Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
September 18th, 2013


Sixty-five years ago, when I was pregnant with our first baby, my mother made this christening dress. That first child, Wendy, was baptized on the way home from the hospital, at the age of ten days. We did not know, at the time, about the dress. Teresa Marie, our second baby, was the first to wear it. When I look at it today I am so afraid that I sent my mother a letter saying “Thank you for the lovely dress.” That would have been so inadequate! It is absolutely awesome! Imagine the work and the hours that went into it! Behold the tiny tucks, the crocheted inserts and tatted edges, the delicate embroidery. You never in your life saw such teeny hand-stitched buttonholes! French seams, of course. And a matching slip.

Mom, belatedly, please know I really appreciate everything you did for me and for us all.



Much love from your first-born (practice) baby. See you.

Dorothy Agnes

March 17th, 2013


Here is my nominee for the WORLD PRIZE, the best prize ever. The WORLD PRIZE should go to the producer of this Power Point. Think of the understanding, wisdom, beauty, eloquence, talent, love, etc. that went into this!

January 29th, 2013


I can’t get enough of Amy and Ryne’s wedding!   The photographs were planned and posed and  beautiful but this video which just arrived via email shows clearly the extraordinary talent of the photographer who apparently could herd cats if necessary.  I love the way she gets bunches of giggling, jiggling men and women somehow arranged to result in gorgeous pictures.   Also, the mother and father of the bride (daughter Katy and her husband Ken) are more in evidence and, since I couldn’t be there, I do appreciate the opportunity to hear Ken’s “father of the bride” words and to see Katy dance!

January 1st, 2013


I cannot get enough of the wedding of granddaughter, Amy, and her beloved Ryne. Fortunately for me they had superb planning, no matter how you want to look at it, and a photographer who made the most of the beauty she had to work with. Enjoy. And pray the marriage will live up to the hype.

Amy & Ryne’s Trailer from Two Are Better on Vimeo.

August 26th, 2012




Robert Beck
And a FAMILY is born, and my life filled with a wonderment, and newfound purpose indescribable to anyone whom hasn’t experienced it themselves…

What hath God wrought? LOVE this pic.  


Laura VonBeck
July 11 via BlackBerry Smartphones App


April 5th, 2012


Despite my great age, I was not raised listening to Enrico Caruso (1873-1921). Tito Schipa (1888-1965) was the name on the red label we played on our Victrola. Since a friend loaned me a VHS recording of the movie, The Great Caruso (1951), I have been in opera heaven, reliving my past. It was my good fortune to marry a devotee of John McCormack, which  reinforced my love of a good tenor voice.

I cannot say enough good things about The Great Caruso, starring Mario Lanza as Caruso and Ann Blyth as his wife.  It is amazing the number of operatic arias and tid-bits they fit into that one movie, which seems to me to be rather long but holding interest all the way.   Who in that day could have made a better Caruso?  Lanza’s voice is spectacular (he was the best tenor of his time), and even his acting is good enough.   (Hear him sing O Holy Night.)   What a blessing that he was able to make this movie before his untimely death at 37.

I was able to listen to Tito Schipa’s La Donna e Mobile on YouTube (where it has had over three million hits) but embedding was disabled by request. It is as bouncy and joyful as I recall it. His O Sole Mio, however, was available.

John McCormack AND Enrico Caruso sing Una Furtiva Lagrima

John McCormack singing Il Mio Tesoro.

Everyone knows of the success of the four tenors of Il Divo. They keep me singing nowadays. (I guess I had a serious senior moment when I forgot to mention Andrea Bocelli! How many Bocelli concerts have it been to?)


March 18th, 2012


A CHILD – Little Boy Blue

A NATION – Have You Forgotten?

A SOLDIER –  The Vacant Chair – In Memory of Lt. William Grout, Killed in Action, Balls Bluff, Virginia, 1861.


BEAUTY – Ave Verum

March 10th, 2012


Until this very day I did not even know  that  the Irish tenor John McCormack starred in a movie way back in 1930.   It seems so, so strange, after listening to him over these many  years on red label Victor records, vinyl records, and even today on YouTube, that I can all of a sudden see him as he sings The Rose of Traleee  and Plaisir d’Amour  and other beloved songs of old.

