Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Finding my voice

I come from a musical family, as evidenced by my kids' singing. My mom used to play the guitar, and many of her siblings play instruments. Her father played guitar in a country-western band, and her mother was always playing the piano or the accordian. My great-grandfather could pick up any instrument and play the Red River Waltz on it. I took band and choir in junior high, and dropped band to focus on choir in high school. I sang all the time: in the car, in the shower, in church, and at school. But sometime after high school I stopped singing anywhere. When I did try to sing a song in church, my voice was creaky, and it was hard to hit the high notes. About seven years ago I found my voice again for a time, but being sick for the last two years took it away again. Yesterday I loaded up a CD holder with CD's I love to sing to and put it in the van. On the way to run errands, I sang to the Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces (I hate their politics, but the girls can sing). I found myself smiling and singing out loud. I can't do that with the older two kids in the car, but with just Mia, it's ok to just be myself for awhile. Today on the way to work and school, I sang to the Indigo Girls' Swamp Ophelia (my favorite CD of all time), and it felt good. Mia must not mind my singing too much, she fell asleep both days! I had forgotten how I love to listen to music and to sing along. I think I'll be putting some CD's on my Christmas list. Especially Carole King's Tapestry. I remember listening to my mom's album and trying to sing along at Mia's age. Every song reminds me of time with Mom. Today pull out some music that makes you smile and find your voice again.

Servant of the Gods by Amy Wolff Sorter was not the book I was expecting. Deborah the prophet from the book of Judges in the Bible is best known for The Song of Deborah and her leading troops into battle with Barak. Sorter gives this story a historical romance treatment that may have Christians who are expecting traditional Biblical fiction up in arms. But this is a book that needs to be accepted on its own terms. Devorah (Sorter's name for the character) is a priestess of Anat about to undergo a major ritual for her people when she encounters Aryeh, a Mosesite from the tribe of Simeon. Both are shaken by the meeting and soon are fleeing for their lives from the repercussions. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but it's full of twists and turns. Some of the connections between characters are a bit soap opera-esque, but the romance between Aryeh and Devorah is compelling. The sex in the book is similar to that of other historical romances on the market, but would be a bit of a surprise to the traditional Christian fiction reader. I really enjoyed how Sorter made the characters human. Although Devorah had a close relationship with God, she still struggled with lust, doubts, and the need for revenge. The other characters evince their weaknesses believably as well. There is a tendency among Biblical fiction writers to keep their characters a bit too clean, but as seen in the Bible itself, God worked best among those who struggled and sinned. Read this book with your eyes wide open, knowing what to expect, and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.

I'm currently reading David Crowder's Praise Habit and Alexander Rose's Washington's Spies. I'm almost through with my Revolutionary War books, then it's on to Thomas Jefferson's presidency.