A little story about Darlene the Opera Singer
Monday, December 3, 2012 by {darlene}

When I was 14, the stage bug bit me. Well, actually, it bit me when I was 4, but it was a full blown infection by 14.

By 16, I was in voice lessons, ballet lessons, tap lessons, drama coaching, and did show, after show, after show.

At 18, with great encouragement from my voice teacher and my parents, I decided to go full-steam-ahead toward a career in Opera performance.

I majored in Vocal Performance at Indiana University, which  – you may already know if you are a music junkie – is an awesome music school. I got to be in Full-scale operas and performances there that I will NEVER forget. One of my faves: a 600 person choir with a full orchestra performing Beethoven’s Ninth.

I got my Masters in Opera Theatre Performance.

After graduating, I continued performing, got hitched to a fantastic man {hi honey!}, and began a voice studio filled with fantastic voice students. I started making a CD. And hubs and I were chatting about moving to NY, NY so I could give my theatre dream a try – no regrets.

Then, 4 weeks before opening night {I was singing the lead of Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls}, I got sick.

2 weeks later, I sat in the office of a world-famous voice doctor – with no beside manner, who simply stated: “Your vocal cords are partially paralyzed. You will never sing the same again.” And he left the room.

He was right.

I have seen big ups and downs in my life. And this particular pain – the pain of losing my actual identity – was deep, and cutting, and lasting. I was completely lost. I was also in physical pain from what was going on in my vocal cords, and I would also have dreams at night…. where I could sing again.

That day, my life changed. The plans that I had for my life were stripped away.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

Friends. This week, something I never even dreamed of for my life is happening.


My interior designs are being featured in Better Homes and Gardens.


Pinch me.

In fact, I also posted on the BHG blog on Saturday! I REALLY HOPE you will come visit me there {and maybe just give me some Pinterest, FB, twitter, and comment love???? I am SO hoping it goes over well!!! You are the best. truly.}.

This week, the January issue of BHG is hitting news stands. And I hope you will get a copy, because Edie’s home makes the heart go pitter-patter. And I hope you get a copy because – HOLY COW! – my designs are being featured in Better Homes and Gardens!!

Without my voice, I returned to a first love: The same love and passion for decorating that caused me to make clocks out of jewelry boxes for my barbies…

{actual clock that I made for my childhood Barbies… my mom just gave it to me last week. Check out Barbie’s chic gold vintage accessory – she is such a stylin’ lady.}

My passion for interiors was always there. And my eye for design has been chilling out in dollhouses and Barbie Dream House and my own house…. just waiting to bust out.

But most Opera Singers are not Interior Designers on the side. So, without my voice, I found my old love.

And without my voice I grew to know the goodness of my True Love. Even though I spent many nights, curled up in a ball and weeping, “Why??”

I am convinced that, here on earth, we never get to know the whole answer to “Why?”

But I do know some of the answers to my whys:

Better Homes and Gardens, and this blog, and living my new dream, and my amazing clients, and knowing all of you….

It is all SO MUCH MORE than I could have dreamed. And, it is only a tiny part of the blessings that God has brought out of my vocal cord paralysis.

In fact, I have a list of blessings so long, I cannot fit them in this post. But topping this list?: My identity does not come from being Darlene the Singer. No. My identity is Darlene, the daughter of God. I am loved beyond measure. My worth DOES NOT REST in my own accomplishments, but in the blood of the GREATEST One, who ever walked the earth.

He is mine. and I am His.

And I hope you get to hear me sing in Glory. Cause it’s gonna be good.

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Labeled: about me, BHG, living with beauty, Living with Beauty: Within


  • What a beautiful testimony of the ways God moves in our lives. Thank you for sharing your story. I am new to your blog…found you through pinterest. I’llbe reading more. I also have a latent interior design being with a full time career in the financial services industry. I joke about the fact that I’ll come back in my next life as an artist or interior designer. I’mlooking forwardto getting to know you theough your blog.

  • Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your disappointments, dreams, and designs! His plans are amazing. (Yes, you will have to sing for us.)

  • Wow.. wow.. wow.. I think you are a living testament to “when God closes a door, He opens a window”.. only in your case, He opened the world for you to design, inspire and teach the thirsty {those thirsting for knowledge of both design AND living with a true heart for God}.

  • What a great testimony of God’s grace. Can’t wait to see your feature in BH&G.

  • Just…wow. I am a musician – not at the level you were, at all, but still it is so much of who I am. I’ve been a part of producing, arranging, recording for two cd’s, and LOVE to sing. I am currently struggling through issues with my voice. I was sick in March and haven’t been able to sing well since. I recently told my husband that I’m scared that I might never fully recover – then what? Thanks for the reminder of what REALLY matters.

  • What a lovely story! Thank you so much for sharing, and congrats on your BH&G success!

  • Darlene, this is a wonderful story and life lesson- thank you so much for sharing God’s faithfulness. I tell everyone I have a voice that only God can love, so I can’t imagine the pain of losing such a gift, but God’s plans are always for our good, aren’t they? Congratulations on the BHG feature- that is awesome and wonderful!

  • What a beautiful testimony! God is so good!

  • Oh Darlene how exciting for you!!! I cant wait to get my Jan Issue. And God is soooo good isnt He?! Congrats to you beautiful lady.

