Happy Blog-iversary!

As of today, I have been blogging for an entire year! I’ve had a couple of blogs in the past, but none that have lasted this long or had any sort of following whatsoever, so this is quite exciting. I’ve been able to unpack thoughts on this blog, as well as share fun facts about my life and travels.

What does the future hold for Perfect Harmonies? Since this is purely a hobby for me, I don’t plan on trying to make any significant income from it. However, it is a very fun hobby and I’d love to grow my content and readership, so I do plan on making some improvements and implementing some new ideas around here. Look for fun changes over the next few months!

To celebrate Perfect Harmonies’ first birthday, here are some of my favorite and most significant posts from the past year.

The realization that my life struggles happen for a reason.

A solo trip to the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studios in London.

How I view my role as a wife, and what’s awesome about being married to T.

Top five things I’ve learned from working at a dental office.

One of the most life-changing decisions I’ve ever made.

Why every kid needs cousins, and why we will eventually give our nephew some of his own.

The story behind my right-hand ring.

Traveling to Brazil? Here are some of my observations about the Portuguese language.

How I overcame one of my biggest fears.

25 days of Christmas music.

The greatest trip of my life.

How to be awesome at public transportation.

I hope you enjoy reading Perfect Harmonies as much as I enjoy writing it! What are some of your favorite posts?

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Casting Crowns – Peace On Earth

Merry Christmas, everyone! What a joy it is to celebrate the birth of our Savior!

I’ve been saving the best for last in the Christmas Album Countdown. Today I give you my favorite Christmas album, the one I’ve been listening to on repeat since Halloween (don’t judge). This is the one that T and I will have playing in our house today as we celebrate Christmas with my family. It’s Peace On Earth by Casting Crowns.

Casting Crowns has been one of my favorite Christian bands since high school. Besides the fact that their music is singable-along-to, their songs address profound spiritual issues and doctrines as well as social justice. I’ve had my soul spoken to on more than one occasion by a Casting Crowns song (like this one). I’m so glad they have a Christmas album, because it falls right in line with how I perceive their music.

The album includes a handful of standard Christmas carols, like “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Away in a Manger,” and quite possibly my favorite version of “Silent Night.” They also perform a few of their original songs, such as “While You Were Sleeping,” “Christmas Offering,” which our church has since adopted as a congregational worship song, and “God Is With Us,” which I have sung as a solo in Christmas Eve services. The album concludes with a beautiful piano-accompanied arrangement of “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” which reminds us that the world had no idea what Christ’s birth would lead to. This is followed by the closing track, a haunting violin solo of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” that leaves us with a heavy sense of anticipation.

It’s really hard to choose a favorite track to share with you, so here is the one I know T would choose. It’s the opening song on the album, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” but like you’ve never heard it before. Enjoy the song (and the rest of the album), have an absolutely wonderful Christmas, and may the birth of Jesus bring joy and peace to your hearts today.

Who Am I

Earlier this week, I posted a little bit about the career/existential crisis that I’m currently going through and the criteria for my mysterious, elusive dream job. Last night, as I was driving home from seeing Susannah at San Francisco Opera, I had a revelation.

I was listening to the song “Who Am I” by Casting Crowns, which is still a fantastic song even though it was released when I was in high school. One repetitive section of the lyrics goes, “Not because of who I am, but because of what you’ve done / Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who you are.” I was singing along, and all of a sudden I realized that so much of my time and energy during this existential crisis has been devoted to wondering how I would identify myself if I decided not to pursue opera as a career anymore. I wouldn’t be able to call myself an “opera singer” or a “professional singer,” and that’s been a hard bridge to cross.

But what if the very reason I’m struggling with singing and having this existential crisis is just that?

What if God is actually, purposefully taking away the possibility of a singing career BECAUSE he wants me to find my identity in something other than being a singer? Specifically, being a follower of Jesus?

And also, how did I not realize this before?

1 John 3:1 says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” There’s no better identity than that.

I know many of you don’t share my beliefs, and that’s okay. I know some of you might think I’m overreacting to the rejection that comes as a normal part of a singing career, and that’s fine too. But as soon as I made this realization last night, I knew it was the truth. God doesn’t tempt us or test our faith, but sometimes he puts up roadblocks or challenges in our lives in order to bring our focus back to him. I’ve known for a long time that I need a new perspective on singing, and now I’ve taken the first mental step towards not letting it control my life.

Finding my identity and worth in God instead of singing won’t hurt me at all––I know I’ll be able to continue singing. It’s not like God is asking me to never sing another note. What it will do is put me on the path that I should be on, that I should have been on all this time: living my life with Jesus as the central focus, not how/when/where/what I will be able to sing next. It will only be good for me, and I know it’s the truth because just thinking about it gives me peace.

I wish I had three-hour solo time every week... I might have made this realization a long time ago.

I wish I had three-hour solo time every week… I might have made this realization a long time ago.