Friday, July 29, 2011

Small and Simple Things

Sometimes life comes at you fast.  Days blur into weeks and weeks blur into months.  Sometimes we move so fast that we forget to stop and enjoy the little things.  A couple of days ago, I was out reading on my new patio furniture - love it - and a storm blew in.  I stayed where I was for a moment and watched as giant drops of rain fell around me.  I stretched out my hands, hoping one would land on my palm, but instead it landed directly on the top of my head.  After a few moments, the drops start coming faster.  I stayed outside, but moved closer to the back door in case I needed to bolt.  My daughter joined me.  We sat on the back porch and tried to catch rain.  Before long, we started to notice a few drops of hail.  We watched as they multiplied.  We ran inside as they pummeled us.  We stood at the back door and watched this crazy storm.  I dared my 16 year old daughter to run out and stand in the hail for 10 seconds.  We both ran out screaming "ouch, ouch, ouch".  Can you last for 30 seconds?  You bet.  "Ouch, ouch, ouch".  Who knew that a hail storm could be so much fun.  My daughter ate pieces of ice from the ground - no thanks, that where my dogs roam - yuck!  I snapped a picture in my mind.  I wish I had thought to grab the actual camera, but then I would have missed out on all the fun!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Get To Work

(I look way too excited - like some crazy super fan!)

     Yesterday I heard Brooke White speak (and sing) at a workshop.  You remember Brooke right... from American Idol.  She was my favorite that season because - well, the hair of course - and the fact that her voice wasn't over trained and affected.  It was pure and pretty and she didn't feel like she needed to scream to get our attention.  I don't know... that's just my opinion.
     I'm a member of the Soundcheck Series here in Salt Lake.  They are a fantastic "organization that helps aspiring artists - such as myself - achieve their greatest potential."  That, my friends, was taken directly from their website - word for word.  They offer these amazing workshops where you can listen and learn from people in the music industry.  It's a great place to network and meet new people.
    Brooke was different than I expected (she was really tiny!).  I thought she would have been affected by all the fame and attention she received from American Idol, but she was down to earth and really truthful about the music industry as a whole.  She took time to talk to all of us individually.  She must have been there all night - exhausting.  I have a new perspective of what the music business really looks like and how much work it actually takes to be successful.  I'm pretty sure that I'm not working hard enough, so it's time to kick it into gear.  People are always asking me, "how is your music coming, have you written anything new, when are you going to do another album?"  I smile and say that I'm working on it or sometime next year or in the fall.  At this rate, I will release my next album when monkeys fly out of my butt - that sounds downright painful.  Brooke said something really remarkable.  Someone asked her what keeps her motivated to move forward.  She responded by saying "I don't know".  Pretty profound right.  But she followed it up by saying that music is just a part of her and that this is just something she HAS to continue doing.  I hear ya sista!
    I hear songs in my sleep, I create melodies in the shower, I find lyrics in reality TV - who does that.  It's just a part of me and the more I try to put it off, the more frustrated I become.  I love the songs that I am creating lately.  Some are fun and quirky and some come straight from my gut.  Some jump onto the page and others are painstakingly emerging over days or weeks.  Some I love and some I will probably throw away.  But the point is, I'm writing and loving it.  Will another album be out in the fall - not likely.  In a year - hopefully!  I just need to get all my ducks in a row (or as Brooke put it - eggs in a row - huh?!) I'm grateful for great examples in the music industry that motivate me and empathize with me - including the super talented Brooke White.
     For more information on the Soundcheck Series,
visit their website at

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blessings in Prison

Yesterday I went to prison...

I had never been to the prison before.  I've passed it on the freeway, looked over and wondered what it must be like to live within those foreboding fences.  But actually walking up and standing next to that fence gives you a very different perspective.  A couple of months ago, I was invited to give a fireside at the Utah State Women's Prison.  I gladly accepted even though it seemed a bit scary.
It was anything but.

As I walked through the prison gates, and then through several doors, I felt trapped.  They checked our equipment and allowed us entrance to the prison grounds.  Secretly I worried they would never let me out!!  But once I entered the prison chapel, I felt like I had just walked into any other LDS ward house.  The spirit was the same.
Why wouldn't it be?

As the women filled the small chapel, I felt very over dressed.  I wore a lovely black skirt.  They wore prison garb.  But their faces reminded me of every other woman throughout the church that comes to feel the spirit.  They were beautiful and reposed, they chatted and hugged, greeted each other with hand shakes and  laughter and sang the hymns with gusto.

