Celebrate with Song: “Teach Me to Love”—the first person to post a comment wins a free copy of this song!

Andy Morffew Singing in the Rain with words featuredCelebrating second chances in song

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“Teach Me to Love,” recorded in 2000, is one of my favorite songs for several reasons.

@Peta_de_Aztlan Mother-Teresa-collage. Flickr Creative Commons
@Peta_de_Aztlan Mother-Teresa-collage. Flickr Creative Commons

It’s about Blessed Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa died right around the same time that Princess Diana died. With Diana dominating the headlines, there was very little attention focused upon what had been a living saint. It was then that I sat down and wrote “Teach Me to Love” so that I could honor this woman small in stature who loomed large in her service to the poor.

Who is that singing with me?

I love “Teach Me to Love” for another reason– because my daughter Meredith, then eleven, sang on this song with me. Here she is in the recording studio:

tm2a-640

This is the result:

Eight years later, Meredith and I had a chance to sing “Teach Me to Love” at our parish coffeehouse and someone captured it on video:

Part of the healing process

River of Grace Creative Passages Through Difficult Times“Teach Me to Love” was an important song when it came to learning to sing again after losing my voice. In River of Grace I write,

“That first small step back to music was taken with my high school confirmation class. After hearing a speaker who had worked with Mother Teresa, we returned to our classrooms to discuss it. As music has a unique way of conveying a message, I wanted to present the right song to the class that would affirm what we had learned about Mother Teresa’s mission while creating an atmosphere conducive to prayer and reflection. Searching through my iPod, I came upon one of my own songs called “Teach Me to Love.” The words were perfect but the song was recorded in a way that would not produce the ambiance I desired. I paused, wondering if I still had the voice to sing it live in front of my students. Singing to them in person would create a sense of intimacy that a recording could never achieve. I decided to go for it. I loved these kids and wanted to give them the best opportunity for meaningful prayer and reflection. The result was that sweet stillness in the air followed by spontaneous applause. By overcoming fear I was able to lead my students into a sacred moment. I gave; the gift was returned, and it became a prayer.”

teach me to love“Teach Me to Love” is part of the Teach Me to Love CD.

You can win a free copy of “Teach Me to Love”
by being the first to comment on this post.
I will email you the mp3 file.

Good luck!

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Celebrating a second chance with singing!

You lose something precious, an essential part of yourself.

You grieve. And rail. You lament. And cry.

You tick down a long list of regrets, of missed (and botched) opportunities.

You think it’s all over.

And then, you get a second chance.

Designhuone.net Second Chance logo
Designhuone.net Second Chance logo, Flickr Creative Commons

Four years ago I lost my music. The singing voice disappeared. The songwriting stopped. The passion died.

Or so I thought.

Continue reading “Celebrating a second chance with singing!”

Announcing my first book to be published this Fall! River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times

River of Grace Creative Passages Through Difficult Times
River of Grace is currently available for pre-sale on Amazon. The book will be released on October 30, 2015.

I am pleased to announce that my very first book, River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times will be released this Fall, published by Ave Maria Press!

A memoir with life application

River of Grace is part spiritual memoir and part life application, offering true and hopeful stories of growth and transformation after hard losses.

Father Robert Reed, president of CatholicTV and author of Renewed writes of the book:

“If you, like me, have experienced failure or loss and can’t quite find your way out of the darkness, Susan Bailey offers gentle reflections with graceful tools that bring light, creative renewal and a fuller Christian life.”

Amy Belding Brown, author of Mr. Emerson’s Wife and Flight of the Sparrow (which I reviewed last year) writes:

“Susan Bailey’s powerful and beautifully-written book is much more than an insightful spiritual memoir.  River of Grace is also a brilliant reflection on the connections between creativity and grace. Deeply grounded in a profound Christian faith, the author chronicles her personal experiences of loss and shows how they were transformed as she learned to accept and respond to new challenges. This wonderful book also includes a valuable assortment of exercises that will enrich your spiritual life and gently guide you to confront your own difficulties and deepen your relationship with God. Anyone who seeks to discern God’s purposes in life’s most challenging situations will find this book one to cherish.”

Seasons of loss

Just about all of us can cite a time in our lives whether now or in the past, where we have lost something precious to us.

  • Perhaps it’s been the death of a parent or a child.
  • Or, you yourself are suffering through a long illness.
  • It could be a long stretch of unemployment causing financial difficulties, even the loss of your home.
  • Maybe you’ve lost a best friend due to a falling out.
  • Perhaps you’ve recently put down a beloved pet.

These are all serious losses that tear at us, causing grief or anxiety or anger. Where do we find the strength to pick up the pieces and carry on?

Could a serious loss signal a new life, even a transformed life?

This is what I write about in River of Grace, beginning with the loss of my parents and then my singing voice. Through the means of a kayak and my love for Louisa May Alcott, God led me on an amazing, joy-filled and sometimes crazy adventure within his river of grace, leading up to this book and beyond.