  • So many exciting things, Darlene!

    Congratulations on the BHG feature, such an affirmation that you are using your gifts to bloom where God plants you!

    But most exciting is how that has made you fall deeper in love with your Savior and how He orchestrates our circumstances to deepen and strengthen that love. All things working together for your good and His glory!

    Thank you for sharing with us!

  • TKraft Art & Interiors

    How cool FHD in BHG’s glossy pages for the masses! Although you may not sing on the big Operatic stage your voice is still very powerful and sings very loud and clear and is now being heard by possible a wider audience. Darlene your faith in God and willingness to spread his word is an inspiration and a joy to many.

  • Thank you for sharing your evolving story, Darlene. My grandson was recently injured in a football game and I told him that he was being asked to develop his vertical. He looked at me, waiting for me to finish that thought. He is a basketball player as well and ‘vertical’ he well understands as he practices his jump shot hard. “only this time, you are being asked to deepen your vertical.” To soar, we must be grounded, tested, deepened. And that you know.

    I am grateful that you were led in this direction!

  • Oh, Darlene…what a (His)story! Makes the excitement I already felt for you being featured in BH&G mean so much more. Congratulations and thanks for sharing!

  • So AWESOME! We serve an Amazing GOD! So happy for you and…
    I think I hear you singing RIGHT NOW! God Bless You!

  • What a beautiful testimony about the will of God. You’ll have your voice back and sing in Heaven’s choir one day. Congratulations on being in BHG. I’ll look for you there.

  • Bless you! Thank you for sharing and for glorifying The One who gives us all our identity and voice. To God Be the Glory!

  • Congratulations on your BH&G feature!!! Its funny how through the twists and turns in the road, we find ourselves.

  • Thank you for the hope of your storing. Sharing it with my friends right now. And hurray for BHG!!!! I can’t wait to tell my mom I “know” the designer. Woohoo for what God has done in your life!

  • I knew I liked you!! {I have a masters in tpt performance.} Now, how is it that I have some musical knack but it didn’t come with a side of home decor know-how?! So excited for you, friend! REJOICING!!!

  • Darlene,
    I’ve followed you for some time but never commented before – but this post gave me goosebumps! So many times in our lives we ask, “Why”? …. we are so silly! God knows why! It is always because His plans exceed and surpass ours all the time. I am sharing your story with family and friends.

    May God continue to bless you and yours always!

  • […] She is amazing. And if you want to read something so lovely, it’ll make you weep? Read A Little Story About Darlene the Opera Singer. True […]

  • We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. Romans 5:3 NLT

    Thanks for taking time and having the fortitude to share with us your trials. One way or another, you are a witness unto the world! G

  • Darlene, what an incredible story. Life really is an adventure and how amazing our God is. Congratulations on BHG! I’m so excited for you. :)

  • Darlene – I can’t wait to get a copy! Relating to your story: I love that now, looking back, I can so reassuringly say “why not?!” to all those heart-wrenching ‘whys’. BH&G is a big “why not!” How fun! God is so good.

  • Amazing, Darlene! What a beautiful testimony. I love what that clock represents.

    My mom recently gave me a 5th grade paper where I had declared with great certainty that I would be an author and artist when I grew up. I too took a different path because of circumstances. Now I feel like an author and my own kind of artist. And it gives me that same 5th grade kind of joy.

    Amazing, indeed!

  • I was just wondering when you were at Indiana university? My oldest son graduated from theer and recorded many of the operas at the school as part of his audio tech degree. He was in the Singing Hoosiers and has been a producer/ engineer in Nashville since graduation.
    Terry pitzer

  • Well said, well lived —He is proud. I’ve walked a similar journey with a medical issue that changed my entire life. I love how you wrote, ” the pain of losing my actual identity – was deep, and cutting, and lasting. I was completely lost”
    That is exactly how I felt and feel from time to time as my medical problems continue but God took all of that and has used it for His purposes. It’s His way, isn’t it… to change mourning to dancing and beauty from ashes.
    I look forward to following your blog and the BHG issue. Much congratulations to you!

  • So beautifully written and with such honesty, Darlene. I can only imagine the pain you’ve had to work through in the loss of your voice. Sometimes the circumstances seem so cruel to us when we know there is a loving God who can do anything at the mention of the word…and why doesn’t He?? But you’ve made it so clear here that He DOES. While all the particulars may still be unknown, what we do know is more opportunities, more dreams, more desires are being given to multi-talented Darlene by a God who cherishes you. I am so proud of your BH&G features and so happy for you!!!! Good grief, let’s get to Italy already and celebrate!

  • Congratulations on your BH&G publishing. Thank you for sharing your journey and your faith. Also, glad to know the IU connection. We were probably there about the same time. Wish I could say I saw you perform!

  • tears. tears. happy tears.
    love this and love you.

  • What an amazing story! I cannot imagine how heartbreaking it was to hear you wouldn’t have a singing career, but I love how God has used your other talents instead. I have a friend whose dream was to be an NFL player. Then in high school, he got a knee injury that meant his dream could never be. I’ve since lost touch with him and have no idea if God’s shown him yet what his will for his life is, but your story gives me hope that he will.

  • Thank you for sharing your story, Darlene. You are a blessing!

  • this is your stage. you move your audience with the songs of color and pattern and texture and design and stories of you!

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