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RubyMARCH2017


Songs & Singing

Sing out! It’s good for your health.

 
Hi, friends!
 
A while ago, I wrote about being in a funk. I took my own advice, picked up singing again, and joined the Lakeland Choral Society. Rehearsal night is one of the highlights of my week.
 
I love everything that comes with singing in a group.

  • Interacting with people of all ages and lifestyles.
  • Feeling accomplished when I hit the notes in a difficult section of music.
  • Watching others enjoy singing.
  • Absorbing our director’s passion.
  • Following his precise cues.
  • Practicing different styles of music.
  • Doing the warm-up exercises–deep breathing, stretching, massaging.
  • Singing scales with different vowel sounds.
  • Feeling refreshed at the end of it all.

 
All of these reasons–and plenty more–have scooped me out of my funk. I love to sing out!
 

 
As if singing in the choral group weren’t enough, shortly after joining LCS, our director informed us of an opportunity to sing in an opera with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra. Who would’ve guessed that singing in an opera–one of my bucket list items–could become a reality! Without a second thought, I–along with several other choral members–volunteered to be in the cast of the ISO’s presentation of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.
 

Sometimes, I felt way out of my league, and I wanted to quit, but I remembered why I volunteered–not just to sing, but to sing deeply, to feel the intensity of emotions in an operatic presentation. This was way more than singing opera in my living room, which I do regularly. This was singing opera with professionals and other people who love opera. This was experiencing the highs and lows of every aria. Many times while we were on stage, we forgot we were acting. Emotion overwhelmed us as we sang out.
 
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience–one I’ll never forget. I treasure the intensity of it all.
 
It might seem an exaggeration, but to someone who struggles with depression, singing in general–and opera, specifically–has helped me release a host of pent-up emotions–sadness, anger, jealousy, internal strife, joy, mania. Whether it’s our weekly rehearsal or an opera performance, within two hours, I’ve exhausted my entire being in the most refreshing way. I sleep soundly.
 
Hard to believe?
 
Research shows music and singing have many benefits. Singing improves physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health. Singing in a group amplifies those benefits.
 
Even the Bible is filled with references to singing, commands to sing, and the power of singing.
 

Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. (Psalm 47:6)
 
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. (Psalm 95:1)
 
When they began to sing, the Lord threw the invading armies into a panic. (2 Chronicles 20:22)
 
I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. (Psalm 104:33)
 

 
All of God’s creation sings out.
 

All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name. (Psalm 66:4)
 
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)
 
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. (Psalm 96:12)
 

 
God sings!
 

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
 

 
Even Jesus sang.

So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve…. When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:17-30)
 

 
You might not be interested in joining a choral group, much less singing in an opera. You might think you’re not even a good singer. Whatever your reservation, sing! Sing out! Incorporate singing into your life.

  • Crank up the car stereo and sing along.
  • Try karaoke.
  • Sing in the shower.
  • Practice singing the musical scales.
  • Play singing games with your family. Instead of speaking to each other, sing!
  • Sing the Psalms in the Bible.
  • Sit in on a choral rehearsal.
  • Take voice lessons.
  • Sing along to operas like Pagliacci. Here’s a list of the top 50 operas.
  • Join a choral group. (Have I convinced you yet?) 😉

 
Whatever you do, whatever you feel, sing out! Sing for your health. Sing out for God. You were made to sing out!
 

 
 
Come alongside… Do you like to sing? Why or why not? What would it take for you to sing out? How can you incorporate singing into your life? What health benefits have you experienced as a result of your singing out? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.
 
 

6 Ways to ReCharge Your Batteries

 
Hi, there.
 
Does the mundane life drain you? The day in-day out life. The rut.

  • Wake up.
  • Get ready for work.
  • Go to work–or school.
  • Work all day.
  • Come home.
  • Have dinner.
  • Turn on the TV.
  • Fall asleep on the couch.
  • Go to bed.
  • Repeat.

I’ve been there. I am there.
 

My American Bulldog Shuga


 
But I refuse to stay there. As they say in recovery circles: I’m tired of being sick and tired.
 
Here are six ways I’m recharging my batteries.
 
 

Picking up a hobby again.

God gives us talents and interests, activities that spark life and excitement in us. When we don’t exercise those creative outlets, we grow frustrated and lack the glow that comes from things that bring us pleasure. It could be photography, writing, woodworking, sewing, to name a few.
 
This past week, I contacted a local Choral group. Lo and behold, just in time for auditions. My heart flutters just thinking about singing alongside others again.
 

Listening to the Bible.

I’m going to be honest. Reading the Bible? It hasn’t been top on my list lately. It hasn’t even been on my list. The desire to read the Bible–or anything, for that matter–has been nonexistent. Does it really need to be as cumbersome as we’ve made it?
 
So I’ve started listening to the Bible on my morning commute to work. I plug in the YouVersion Bible app into the car’s audio system. Hearing God’s word out loud early in the morning is helping me to focus on Truth throughout the day. It’s also giving me hope and faith that God is with me, even in my funk (Romans 10:17 NCV).
 

Exercising.

The dilemma… Not having enough energy to exercise versus exercising to get more energy. It’s counterintuitive, a cyclical conundrum. But I hear it works. So I’m taking small steps to make my life less sedentary. For me, that’s parking farther away at work or at the grocery store. Or doing leg lifts while at my desk. Even walking the dogs more. (Note: Morning walks in Florida… sweat central.)
 

Spending time outside.

