I once had a rich uncle


Before he died at the age of 96 last year, “Uncle Hugh” was one of the world’s wealthiest men, with a treasure trove that exceeded anything I’d ever heard of.  He was overwhelmingly generous with his riches, dispensing every bit of the love and joy and encouragement he owned to everyone he knew.

The world knew him best as the composer of many Broadway hits from the 40s and 50s, with his biggest hit being “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, written for Judy Garland in 1944 for the musical “Meet Me In St. Louis”.  That lovely piece of music has rung out in shopping malls, elevators, and car radios ever since and does a great job of heralding in the Christmas season like no other.  You may have heard the recording he and I made of the new version of that song whereby he had rewritten the words, top to bottom, reflecting what he now knew to be the real Reason for the season.

I’ll tell you more about Uncle Hugh and his famous Christmas song in a future post.

But today is Thanksgiving, and what most people don’t know is that Uncle Hugh also wrote a Thanksgiving song (how many of THOSE do you know?).   In 2008, this indefatigable creative genius penned a short but very sweet holiday song in the same poetic style of yesteryear’s Broadway heyday.  He never lived long enough to see his song professionally recorded, but I had the great fortune to record a demo of it with him at the keys at San Diego’s Studio West that same year when he was 94 years of age.   As you will hear in the YouTube clip,  Uncle Hugh never lost his magical musical touch, gracing every word and every note all the way up to the very end.

I know that today will be a lush, rich and fun time of family celebration for many of you… be thankful!  For for others, maybe not so much, but… be thankful!  Being thankful might be the very last thing you might think you are capable of as you might be despairing over any number of things.  I know this feeling; I have sometimes had days where all I could do was whimper as I lacked the strength even to find words.  It was in those days I had no choice but to rely on the promises of God that He is in this thing with me.  Concentrating on that made all the difference in the world.  And you know what?  Expressing my thanks- most of the time right out loud – has changed my perspective completely.  God is using the challenges to remind me I can’t do it on my own, and I am indeed, THANKFUL!

But back to my rich uncle.

On this day where it is good to give thanks, let Uncle Hugh’s song (and my Father’s words) lift your spirits.

Thanksgiving Should Be Every Day  (Hugh Martin ©2008)

Holiday time again! It comes and goes so fast!  But there’s a reason this lovely season should last and last…

Let’s make every day Thanksgiving Day, full of courage and comfort and cheer.  Let your voices ring loud and clear three hundred and sixty-five days of the year!  Every day should be a jubilee and each worry will scurry away…  So always remember it’s not just a day in November;  Thanksgiving should be every day!

Have an attitude of gratitude, never ceasing to worship and pray.  For just to be living is reason enough for Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving should be every day!

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.   Colossians 3:14-16



Sylvia is a singer and Christian women’s speaker, and lives in Southern California.

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Some things shouldn’t be easy


Since the clocks fell back last weekend, I’ve been waking up earlier than usual and have not been a happy camper as a result. Our bed is positioned in such a way that when the sun comes up over the eastern horizon the light zaps me in the face, jolting me out a perfectly restful state and I can’t get back to sleep.  I hate it.

But this morning I didn’t mind.  I wanted to get out early and vote.

With coffee in hand, Wolf and I headed up our hill to the neighbor’s private garage that today becomes a public meeting place.  We left a little early and joined the small crowd that was beginning to form.  As we stood in the fog waiting for the polls to open we remarked to one another how great it was to gather with our neighbors, most of whom we have never met.  Although we’d never laid eyes on most of them, there was a collective soul of which I was proud to be a part.

Pretty soon though, we heard some whispers that surprised us.  A woman ahead of us complained that the fog was ruining her hair and was ticked that she hadn’t registered to vote by mail.  The guy behind us loudly posed the question that if we can shop, book flights, and apply for a loan on the internet, why can’t we vote on line?  He grunted on about how it would make life so much easier.

That got me to thinking.

Some things shouldn’t be easy.

On that Fall morning every four years, I am forced to think about how much it cost for me to be able to put that ballot in the box. As we walked towards the polling place, I was reminded of the guts it took for those first immigrants to get on those wooden boats and travel to an unknown land, driven by the unquenchable desire to have a say in how to live their lives, extending that privilege to present day common folk like us.  I think of the millions of people in scores of wars who have spilled their blood so that my day-in and day-out liberties to buy, sell, say, love, and worship are protected.  I think of all those who are willing to sacrifice time, talent and resources on a civic level to make my everyday life comfortable.  I think of the men and women all over the world right this very minute who wouldn’t dare express a public opinion out of fear for their very lives… yet I got to walk up that hill in the fog this morning.

I don’t want it to be easy.

I read this week that a huge percentage of people won’t vote today because they either don’t have time or they think it’s a waste of time.  What?  Man or woman, gay or straight, wealthy or poor, black or white, employed or unemployed, old or young… our vote is our voice.  And as for believers, it is our responsibility to vote for leaders who will uphold Godly standards no matter how long it takes or what anyone thinks.  Through the very act of voting, we declare Whose side we’re on and, extra bonus: we get to participate in furthering God’s will.

After this is over and the tallies are all in, no matter who wins, we’ve got to remember God’s got this one.  At the end of the day, we’ve earnestly got to pray that the man who will occupy the Oval Office in January will seek God- not popular opinion- as he serves the people in his leadership.  As my friend Stefanie Kelly said this morning “… today is a GOOD day regardless…and the next 4 years (if the Lord doesn’t return) will be four GOOD years simply because our God, the living God, the Redeemer of all creation is GOOD.”

First of all then, I urge that prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men;  for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.         

 1 Timothy 2:1-4


Sylvia is a singer and Christian women’s speaker, and lives in Southern California.

Read Sylvia’s other posts, and LIKE her on Facebook!