When it was my turn to speak, I nervously walked to the pulpit.  I worried that I would not be able to say anything that would give them comfort.  How could I understand their challenges and lift their load?  But as I began to speak and sing, tears flowed freely.  Sisters wrapped their arms around one another, comforting words were given.  They even laughed at my jokes!  I could have been speaking at any other Relief Society meeting in the valley.

One of my favorite scripture stories to share is found in Luke, Chapter 7.  It's the story of a woman who kneels at the foot of the Savior and washes his feet with her tears and dries them with her hair.  She was a sinner, but the Lord knew her heart and said unto her "Thy sins are forgiven, thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace."  As I told this story, I couldn't help but draw some comparisons.  Here were these woman, who obviously had made some mistakes, but they were there, trying to overcome their challenges, turning to the Lord for help and longing for peace and solace.  To listen to my song "Go In Peace" click the play button on the right hand side of the page!

What a beautiful experience this was for me and my husband.  (He was put on the spot and had to bear his testimony - which was a real treat!)  At the end of the meeting, which lasted about 2 hours....lots of blabbing from yours truly...we had the opportunity to chat with the sisters and interact with them.  I left feeling humbled and uplifted with a stronger conviction that our Heavenly Father loves each of us with all of His heart, without exception and without guile.  Thank you, to all the sisters in the
Utah State Penitentiary who welcomed me with open arms into their small flock!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Christmas!

     I am officially the worst blogger ever!  I don't know how people find the time.  Here it is December 14th and Christmas is just around the corner.  I have finally finished all my shopping and now it is time to start making Hot Fudge sauce for my neighbors - yes you will get the same thing again this year!  Let's just call it a tradition.  I love Christmas.  I love the twinkling lights, the fragrant aromas, the snow (mind you, I do not like the cold), and I especially love the music.  Everywhere you go, you hear Christmas music, new versions of the same song, old versions of Christmas classics.  I'm not picky - although I must admit, I'm not too fond of Christmas rap - those two words shouldn't even be in the same sentence!  But my favorite Christmas songs are those sung by children.  It doesn't matter what song it is, it doesn't even matter if they skip a few words here and there (even better!).  They could sing off key, I don't care.  Children's voices are beautiful.  I have decided that I have the most wonderful calling in our church.  I lead the music in Primary.  Now, I'm not saying it's easy.  I stress about it every Saturday.  But listening to those angel voices every Sunday, fills my heart to near bursting.  As they share their testimonies through music, my testimony is strengthened every single weak.  This month we have been learning a new Christmas song called "Does He Remember".  It's a beautiful song and the children love it.  Last Sunday, as we were singing that song, one of the Sunbeams started wiping her eyes.  Her teacher bent over and asked her if she was all right.  She replied, "Yes, I'm okay.  This song just always makes my eyes water."  Now that's what I'm talking about.  What greater calling could there be, than helping God's children feel and recognize the spirit and to watch it touch their lives.  I am truly blessed.

     Since music is such a big part of my life, I thought I would share.  I only have 1 recorded Christmas song in my repertoire, so you may have heard this one already.  I wrote this song from Mary's perspective.  I can only imagine what joy she must have felt on that sacred night when she held the Christ child in her arms for the first time.  As a mother, I have never felt closer to God, then in those precious moments following the birth of my own children, as I held them and kissed them, my joy was full.

Music coming......

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thanks Heaven for Modern Medicine

It was a normal Sunday.  We started the day of with a fast, it was the first Sunday of the month, after all.  My son was up early, doing his duty, collecting fast offerings.  You don't need to ask him twice.  If there is a way to serve, he is in - unless it's me asking!  But sometimes, a relaxing Sunday, is not in the cards.  Josh started complaining his stomach hurt shortly after church.  I assumed that he was hungry.  I know I was.  But when the pain moved to his right side and he started throwing up, we started to get concerned.  I looked up his symptoms on webmd.  Yes, I know, not the most reliable source.  But after reading online AND consulting with our family doctor - who just happens to be my brother-in-law, we suspected that he had appendicitis.  I loaded him up in the car, with a lovely pink tupperware bowl ( that the hospital threw away, mind you) and headed to the emergency room.  And then we waited and waited and waited.  The hospital we were in has 72 beds in their emergency room and we still sat there forever.  I can only imagine what kind of germs were lurking.  Needless to say, I hit every hand sanitizing dispenser I could find.  Finally, we were seen and all kinds of tests were run. They were pretty certain that it was appendicitis, but they wouldn't operate because he was only 12.  They sent us to Primary Children's Hospital.  More driving, more nausea, more pain.  Once we arrived at PCH, they gave Josh some Zofran for the nausea and he immediately started asking for food.  Unfortunately for him, it would be another 14 hours before he could eat.  The doctors confirmed that Josh needed an appendectomy and surgery was scheduled for 2 in the morning.  Oh, joy!  There is nothing like sleeping in hospital room on a rocking chair.  Oh, so very restful.  It's scary watching you son being wheeled into surgery.  I know it's a very common proceedure, but still...that's my baby!  After an hour of uncertainty, the doctor informed us that everything was fine and Josh was walking up.  Halleluja!  He slept all morning and woke up asking for food, of course.  He thought that was the best part.  You could order anything from the menu, at any time.  Wow, what a treat!  He was discharged later that evening, with three tiny little incisions on his stomach.  Just like that, he was appendix free.  I'm so grateful for the doctors and nurses at Primary Children's Hospital.  They were adorable with Josh and with us.  Kudos to them.  Tonight was the first night that he could resume sporting activities.  You'd have thought he'd won the lottery! Kids recover so quickly, it's like nothing ever happened!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ode to "14"

