Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011: Music and Dance

Day 11: Music

I am so thankful for music.  I don't think I go a day without music at some point.  Often there is music playing in our home throughout the day.  We love to sing in our car, around the house, and sometimes wherever we are (especially my husband).  We are a family who loves music. 

Music evokes emotion.  This is why I am careful to chose which types of music I let into my household, car, and mind.  Music stays with us.  This is why many commercials and companies have jingles to get their message stuck in our heads.  There is a mystery to music.  How does it have so much influence?  How can it bring on specific emotions?  It always amazes me when I am suddenly transported to another time or place in my mind when listening to a song.  Music brings back memories - good or bad.

You probably will not be surprised that my favorite music to listen to, dance to, sing to, and keep in my mind are songs that remind me of truth.  I want to listen to songs that remind me of who God is and who I am as a result.  I love songs that belt out His praises and worship Him for how great He is.  I love singing along to these.  I love hearing my children sing (or try) the words of these songs.  So many children are exposed to music with lyrics that are far too mature for them, and it breaks my heart.  Those words stay in their minds and as they grow their ideas and perspectives are shaped by them.  What are your children listening to when it comes to music?

I also love music without lyrics and with lyrics in other languages.  I first make sure that the lyrics in other languages still are congruent with my belief system because I want to support that which is good and true.  I love music from other cultures, and I love exposing my children to it.  Music without words or with words I cannot understand usually inspires imagination and creativity.

Music lifts me up.  Music has helped me through difficult times and has expressed the joy my words cannot in exciting times.  I even enjoy just one guy drumming on a bench at a bus stop.  Music moves me.

There are so many references to music, song, instruments, and singing in the Bible - too many to list here.  Music is important.  We'll even be singing in Heaven!

Here is one of my favorites, though:

"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.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

I am so thankful for music.  Thank You, LORD!

Day 12: Dance

I fell in love with dance back in middle school.  Actually it first started with baton twirling and then led to more exposure to dance.  I started out with mostly hip hop and jazz, and through high school began to learn more about ballet and modern/contemporary dance.  Finally in college I started taking dance classes and began the process of becoming a dancer.  I am so thankful for my experiences and education in college.  I had such great instruction from my teachers and from fellow students.  I learned years and years worth in just four years.  I am very grateful because I would not be who I am today without the fun and learning experiences of dancing with a pre-professional dance company in college. 

Since then I have danced professionally at churches and other events, but a special place remains in my heart for those first dance concerts where I was completely both terrified and at home on stage.  Modern dance quickly became my favorite, and it remains so still. 

Dance is not just about performing on a stage for an audience, though.  Dance is another expression of worship.  Often at church while singing along to the songs we sing, in my head I am dancing.  I am dancing and worshipping the LORD through the expression of dance.  Sometimes I really just want to bust out right then and there, but because I don't want to distract others I usually just tap my foot and move in place. 

I also am thankful for ballroom dances like swing, salsa, tango, fox trot, and many others.  My husband and I enjoy dancing along when we get the opportunity for those, like at weddings.  There is just something about dance that touches my very soul.  It is a part of who I am.  I love that, and I love when I get to share that with my husband.  He has a lot of natural talent, which I praise the LORD for.

I pray that as I continue to dance, I can also encourage others to do the same.  I look forward to choreography and making dances for others.  I love watching my children dance around to music, and I always try to help them feel free to just dance.  It doesn't have to look like a professional ballerina to be called beautiful.  Dance comes from within because of a joy or sorrow that need expressing.  I always enjoy going to dance performances, and it is even more fun to go as a family.

I am so thankful for dance.  I thank the LORD for giving dance to me in my life, and I want to dance for His glory.

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