Come to think of it, you’ll find there a little sample of the song mentioned above.)

 

Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

 


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