I was 14 yesterday, or was it the day before that.  You laugh!  In my mind it was only moments ago.  I still remember my first day of Junior High, I wish I didn't, but there it is roaming the corners of my memory.  My mom talked me into cutting my very long, very curly hair, right before 7th grade.  I ended up with the worlds worst mullet.  The summer had left it's mark.  I was determined to get a tan.  I don't tan, I merely freckle.  I must have figured that if I stayed in the sun long enough, my freckles would blend together, leaving me with a golden glow.  I nearly succeeded!  Needless to say, I was feeling a little less than confidant.  (insert terrible picture here... can't find one - they must have been lost forever!)  Some days I wish I could go back and talk to that insecure, shy little girl.  Or at least teach her how to do her hair!  Somehow, through it all, I survived.

However, I'm not sure how my mother survived.  I am one of 7 girls in my family.  7 girls - can you imagine what the bathroom looked like?  Trust me, you don't want to go there.  We were all stinkers at one time or another.  My mom always used to say, "You can think that you hate me, but you better not ever say it out loud".  The things that I said to my mother, either out loud or under my breath - how could I be so thoughtless?  I guess I have to chalk it up to being 14.  As my daughter hit that dreadful, yet wonderful age, I have more and more respect for my mother every day.  She was one brave, beautiful woman.  She listened to our ranting and raving with grace and patience - a lot of patience.   All those years of disrespect and running off at the mouth are coming to bite me in the butt.  My mother says that it's only fair and then she giggles.  Not very funny.  As I brace myself for the days ahead with 3 daughters, I hope that I can exibit as much grace and patience as my mother did.  When my daughter gives me the look, the one I perfected at 14, I am reminded of times past.  As I pushed against every barrier and tried to force my independence, my mother watched and waited until the day when I would understand her sacrifice and learn from her words and example.
That must have been a good day~
(My mom, with all 7 daughters and 1 daughter in law.  
Aren't we a hot bunch!)

Being a mother of a teenager may have it's challenges, but I am blessed to face them.  There is pure joy when I watch my daughter make good choices.  My heart breaks when failures come or mistakes are made, but I recognize the growth that follows.  I rejoice as she developes a personal relationship with the Savior and I'm especially grateful that she is mine forever.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer's End

The smell of clean cut grass. Warm summer storms with a lightning show to rival any 4th of July. Lying with my children on foam pads in the backyard in the early morning watching the sky as meteors shoot by. Lagoon! Camping at the lake and watching my children frolic in the waves. Night games - loud obnoxious teenagers - mine included. The sound of crickets lulling me to sleep. Camp - girls camp, scout camp, weeks away from home! Lazy days and mounds of laundry. Sleeping in...staying up late. Movies, picnics and good friends. Family reunions. Game night! Home grown tomatoes - I could use some, mine only grew 6 inches, sad little plants. Pedicures and flip flops. Beautiful sunsets. Sunflowers. Long walks with my husband, holding hands - no children allowed.

All good things must come to an end. Yes, I know, it's only the middle of August. But the day my children enter the school grounds with backpacks in tow, the fast pace returns and the lazy days of summer are gone for a spell.

As I walk my children to school, they catch up with their friends on the sidewalk and are a bit annoyed that their mother is in tow, along with the handy dandy camera. Such an exciting day. New friends, new teacher, new backpack. No kisses please! They pose for the camera and then they're off on a new adventure - without me...

Shortly the weather will start to cool and the leaves will fall from the trees. With colder weather comes change. Do I like change? I accept it. My children grow. Every day a new adventure.