Archive for voice

God Given Gift of Voice

A few days ago, Ted Williams passed the time standing on the streets of Colombus, OH pleading with strangers to listen to him for just a few seconds. Day after day he held a cardboard sign with his direct request, “I have a god given gift of voice. I’m an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times. Please! Any help will be greatfully appreciated. Thank you and God bless. Happy holidays,” Hundreds of cars passed him by, his desperation no match for tight schedules and closed hearts. Today, the whole country is listening to this homeless man. They are listening to his perfect-pitch. They are listening to his story. They are listening to his heart. Yesterday he was simply a part of the urban backdrop. Today he is “The Man with the Golden Voice.”

Ted’s life story is unique. His challenges, however, are not.  We are each looking for a home for our most authentic voice and gifts. Each of us was born with a golden voice. It was given to us by God to share our unique story with the world….our unique love, our unique compassion, our unique honesty, our unique character, our unique perspective. Some of us have discovered that golden voice and used it. Others have discovered and muted it. And still some of us are still hoping to find its beauty.

Are you using your golden voice or is it muted, the world still waiting to hear it? Perhaps, like Ted, you feel the world is passing up your incredible gifts day after day because of its own apathy. Well, speak up. Demand its listening. Turn the volume on high. God has colored your Your voice in gold and the world is hungry to hear its most perfect pitch.

Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes – goodwill among men and peace on earth.”- Albert Einstein


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Cracking Up

It’s a well known fact that the majority of people would actually rather face the grave than stand in front of a crowd and try to convey an idea or sing a song with sweaty palms, blushing cheeks, and the infamous cracking voice.

After talking to a voice teacher I learned, however, that the cracking voice is actually the sign of something incredible making its way to the surface. Its our most beautiful voice pushing through. You see, our authentic voice is produced by air flowing through a long, complicated tunnel that starts at the pit of our bellies, goes over our larynx, passes our vocal cords and finally comes out our nose and mouth. When that tunnel is fully open, our true voice has the space to make its way through. The problem is that 99% of the time we walk around utterly terrified of one another for one reason or another and our muscles tense up, blocking the flow of air through the tunnel. Sometimes you can feel the butterflies in the pit of your stomach that knot up our tunnel. Other times tense muscles in our neck block out our voice. Sometimes something as simple as our stand-off nature becomes detectable in our pitch. No matter where the tension is in the flow, the result is the same: suppressed, muffled voices posing as safe placeholders for true selves. Fear literally puts barriers in the way of our most clear voice.

When a singer or a speaker stands up on stage and their voice cracks, it is like a hiccup being pushed out of the way of the air flow. Somewhere, tension and nerves have caused their tunnel to tighten and that cracked voice is in fact victory pushing its way through. It doesn’t usually feel victorious when people laugh at the crack up. But the crack is actually fear being pushed aside so that one’s greatest voice has a place to shine. Its the tense moment right before a person gives up their nerves, tensions, and expectations and relaxes enough to simply be themselves.

Next time I hear a singer’s voice crack, I’ll applaud in my heart. In fact, I hope my own life can become filled with crack ups. Opportunities for cracking up only come when you live your life out loud, standing in front of your fears and pushing through them. Its only in allowing myself to crack up, that the beauty inside can make room in the world to be heard.

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I want the whole world to hear me

Autumn in New Jersey is both serene and exhausting. Each year at the end of the season, we would grab our rakes and head outside to collect the fallen leaves for the final bulk leaf pick-up of the season. My parents actually raked. My brother and I hid in leaf piles and threw them at each other—a game that was COMPLETELY counterproductive. I remember one afternoon skipping down the sidewalk as my mother raked the leaves into the street. I looked to the sky and starting YELLING at the top of my lungs. Some of my bellowing was in song. Some were just words I hurled into the air hoping they would echo. After a few minutes of howling, my mother turned and asked “Kimmy, why are you yelling?” I told her, “ I want the whole world to hear me.”

My mother reminded me of those word numerous times throughout my childhood. When I questioned myself, she would smile and say, “Kimmy, I want the whole world to hear you.” She gave me my voice. In fact, she gave it to me, helped me discover it, taught me its strength, and reminded me of its value every day of my life.

My mother taught me  my voice is the result of generations of prayer by my family. She instilled in me an unshakeable pride, admiration, and love for grandparents, great-grandparents, and great great-grandparents that I’ve never met whose lives reflected a commitment to my possibilities.

My mother taught me that my voice is significant, even in environments where there are not others that look like me to echo its sound. It is in those environments that my voice is needed most, as advocate, ambassador, and representative. Through her example of perseverance and confidence, my mother taught me what triumph sounds like through the fight to be heard and  understood.

My mother taught me the most powerful way to use my voice is for prayer. Through her faith, she taught me that God gave me this voice to sing His praises and share His love. And in moments where the paths seem unclear, I can use this voice to ask and I will receive, to seek and I will find, or to knock and the door will be opened.

Most importantly, my mother taught me to fall in love with my voice. Her unconditional love and encouragement turned my whisper into a shout. And in moments when my shout is muffled, I can always hear my mother’s voice in my ear saying “Kimmy, I want the whole world to hear you.”

In honor of Mothers day I WANT THE WHOLE WORLD TO HEAR  how AMAZING my mother is. I am humbled to know that God would see fit to give me a mother as incredible as her. The BIGNESS of her love, inspiration, and grace hugs me every morning when I wake up and every night when I rest my head…even from 3,000 miles away. I love you mommy!

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