Why the title BLESSED? Of course, one of the songs in the album, with words borrowed from the Sermon on the Mount, is entitled "Blessed." But there is far more to it than that. Blessed is one word that could describe my life. I am blessed with a nice family, good health, good genes, good luck, and pleasant surroundings. When I don't have enough time, finances, or know-how to do everything I would like to do, I don't feel so blessed, but down in my core, I know I am blessed. My triplet pregnancy was difficult, risky, and stressful. The obstetrician more than once treated me for fetus-threatening problems, but delivered my babies at a safe 35 weeks. When he discharged me from the hospital after the delivery, he told me he had been very concerned that I would miscarry. He said, "You are really blessed." I replied, "Yes, I am." My little girl, one of the triplets, nearly died of severe pneumonia when she was four and one-half years old. The interns, fellows, and residents in their rounds in the Intensive Care Unit actually took a vote on whether she would survive the trauma to her lungs. Most thought she would die, a few were sitting on the fence, but none said definitely she would live. That is not what a parent wants to hear. I tearfully told the two or three doctors in our meeting that we thought our daughter just needed some time to heal, and we were hoping for a miracle. We had lots of people praying for us, and I spent a lot of time crying and praying in the hospital chapel. Track number three, "Hear Me Now When I Pray," reflects elements of that experience. We got our miracle. One of the ICU doctors later told us that in the nearly twenty years she had worked there, she had never seen a child as sick as our daughter was who lived. Some day maybe I can write a song about it. Until then, I highly recommend Stephen Schwartz' beautiful "When You Believe" from The Prince of Egypt. When I look at my sweet, busy daughter, how can I help but know that I am blessed? I must add that I feel badly for the parents whose outcomes were not so fortunate. I also am blessed to be able to sing, and some people have said they like my voice. I am sure some people do not like my voice, also. I can only do my best and hope that a few others will find a blessing in it. I have been writing bits of songs since I was a child. That is a long time, since I am approaching the beginning of my second half-century. However, I had rarely completed a song including accompaniment before 2004, and I actually thought I might eventually need to hire a musician to write the instrumental background arrangements, an expense I could not really afford. When I offered to sing a solo for one of the summer Sundays at our church in 2004, I began looking at the music in my personal library of sheet music. Finding few pieces that I thought were special enough to spend my time on, I decided to attempt writing one myself. The advantage of this approach is the ability to emphasize the note range in which my own voice is prettiest, and to develop a melody that is both beautiful and challenging to sing. Generally, the melody develops in my head first, and later I try to fit words to it. In this case, I was thinking about a poem written by Margaret Widdemer and quoted in the book entitled A White Bird Flying by Bess Streeter Aldrich. Here is the poem that helped develop the lyric theme and the musical accompaniment for "A Promise for Tomorrow." Pain has been, and grief enough, and bitterness and crying. Sharp ways and stony ways I think it was she trod; But all there is to see now is a white bird flying, Whose bloodstained wings go circling high-circling up to God! I did not use the Widdemer poem for my lyrics, but I tried to create the feeling of birds gliding in the breeze with the notes. The white birds in my lyrics represent souls on a path to heaven. The "Promise" is, of course, God's promise for everlasting life, as well as a promise to help us cope with the daily problems inherent in our lives on earth. I did not confer with Interim Associate Pastor Reverend Nan Sollo about the topic of her sermon prior to writing my special music for that Sunday in 2004. Her sermon happened to be about God's promise to Abraham when he was already an old man. Coincidence? I think not, and neither did she. "God works in mysterious, and sometimes scary, ways," I recall her saying. I sang a second title for that service. It was "Bless Us All" by Paul Williams from The Muppet Christmas Carol, a song I had been longing to hear performed in church. "A Promise for Tomorrow" is the composition that gave me the confidence to know that I could write not only the melody and words, but the complete score. I still have much to learn about harnessing the orchestra in my keyboard, but I am looking forward to the challenge.