Mother and me at Landis Homes, Lititz, Pennsylvania, July, 2013

Did you grow up singing hymns in church?

For me, almost nothing stirs my soul like a hymn, especially those sung in four parts with other singers who are listening carefully to each other.

This love of music started early in my life. I wrote about learning to sing a cappella music in my memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. You can read an excerpt here.

When I want to go back into the past, I often listen to hymns sung by the Mennonite Hour singers, the excellent musicians whose program came to our local radio station on Sundays.

And when I visit mother at Landis Homes Retirement Community today, we often gather around to sing some of the old favorites.

One of those favorites, “The Love of God” is the one I suggested to Mother spontaneously when my college friends and I visited her. She didn’t have this one in her repertoire of well-practiced songs, and we are not trained musicians, but here we are making a joyful noise with Mother. One of the joys of singing exalted words is that you can hit a few notes off-key and still feel the spirit. 🙂

So, my New Beginning this week is to do a book video trailer. That’s certainly new for me.

What’s your New Beginning? Log it here. We are nearing 500 entries in the 100 Day Challenge. I continue to be inspired, amused, and touched by your words. Blessings on your day. Embrace your blush!

Shirley B. Yoder created a floral 36. Just over a month until Blush launches!



Shirley Showalter


  1. Lovella on August 15, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I enjoyed hearing this well loved hymn. I also grew up learning four part harmony with all the beautiful hymns. I was listening to a beautiful acapella version this morning of I Need Thee Every Hour by Sam Robson on Youtube. I was reminded how my mom would so often say she needed a rest and would request that I sit and play her favorite hymns and this particular hymn was one of her favorites. She’s been with the Lord since ’95 but I miss her still and would love a chance to see her smile as she sings…much like you dear ladies were singing today.

  2. shirleyhs on August 15, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Lovella, I can picture you and your mother singing together as rest from work. I can imagine that she would have been thrilled by the way in which you and your own friends have created a community of care around food.

    Being able to share the book with my mother and to read the dedication to her at Christmas has been a deep joy. I am more aware of the blessing because so many other friends are unable to stop from work and rest and sing with their mothers. Glad you could join us.

  3. Catherine Mumaw on August 15, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Loved hearing the four of you singing with your Mother at the old pump organ. Precious memories. And Shirley Yoder’s floral “36” is lovely too. I ordered “Blush” last night and am eager to read the entire book! Just a little more than a month to go!!

    • shirleyhs on August 16, 2013 at 6:52 am

      Thanks, Catherine. These were sweet moments. I’m trying to capture as many of them as possible. And I’m so grateful for people like Shirley who help us get to the finish line on the launch.

  4. Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler on August 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I sang along with you. Then I sat with the tears that welled up.

    • shirleyhs on August 16, 2013 at 6:53 am

      You know. There’s nothing that reaches us like the music of our childhoods. Thanks for sharing. Dolores.

      BTW, I just ordered The Real Dirt on Farmer John.

    • Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler on August 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      Some of my favorite scenes in “The Real Dirt..” are Farmer John with his mother.

  5. Marian Beaman on August 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    The Love of God is my mother’s favorite hymn and she often sang it, always off key, in the kitchen making breakfast on school days. It will be sung at her funeral as she has requested.

    Shirley, we became unhooked somehow, and I have not been receiving notices of your blog posts via WordPress. Thankfully, I discovered this post on your FB page. All’s well that ends well, I guess.

    • shirleyhs on August 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      I’m not surprised to see hear your mother loves this hymn, Marian. I think most people who love language have been stirred by the immensity of God’s love in the imagery, especially of the third verse.

      I wonder what might have happened to our connection. If you instruct WordPress to send you all posts after you make a comment, maybe you can reconnect? I hope so.

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