Tag Archive | singing

The Things We Lose Along the Way

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When I was a teenager, all I ever wanted was to sing. I wasn’t the best singer but I had hopes. I remember singing into my hairbrush in the morning before the mirror while getting ready for school, playing my favorite records and jamming along and dreaming of being a famous.

I took band and choir in high school. I thought that when I graduated I would go into communications, because I doubted I’d ever be a “real” singer but I loved to talk and I loved music so voila! DJ it was.

My dad told me DJ’s worked crappy hours and didn’t paid much. So after three years part time to get my associate’s degree, I finally settled on Psychology as I was interested in helping people. I graduated and went for my master’s degree.

Fast forward to graduating and working in a church. I didn’t do counseling right away but during grad school I was working in production, planning our Sunday morning services and our worship services. And I got to sing. My boss and pastor did informe me I was only a “B-team” singer. He was right. I wasn’t committed to working as hard on that as what excellence would require. After a while some friends and I formed a band, Jonah’s Vacation. I was the lead singer. A dream come true. Lots of practice and hard work, very little money being a local Christian cover band.

Well, there I am, with the guys! It’s like it was another lifetime. I loved these brothers in Christ and the creative synergy that occurred when we were together. (RIP Jim Kube)

Eventually between work and having a kid, life got busier and I left the band. I loved those guys and we had a blast and another, much better singer had joined us so they were in good hands.

I ended up working in the field of mental health for years but still sang on worship teams at church and loved that. Then we moved and singing kind of fell to the back burner. Eventually, I would get to sing but for some reason I was asked more to play my guitar, a skill I was mediocre at, and that’s being generous. When a new worship director came to church, I eventually got back into production, working in the booth overseeing everything on the stage and behind the scenes. I was really good at it and enjoyed it.

What I really wanted though was to be on stage. I was needed more in the booth. The worst part of that was, week after week, rehearsals and Sunday, I had to listen to everything. I could not sing or be distracted from my task.

The last time I sang on stage was Good Friday in 2018. I was also playing my guitar and had practiced over and over and over for weeks. During the actual service, I started playing the guitar fine but my mind froze and I couldn’t find my note to start the vocals. The pastor rescued me in that moment and everything went off fine. Except I felt humilitated. Stage fright?

I haven’t sung on stage since.

I met my husband that year and we attend worship together. Now I can at least sing. I’ve had people ask my why I’m not on stage (the few that remember that I have done that). I just can’t bring myself to do it. At least not yet.

Last night I was reminded how much I sacrificed and lost with that dream. I used to sing to my kids all the time, sing in the car, sing around the house but years of silence in the production booth left me almost mute when it comes to singing.

My husband loves to hear me sing. I get self-conscious about it. Am I supporting my voice enough? I can’t remember all the words. I’m out of practice to be sure, so my range isn’t what it could be or used to be.

I want to start playing guitar again and maybe singing along with that. I want to challenge myself to sing more, to find that voice again, and the joy that goes with it. I do sing for my husband sometimes and he loves to hear me during worship. If God and Ben are the only two people to hear my voice, I’m fine with that. Still, it saddens me that even then I don’t sing as much as I used to.

So for me it is singing and what I didn’t cover was a lot of trauma that also accompanied my journey along the way. Some in ministry, some on the home front. That’s behind me now. But it made me wonder, have others found that during the course of life and work and ministry, they left something they loved behind?

If so, what was it and why did it get left behind in the dust of life? Have you pursued finding it again?

I recorded this five years go on YouTube, before I met my husband, had rotator cuff surgery, remodeled a house, married and moved, setting my guitar aside for a long time. I did get to sing this song to my grandmother before she passed away in 2017 so that makes it extra special to me. Thanks to my guitar instructor at the time, Mike Bautz, who helped me get the chords right for this song.

Dream Musings and Music

Reading Time: 3 minutesNot all dreams become reality. Sad isn’t it? People come along and kill our dreams. Sometimes real life interferes.

When I grew up I wanted to be a disc jockey. You know. A DJ. I love music. Always have. I enjoy singing. I love to talk, so radio seemed like a great place for me. But my father told me that radio people don’t get paid much and work odd hours. I had a friend in radio at one point and he had to use a different name on the air to protect himself from his fans. Oh, to have such trouble!

I played saxophone through high school but gave it up for choir. I did well there. Won some solo ensembles. I always wanted to play guitar. Twice I’ve taken guitar lessons. When I was in a band they let me play on one song.  Yup. I was that good! *snicker*.  Actually, I’d have been great if I could have been disciplined enough to practice more.

Jonah's VacationI also wanted to be a singer but had a pastor years ago who gave me a reality check. He told me “Susan, you’re good but you don’t work at it. You’re a B-grade singer but could be an A.” Ouch! I did work at it and got good enough to be in a band for a short time.

Jonah’s Vacation was a great experience. Hard work. Amazing musicians. My next book, Feta & Freeways is dedicated to Jim, Rob, Jeff, Erick, Mark and Irene (she joined us months after this photo was taken.). I learned so much from these people (including how to belch although Jim was definitely the master of that and he didn’t have a microphone to help!)

13620018_1411151115567715_4418536725403216346_nI don’t sing for others much anymore. I did for a while. I worked at it. But now I only get an opportunity maybe once a year to do that and play my guitar. I miss the synergy of being in a band. I admire groups that have that “magic” when they play together.

I based my next book on a lead singer of a band (and his friends). Yeah, it’s a romance, but it’s so much more than that. I based it off Burlap to Cashmere. I wish I could play guitar with even a 10% of the skill they have. Can you see the joy they have as they play together? Makes me smile every time I see this photo I took from the last time I saw them live.

Maybe someday I’ll get there. Not everything has to be for the purpose of performing. Maybe playing guitar and growing in that skill will only be for me and God this time around. I can remember the past fondly and rejoice that God gave me those opportunities. And I can write and encourage others who can pursue them.

Maybe words on the page are meant to be my song in this season of my life. Why that makes me cry I don’t know, but dreams are like that. Sometimes it is okay to grieve what you can’t have. Life isn’t fair and God doesn’t always give us what we want for His own reasons. Hard to believe but that’s often a good thing. Sometimes to make room for one dream we have to sacrifice something else we value. We don’t always recognize what those choices will be…time, family, finances…there’s a cost for pursuing dreams. And there will always be those who will try to stop us, defeat us, criticize us for following God’s direction. Dreams God calls us to follow become “callings”. And they are only worth pursuing because He is the one who leads the way.

This is a live video I took from Burlap to Cashmere’s performance in Green Bay in July of this year. Gifted and a called. The “closing jam” as it were… featuring Johnny Philippidis and his amazing guitar skills. Part of the song is the Dialing God Instrumental from their Freedom Souls album. Enjoy. Maybe someday I’ll have that 10% to enjoy for myself.