Oct 282015
 
hat for a catThe sun did not shine. It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day.
~Dr. Seuss

One day back in the dark ages when I was about six, I sat at our living room window watching my hope for a day outdoors melting in a steady downpour.

“WHY DOES IT ALWAYS HAVE TO RAIN?!?!?!” I said. It wasn’t really a question.

My grandmother answered anyway: “You should be thankful. You won’t have anything to eat if the farmers don’t get their rain.”

I thought about food… ice cream… Reeses Peanut Butter Cups… hamburgers and french fries… And because you need rain to make food, for the first time in my young life I considered this idea:

A trial and a blessing may be one and the same.

Today’s first song grew from that seed my grandmother planted, though it took its time doing it.

A little over a year ago, my brother learned that he had multiple sclerosis. At the time, I was ignorant about MS. So I did some research, and as I read about signs and symptoms, I saw… myself. This past summer, the diagnosis was confirmed.

MS. Well then.

When something unexpected and difficult descends on your life, a comfortable faith must become a conscious faith. You have to choose to believe that a trial and a blessing can be one and the same. You have to choose gratitude instead of self-pity or resentment or any of the other un-lovely options that present themselves.

I feel so blessed that the Lord prepared me for this little bend in my road by telling me to practice gratitude. Gratitude has taught me just how near my Heavenly Father really is, every moment of my life. It has taught me that He knows my needs much better than I do. It has shown me that everything–including the hard stuff!–works together for my good.

Gratitude strengthens faith.

What began as a song for a brother then became a song for us both. However, since the summer, I have become more aware of something I knew with my head but now understand with my heart: everyone–everyone!–is dealing with difficult things, visible or not. And so, “When It Rains” became a song for anyone who has to rely on faith when the rain falls.

I’m not sure how useful that song will be in a church setting, but no matter–it was something I wanted to say.

The last new song in the project is a setting of Karen Lynn Davidson’s hymn text “O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown” to the beautiful old minor melody “Kingsfold,” for SATB choir (though it can also be used as a solo, as below.) I list this one last, in the place of honor, because the sacrifice of Jesus Christ makes possible every good thing for which we give thanks, and everything we hope for. There is nothing that we do not owe to Him, because there is nothing He did not endure for us. “What praises can we offer to thank thee, Lord most high?” begins the last verse. The question is answered in the last line: “To thee our love we bring.”

Take one more look at the picture on the album cover. (See it fullscreen here.) See the gorgeous pink in the sky on the left and right? That’s rain, reflecting the sunset. And that mountain in the middle? That’s Mount Hope, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Rain and Hope. The perfect combination for the final installment of this “gratitude project.”

Some random notes:

  • You’ll notice that there is no free download for the vocal track of “O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown.” That’s because I have to pay royalties for that track, and paying royalties on a track that you don’t get paid for yourself is really bad for the budget. (If I had a nickel for every download–just the downloads, not even counting the copies made from them–I’d be a millionaire. Seriously. And if I had to pay a nickel for every download… )
  • The remaining tracks on the album are: “Lift Up Your Heart” and “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee” (both new recordings of existing material); and “This is My Father’s World” and “He is My All (duet with Heather Prusse)” (both existing recordings that just seemed to fit the theme).
  • A big “Thank You!” to everyone who contributed to this project–Jana and Sarah on Violin, Jeff for his photography, Tj and Heather for their contributions to the duets. Thanks X 1000 to James Loynes, the vocalist, for being my voice, singing my heart, and Skyping to try new material at the drop of a hat. I know some really wonderful people.
If you want to be happy,
be grateful.
(It’s only right to end where I began. Happy Wednesday!)

  12 Responses to “Rain and Hope: The last “Gratitude Project” Installment.”

  1.  

    Sally DeFord, you are a shining star in this universe! Thank you for blending words and melody so beautifully, and for making them available to a world audience. May the angels bear you up in this new challenge that you face!

  2.  

    I have long been a fan of your music, whether playing, singing, or accompanying it. Thank you for your selfless giving of your music. And, now that I have found your blog, and read about your recent diagnosis, I admire you even more and you will be in my prayers!

  3.  

    I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis of MS! It is a quiet, hidden, frustrating illness. I have lived with it for about 35 years; the Lord has walked (and stumbled) with me every step of the way…even when I didn’t realize it at the time. Stay positive and know he’s with you.

    Thank you for your songs. They touch my heart! Les

  4.  

    Dear Sally,
    How grateful I am for your gift of music so selflessly shared with all of us! You are an amazing woman and gifted musician. I have been a Ward Chorister and music chairman since I was 19 (now 70) and was blessed to find your music and have it shared in our Ward. Our Ward choir will be singing “No Room, No Room” this year in our Christmas Sacrament meeting along with a women’s trio singing “When Mary Sang Her Lullaby”, our young men and young women will be singing “If I Had Been in Bethlehem” and my granddaughter and niece will be singing “On a Still and Starry Night”(hope you don’t mind but I wrote an alto part for them), plus I have an sister with a beautiful voice singing “There Within a Stable”. We have a sister in our Ward that plays the flute beautifully so she will also be accompanying a couple of the numbers. Our Young Women will also be singing “My Grateful Spirit Sings” before Thanksgiving. We have used so much of your beautiful music and I’m so thankful that you don’t charge for it so that I can make 30 copies for our Ward Choir and not have to go to the Bishop for funds to pay for it. A thank you seems shallow, but God bless you for all you do to bless our lives with your God-given musical talents and abilities.

  5.  

    Even before I knew you personally, your music touched my life. It’s such an honor to know you.
    Hugs

  6.  

    I LOVE your music! I have used several of your selections for the ward choir. They enjoy singing it, they sound even better and the ones listening love it too. Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your example and inspiration and will keep you in my prayers!

  7.  

    You and your music are a tender mercy in this journey. What a wonderful photo: rain reflecting glowing, heavenly color, surrounding “Hope”. Perfect.

  8.  

    Sally, you are amazing!!

  9.  

    Thank-you so much for your generosity in sharing your gift of music with all of us. Your music brings me such joy. I have often been blessed with the sweet witness of the Spirit as I have sung or led or listened to your music. Big hugs.

  10.  

    Thank you for the letter, its message of hope and gratitude and for sharing your music.

  11.  

    Songs like “When It Rains” and the other ones – can we get them as piano selections or
    solos ——- I play in the conference center and would love to play some of them there

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