There’s just something about being outside. I’d forgotten how much I love the green of the trees. The rustle of the grass under my feet. The sun shining on my face. (Did you know that the sun provides necessary vitamins that help with depression?)
 
The outdoors is God showing off. The work of His hands whispers to me, to you–and to anyone who will stop and notice.
 

Getting back to date nights.

Setting and sticking to a date night schedule can be difficult, especially with three kids. I’ve noticed that part of my funk is not getting to spend quality time with my husband on a regular basis. I miss those moments.
 
Planning our date nights is taking a little more creativity. Hubs and I have already decided to join the gym together. Not necessarily a date, but it’s a start. Maybe we’ll take a detour by the ice cream shop instead.
 
Anyone up for watching three kiddos?
 

Visiting my doctor.

Lastly, to be sure there’s nothing wrong other than my usual ailments, I’ve scheduled some doctor visits. Gotta take care of this temple.
 
 
My funk will come and go. It might even linger. (Oh, has it lingered.) But acknowledging my issues and working on them… That’s what the recharged life is all about.
 
 
Come alongside…. Are you in a funk? Have you ever been in a funk? How did you get out of it? What other tips can you add to this list. Please share with us in the box that says, “Leave a reply.” Remember you can reply anonymously.
 
 

My Drastic Estate

 

I love estate sales! I’ve been to two in the past month.

 

Intrigue and wonder fill me as I walk through rooms piecing together people’s lives from what they owned.

 

  • Clothes.
  • Cookware.
  • Tools.
  • Home Décor.
  • Movies and books.

 

Yes, movies and books.

 

You can tell a lot about someone by what they read, watch, and listen to. Even more, you can tell what will eventually be in someone’s heart by the movies, books, and music they own.

 

Become ITWhen I was younger, I read ultra-feminist-type books and magazines for teenage girls, listened to all sorts of music, and watched what could be considered “disturbing” movies. I was fascinated by it all—until I started seeing some of those same thoughts, tendencies, attitudes, and actions in myself. I didn’t know it at the time, but eventually I transformed into a woman who would not let any man tell her what to do, who had a filthy mouth, who couldn’t stop lyrics from playing in her mind—even in her sleep. As I woke up one morning, the first thing that came out of my mouth was “Danger! Get on the floor!”—lyrics from gangsta rap artist Mystikal.

 

 

Seriously—can you see me listening to gangsta rap?

 

 

Anyway… My movies, books, and music even went so far to include pornography.

 

I had years of deep-seated issues. When I finally set out to identify how I came to be that woman, I realized my movies, books, and music choices were a primary contributor to the person I had become. I had to make some serious changes to try to undo all those years of unhealthy programming in my mind and in my heart.

 

My choices were drastic to some, but I had to do it for myself. For years, I listened only to instrumental music—no lyrics, watched movies that had no objectionable material—and if they did, I would turn them off. I threw out books and magazines with immoral and suggestive content. I set similar limits on my online surfing.

 

Today, I listen to music with lyrics again, but I’m still very careful with its content. I’m still very strict with my books, magazines, and computer content. And movies—it’s strange to me that movies I enjoyed years ago—and knew inside out—now don’t pass my test.

 

Listen to what the Bible says:

 

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. (Philippians 4:8)

 

 

I try to ask myself:

 

  • Is my music gracious and beautiful?
  • Are my movies pure, honorable, and respectable?
  • Are my books and magazines praiseworthy?
  • Is my favorite Internet content moral?

 

Even more, do I see glimpses of myself in any of my books, movies, music, and Internet content?

 

The Bible says:

 

Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

 

Put another way:

 

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. (Romans 12:2)

 

 

His ways are good and pleasing and perfect, dear one. He grants us peace when we allow Him to renew our minds and restore our hearts.

 

You will keep in perfect peace all … whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)

 

He can change the way we think. He can undo our drastic estate.

 

The first step is up to us.

 

 

Come alongside… What kinds of movies, books, magazines, music, and Internet content are you welcoming into your mind and heart? Who are you becoming? Will you allow God to transform and renew your mind? He can!

 

God’s Song to You

 

One of my favorite passages is Zephaniah 3:17.

 

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

 

 
Although the entire verse shows us how much God loves us, lately I’ve been thinking about that last part: “He rejoices over you with singing.” Depending on your Bible translation, the verse could say any of the following:

 

  • He will make a song of joy over you as in the time of a holy feast.
  • He will celebrate over you with shouts of joy.
  • He will sing and be joyful over you.
  • He will delight in you with shouts of joy.
  • He will joy over thee with singing.
  • He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
  • He will sing and be joyful about you.
  • He will exult over you by singing a happy song.
  • He will exult over you with loud singing.
  • He’ll delight you with his songs.
  • He will joy over thee with singing.
  • He will have joy over you with loud singing.

 

Regardless of the translation, the message is still the same:

 

God digs you!

 

He celebrates you!

 

He serenades you with His songs!

 

Did you hear that, dear one? God sings to you. He serenades and celebrates you. Yes, you! Y’know, He takes great delight in you. Are you listening to His song? Can you hear it? What is He singing?
 
 

 
 
I hear Him telling me He loves me. He doesn’t want me to push myself so hard–I don’t need to prove myself to Him or others. I hear Him reassuring me I’m not the person I used to be and not to let anyone tell me differently. He’s encouraging me to enjoy life–Him, my family, and my friends. He’s speaking peace to my mind and to my heart. He says, “Laugh.”

 
 
Come alongside… What is He singing to you?

 

Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Life is Good, Positive Promotions, BloomThat, CesarsWay, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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