Merry Christmas 2016!

To all who visit my website and blog:  Merry Christmas!

Putting on the 5th Voice Lifted at Christmas concert two weeks ago was a highlight of my Christmas season.  As always, it was a delightful experience for me to be with so many family members, relatives, friends, community members, visitors, returning audience members, and those coming to one of my concerts for the first time.  I am uplifted by being together with you all and having the opportunity to share my music with you.

I came to this year’s concert in a more peace-filled and joyful place, and I’m hearing that this came across in the show.  In addition to my red dress and red music stand, I chose to sing some more familiar carols and joyful, upbeat pieces.  It felt good.  I felt the best after this year’s concert than any of them so far.  I had fun on stage: performing my solo pieces and collaborating musically with Tom Flamini, Emily Barrett, and Mark Denchy.

A great article was published in the Pottsville Republican on the day after my concert.  I am grateful for that coverage, and I’m happy that the news article will spread the word to others who may be interested in attending a future Voice Lifted at Christmas concert.  Next year’s event will be on Sunday, December 10, 2017.

I’ve been more quiet this year on my blog, not having written and posted as often as in previous years, but I plan to do more of that in 2017.  I enjoy this connection to all of you.  Please feel free to leave comments on my posts – that will encourage me to show up more and share more.

In offering to everyone a Christmas message this year, I invite you to connect with your inner child and to allow yourself to be present in the celebrations in which you take part and in the difficult moments, too.  The holiday season is really, for most of us, NOT picture-perfect…but there is amidst all of that, so much to really celebrate and to be joyful about.  Jesus and Mary clearly struggled at many points throughout their lives, and they did not hide it or put on a face that masked their pain…but what they did was know that the holy God within was far greater than the human challenges they faced.  God is not external and distant.  We can allow ourselves to touch and hold God and to be touched and held…by simply going within and breathing in the love that is both the holy infant and the divine power inside.  May we allow Christ to be born within us today, and may we experience joy in that birth.

All photos by Andy Leibenguth –

Thank you, Andy!!


Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas!

I offer my sincere wishes to each of you on this Christmas day for peace, joy, and love.  May you experience and know abundant blessings.

My heart feels expansive at this moment after some significant shifts within as I remember who I am as a child of God…an extension of God…a reflection of God, and as I allow God’s bright light / my bright light to be seen & then to stand in gratitude and awe of this same light in everyone around me as I soften to this beautiful world, breathing in the supreme, divine perfection of all.

This year’s Christmas benefit concert was an opportunity to join in community and to celebrate the sacred that was, that is, and that always will be.  I found meaningful connection in gathering with those in attendance and sharing our spirits and energy.

As I shared at the concert, there is indeed much pain in the world;  sorrow and sadness can be amplified during the holiday season when there seems to be an expectation of perfect families and jolly activities.  There is also much to celebrate.  There is peace and love underneath the heartache, and the peace and love can be arrived at when we release resistance and accept our present realities with authenticity and care.  I have come to see that it is all about remembering…remembering who we are and accepting our roles as co-authors of our world.  Along with God, we are constantly co-creating a world in which hope, peace, and love can thrive and endure.  I believe in more than Christmas.  I believe that every day is Christmas: a day of birth, of promise, of peace, and of understanding that what might seem imperfect to the naked human eye (a lowly manger / our seemingly broken lives) is to the holy heart perfection and the wellspring of bliss.


Recommitment to Love




To the man I witnessed on my walk, screaming at his dog and picking him up by his neck in anger after the dog had run ahead of him out the door…


It really bothered me when I witnessed you yell in such anger at your pet and then chase after him and pick him up by his neck.  As I took a walk yesterday with my friend, I was walking with a heavy heart.  I had just spent some quiet time with my cat Song who only has a short time left with my family.  She has an oral tumor.  I had just cleaned out the clear drainage from her eye that moistened her nose bridge & turned to God with a tear in my eye and prayed that Song would not suffer and that we would make the decisions that were best for her.  I had just knelt down to pet Song and felt barely able to stand up again, as my whole body felt shaky in allowing myself to feel the fear about what comes next.  I noticed I was barely breathing as I stood face to face with the frailty and fragility of life.


I tell you this not to make you sad.  I tell you this to urge you to celebrate.  Celebrate yourself, and celebrate your dog.  Celebrate your time together.  Celebrate even his misbehaviors, because they are signs of life.  When he runs excitedly out the door, forgetting that he’s supposed to wait for you, overcome by the excitement of a beautiful, sunny day, fresh air, and people passing by, call him back and run after him with love in your heart, and then hug him.  Hug him, and let him know you care.  Let him know your life is better, because he’s with you.  Let him know you’ll be with him until the end and will cradle his head as he takes his last breaths, remembering the times you played together and holding close to your heart that still frame of his furry face, reconnecting with that sweet feeling of walking in the door and knowing someone missed you and could not contain his excitement that you were home again.


I am not a judgmental person.  I do not wish to criticize your ability to parent your dog, and I do not intend to chastise you as a person.  I freely and willingly admit that I have been overwhelmed by life at many points, frustrated when others didn’t listen to me, tired of stuff going wrong again and again.  I have screamed, said things I didn’t mean, and have hurt people whom I care about.  I’ve been at my wit’s end.  I’ve made choices that have been rooted in fear and resentment.  I have approached tender hearts with violent words that raged and wounded.  I’ve been broken and breathless after life threw incredible twists my way.  And eventually, I returned to love.  Thankfully, I returned to love.


My letter here is an invitation and a reminder.  Please take some time today and look in the eyes of those you love – humans and pets.  Simply and quietly say, “I love you.”  Say anything else that’s on your heart.  Breathe together.  Enjoy the sensations as you stroke your lover’s skin or pet your best friend’s fur, and know this moment is a gift that will not always be available to you.  Vow to hug more often.  Slow down and make time for walks outside and playful exchanges.  Remember to laugh at silly things.  Appreciate.  Wag more and bark less.  Purr more and hiss less.  Forgive.  Allow for mistakes – on others’ part and on your part.  And if you are a person who prays, please offer up a prayer for my cat Song and for me and for every pet who is facing health challenges and approaches his or her final days.  Send some positive energy out to those pet parents who are taking their dogs for that final walk and loading their cats into a carrier to get that lethal injection because the suffering has grown too unbearable and there is no cure.  And I will think of you in a wave of compassion and bless you and your dog.  Thank you for reading this, and thank you for inspiring my reflection and my recommitment to love across the board.


Copyright © 2014 by Susan M. Featro, Voice Lifted.  All Rights Reserved.