It all happened because my son, Dan,  gave me a TV at Christmas-time with a bigger screen, and took away my old TV that was able to play VHS tapes and DVD recordings.   I suddenly realized that I was now unable to play my collection of VHS tapes which meant I would be unable to watch The Passion of the Christ on Good Friday, as has been my custom.  I wailed and moaned until my good friend Dolores said she had a VCR that had never been unwrapped and son  Johnny installed it for me.  Going through my VHS recordings I came across two that I had never listened to — I have a vague recollection of  their being given to me some years back — one was Ferrucio Tagliavini in the opera Cavalleria Rusticana and the other something called Song O’ My Heart.   I must have been busy at the time and they were long recordings so I tucked them into my library and forgot about them.  Until today.

You need to know that my husband loved John McCormack and his songs are engraved on my heart.    When I finally played Song O’ My Heart  there was John McCormack singing (and singing and singing) in a sentimental movie written just to display his talent.   It is really quite quaint, with the horse-and-buggy, the clothing of the twenties, the Irish brogues and those funny old telephones.  Part of it is set in Ireland and it is said McCormack  was paid $500,000 to do it.  That was real money way back then.

Here is what one reviewer of today had to say about Song O’ My Heart.

This is not a great movie. It isn’t really a very good one, frankly. I can’t imagine any reason to watch it other than to see John McCormack. If you like McCormack, however, it is not to be missed and, while he’s on screen, very enjoyable. Unlike so many other opera singers who have taken a turn on the silver screen, McCormack is very natural and relaxed. He’s fun to watch and, when he sings something good – which is too often not the case, alas – a joy to hear.

Much of what he sings is, in fact, forgettable. But there are two numbers that make time stand still. The first is the Rose of Tralee. It’s not great music, perhaps, but McCormack makes each note a perfectly polished gem in one perfectly arranged necklace. It is nice music elevated by great art to a very moving moment.

And then there is I hear you calling me, the most successful of all McCormack’s many successes. This is beautiful music set to a perfect text. And then performed as no song has ever been performed before or since. Yes, perhaps one of his 78 rpm versions is even better, but the version in this film is already great enough to make time, and breath, stop. The song tells a story, and you follow it as it unfolds. In the last verses, when he goes up to the suspended high note on “I hear you CALLING me,” you would think that you in fact heard his beloved calling him from beyond the grave. It makes you understand why Caruso envied McCormack his pianissimos.

So here we have  John McCormack in Song o’ My Heart singing  I Hear You Calling Me.  It was recorded in Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium, 5th and Grand, with Edwin Schneider at the piano.  This was the second talkie, after Jazz Singer.

The VHS recording that  I have was apparently videotaped from a Visual Artists International presentation of Firestone Classic Performances.  It can also be purchased in a 1991 release on Amazon.


February 15th, 2012


Whitney in her prime gives a flawless performance of the National Anthem, 1991.

Whitney Houston in a gospel medley with Cece Winans.

Whitney sings YES, JESUS LOVES ME below.

The last song Whitney  sang in public, only a day or two before her death, was also Jesus Loves Me, in an impromptu duet with 2011 Grammy nominee Kelly Price.


CBN News spoke with Houston’s godmother, Gospel singer Shirley Caesar.

Caesar said regardless of how Houston died, she was seeking to overcome her troubles through her faith.

“I know she had been in Houston, Texas, and I don’t know where else. She had met up with Kim Burrell, but they were together praising God, speaking in tongues, and giving God the glory,” Caesar told CBN News.

“She wasn’t there to try and put on heirs, to make somebody believe something. This girl was prostrate on the floor, on the floor crying out to God. Why? Because she wanted total deliverance and it’s only the Lord who will judge her to say as to whether or not she makes it in,” Ceasar said.  Read more.

Finally, a tribute by a Taiwanese singer!!

I Will Always Love You – Amazing Taiwanese Singer in Memorable Whitney Houston Performance from yabbadabbadoo on GodTube.

Kim Burrell tells about her friend Whitney and their last phone call.Young Australian boy sings Whitney Houston:

14 Year-Old Has Astonishing God-Given Voice from theremix on GodTube.


December 25th, 2011


Over two years ago Susan Boyle burst upon the scene in Britain’s Got Talent. I wrote then on my blog that we should all pray for her. She was such a surprise – so talented – so unpolished. I still tear up when I watch that first performance. I think those prayers worked. Despite her tremendous success she does not seem all that changed. She has been ‘spruced up’ but is still pretty much the same Susan. And she can still sing!

Let us pray.