Stories and tools

River of Grace is not just book of stories. I provide practical tools so that you too can go on your amazing adventure. These “Flow Lessons” appear throughout the book and will also be available on this website.

In the weeks to come, I will share quotes and stories from River of Grace. Please spread the word to everyone you know who has gone through a season of loss or is just looking to jump start their spiritual and creative lives.

Available in many formats

River of Grace will be available as a print book, e-book and audio book (through Audible.com and iTunes). Just this past week I started the process of recording the book. My thanks to producer extraordinaire Ron Zabrocki for his expertise (he produced several of my music CDs).

recording montage

Here is more on River of Grace:

Writing River of Grace and having it published by such a well-respected publisher has been a dream come true. I would definitely classify it as a “crazy adventure!”

River of Grace Creative Passages Through Difficult TimesPlease share this post on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, through email with anyone whom you think would benefit from reading my book. Feel free to share the book cover. Your recommendation is the best way to get the word out.

I will let you know just as soon as it is available when you can order River of Grace. Signing up for my email list is the best way to be the first to know.

I can’t wait to share this book with you!

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My unexpected miracle healing (part one)

In the last post I wrote about my dear friend and the inner healing she received from God as she copes with Ménière’s disease.

I would now like to share my own story of healing from God, a healing I consider miraculous.

sue with classical guitar croppedSome of you may know that I was a professional singer and songwriter, focusing on songs about my faith. For many years I recorded CDs and appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. I was blessed with the opportunity to perform at World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto. I served for thirty-seven years in various capacities of music ministry in my home parish.

I poured my heart and soul into my music. Only my faith and my family meant more.

Four years ago, only a few months after my mother died I noticed that my voice was becoming weak. It always seemed to fail when I was performing in front of a crowd. Sometimes the clear, strong sound I was accustomed to would sail out of my throat; at other times this weak and wobbly noise would come out instead. I never knew when it would happen and I cringed at the sound of it.

My voice had been rock-solid; now it was erratic.
Once totally at home in front of people, I became terrified of singing in public.

I had to put a halt to my music career. I stopped doing live performances and resigned from music ministry at my parish.

It was a difficult loss to accept and the grieving process was not unlike mourning the death of my mother.

Four years later I can claim a healing.

It was completely unexpected and not something I asked for.

from http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=28
from http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=28

It began with having my throat blessed by the priest after mass in honor of the feast of St. Blaise. St. Blaise is the patron saint of ailments of the throat; legend has it that he cured a boy who got a fishbone caught in his throat.

from www.itmonline.org
from http://www.itmonline.org

The priest takes two candles crossed together and places them on the throat while reciting a short prayer.

The line was long since the priest insisted on doing the blessings himself. It gave me time to reflect. Did I want a healing? Did I believe I could be healed? I nearly stepped out of line but decided to stay. After my throat was blessed I left the church in tears.

I had no idea what would come of it. It turned out to be far more than I ever expected.

Consider this scripture where Jesus says “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 (NIV).

Consider too the story of the handful of loaves and fishes feeding five thousand from Matthew 14:13-21.

These two scripture passages set the stage for the healing I was about to receive because I left myself open to what God wanted to give.

Stay tuned …

miracle of the loaves and fishes
miracle of the loaves and fishes

Click to Tweet & Share: My unexpected miracle healing (part one) http://wp.me/p2D9hg-Du

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A simple prayer reflection for Good Friday

This is from my latest column on Catholicmom.com. It is taken from the Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary booklet.

5th-sorrowful-betania-II-for-web-294x400
photo taken at Betania II, Medway, MA – from the Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary

Much has been said by wiser minds on all that took place on Good Friday. As I cannot add anything to enhance these insights, I thought instead to offer you a simple meditation on the crucifix as a way of honoring and learning from our Lord’s great suffering for us.

Gazing upon the crucifix, begin by reciting or chanting “Lord, have mercy” five times (you can chant the phrase by just singing the same note for each word). Each time it is recited, focus on a wound on Christ’s body.

For example, recite “Lord, have mercy” and meditate on Christ’s feet. Recite it again and focus on the left hand. Recite it a third time and meditate on the right hand. Recite it again and gaze on the wound in his side. Then recite it a fifth time and focus on the head.

Repeat this cycle eight times, thus reciting or chanting the prayer forty times in total.

In my meditations I found, for example, that as I focused on the nail marks in His feet, I thought about where those feet had traveled. I studied the wounded hands and wondered whom they had healed. I thought about his heart, pierced and yet so full of love. I thought about the head and the emotional and mental agony he went through, and yet also marveled at all the wisdom and knowledge that resided in that head. I recalled his teachings, exhortations, and words of comfort.

These are just some of the places where this meditation can take you. May the Spirit of the Living Lord guide you as you gaze upon his wounds and contemplate his love.

For a further Good Friday meditation in video and song, click here.

Click to Tweet & Share: A simple prayer reflection for Good Friday http://wp.me/p2D9hg-Da

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