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This past year has been a tough one for me. Tough parenting-wise, tough career-wise, and tough health-wise.  One of the ways that I’ve seen myself through the tough times is by seeking out things that bring me joy and laughter.

Over the past few years, one of the things I have enjoyed doing is listening to acapella music groups.  I am always amazed at how they are able to create the sounds of an entire band and then blend that with lyrics using only their voices.

My favorite group to listen to is On The Rocks, the male acapella group from the University of Oregon. (As a U of O alum, I’ll admit I have a soft spot for them already built in.)  These guys seem to have such a genuine love of music and they convey that in every performance I’ve ever seen.

Like this one from NBC’s The Sing Off (2010):

Yes, it’s a bit of a cheesy song and not their most antic-filled performance, but I think the lead singer really nails it.

Then there’s this rendition of Billy Joel’s Lullabye, performed during one of OTR’s Free Friday shows in the student union, that makes me want to hug and rock my children to sleep every time I hear it:

My favorite, though, is this last one.  Because what could be better than a bunch of college guys singing and dancing like Lady Gaga?

<Note: There’s a tiny bit of swearing in the lyrics about half way through – a minor thing, really, but I thought I should point it out in case you are listening to it around young children.>

What brings you joy and laughter when times get tough? What are the little things you do for yourself to get through those dark moments? I’d love to hear.