The Little Things
“In this great big world you might start to feel small,
But don’t regret it
‘Cause last I checked it’s
The little things that matter most of all.” That’s the chorus for the first song I’m recording for my upcoming album and it’s been soooo good for me to remember. June was rough. 4 out of the 5 of us were sick the ENTIRE month! Big summer plans – trips to the pool or park – couldn’t happen. But little joys…summer movies at home, blanket forts, board games, cookies and juice – those happened. And, “It’s the little things that matter most of all.”
Music for a Friend
I recorded this for a friend a few years ago. Music is a gift we’re meant to give however we can. It’s not about perfection. It’s about love.
Christmas Choir Memories
I’m posting the silly pictures before the normal ones this time! I feel undeserving for all the blessings God’s sent my way. We have struggles, like anyone, but God is good to us all! One of our blessings this season was singing as a family in the church choir for a special Christmas service last Sunday. The boys sang as part of the children’s choir and Sophia, Chad and I joined in for the adult portion of the songs for a gorgeous duet. I’ll post a couple of pictures I took while they were practicing later, but here we are after church together. It may be a slightly awkward photo, but it’s a good reminder to me of this wonderful day. It was also fun to surprise the kids each with something new and special to wear that Sunday morning – a simple burgundy sweater dress for Sophia that I found on clearance, a shirt and tie for Michael and tie for Sam, both that I’ve been saving since I got them on sale at Easter time. I thought it would just be the kids with new clothes, but Chad surprised me with a simple necklace with a little sun charm since he likes to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to me when I’m sad. Since he surprised me, I pulled out a gift for him instead of having him wait until Christmas – a tie with musical notes that I found for him at DI. I’m not sharing all this to brag. I’m just grateful. So grateful! I’m grateful for the tender mercies from the Lord. I’m grateful for Christmas music, traditions, and love. I’m grateful for my family. I’m thankful my kids like to help me decorate, even if it’s with Santa hats all over the furniture. I’m grateful for silly moments and funny photo shoots, for how Chad Barnett always gets me to be silly and pretend we’re fancy models and for kids who can play photographer even if the photos end up blurry. LOL I’m grateful my kids let me take their pictures so I can make ornaments of them since their faces are what I want all over my tree each year. I’m grateful that no matter how busy this time of year is we can have moments where we slow down and remember Christ, the real reason for this wonderful, merry season. I AM GRATEFUL FOR CHRISTMAS!
This WAS me last week, all excited that I finally recorded my first hopeful song inspired by my family (ironically in my daughter’s bedroom 😊), something I’ve been dreaming of doing and working on getting the gear for the last 7 years. The kids have all been sharing a room so I can record at night when it’s quietest, and I was rocking out and SO happy! Not shown are the 40+ versions I had to download to check the mix because the computer’s processing was having issues, the trips to Guitar Center to get proper connectors since some had broken during our many moves, or how I was trying so hard to get a lyric video made to share it last Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…ANY time on Thanksgiving (since that’s the theme of it – NOT Xmas) and now here I am a week later, eyes fried, learning that the video editing gear I pinched pennies for and have waited years to use won’t work with any of our computers, nor will the online program and I’m pretty sure my family is sick of me focusing so much on this project and not cooking or cleaning much.😢 I want so badly to share my testimony of families and faith, and I know this could be how and have felt prompted to do it. My kids are older and help more and the world needs more support of families and examples of people enjoying family life without all the sarcasm. And I feel like it’s my season to contribute to help gather Zion! But wow! I wish things were going more smoothly. Time to put my shoulder to the wheel and get creative. Sigh. I do have hope in Christ that this will be possible, I just don’t see how to do it easily at the moment. I’m going to have to use a lot of workarounds since a new computer is not in the present budget. I’m trying to be like Nephi, as in if God could part the water for Moses then he could help him build a boat and he CAN help me make a music video with a slower laptop. Hopefully, my family can just stay positive during the process, since that’s what the song and video are about.😂 Well, time to get back to the grind. Thanks for letting me share. ❤️🎵💪🤞👊😖🍩
The Real Me
It’s not often that my husband pulls out his phone because he HAS to take a picture, but that’s what he did when he walked in on me with my morning hair and my Gryffindor PJ pants when I was practicing ukulele yesterday because, according to him, I was “so cute.”😂 Girls, true love is waaaay more than getting flowers and chocolates. It’s about being loved for the REAL YOU. ❤️
“It’s just another manic Monday.” That’s what I sang to myself today. I accidentally took this selfie from my pocket, and I absolutely love it. I was cheering very enthusiastically while playing kickball with the homeschool PE class I teach because I had just caught the ball and got someone out. Such a crazy random moment to get a pocket-selfie, but that’s how joy is! You have to catch it in little moments! Mondays may be our craziest days, but they bring a lot of joy too. Clearly. I’m grateful for happy 80’s songs that help me remember that. Hope you had a happy Monday! And if you didn’t, crank up an 80’s tune!
This Is the Greatest Show
This week, as I was driving and listening to “This, is the Greatest Show” it hit me. My family really is beautifully complete for now. Of course, I felt this on some level before going through with a hysterectomy, but at this moment it was a peaceful, reassuring realization. Instead of mourning the other personalities that might have been, I felt a fullness, a sense of being whole in my own family right now. So I asked my son to take a picture. I don’t want to forget this gift of clarity and peace from God. I’m eternally grateful for moments like these between the pain, chaos, and trials. There is peace if we are patient and faithful because God is good, He’s our Father, He loves us, and He cannot lead us away from happiness. It’s not in His nature.❤ P.S. I really do drive with my head on my chin. 😂
Being a flower child and gettin’ my groove on to “Dancing Queen.” I had the privilege of taking photos at a class reunion with people who graduated during the 60s and 70s. I couldn’t help but feel my Daddy close as I rubbed shoulders with these good, laid-back, friendly people in their bell-bottoms and John Lennon glasses. The music though…WOW! So many great reminders of moments with my dad! I felt transported to another time when I was dancing in my living room as a ten-year-old, hearing him tell me I was his “Dancing Queen.” I’m eternally grateful for music and how it can pull people in parallel universes together through melodies and lyrics.
Today a new favorite song was on the radio as I got in the car. Since it’s Music Monday, I had to share it. It’s called “Dream Small” and it’s by Josh Wilson.
Just before I turned on the car I had been sitting in the driver’s chair, thinking, “Yes, Eva. Just focus on your music.” So it was special and significant to hear these lyrics. I don’t have to do it all, and definitely not all at once. I just need to fulfill my mission and take care of the people in my stewardship, like my amazing kids, husband, mom, sisters, and friends. (Click for more.)
Music Video Making!
I want to make videos. Truly. That’s been my dream for years. I’ve wanted to make real, slice of life, beautiful music videos of everyday goodness in families. Kind of like Norman Rockwell paintings in a modern day, music video form. He said that he didn’t paint “the sordid and the ugly” but life as he would “like it to be.” And that “even if it wasn’t an ideal world, it should be so and painted only the ideal aspects of it… grandpas who played baseball with kids and boys who fished from logs and got up circuses in the backyard.” He said also, “I’ll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I’d like to.” This is me in my car a month ago sitting outside a WinCo with two laptops as I edited part of the video I posted last week during my kids’ playdate. It was a lot of work, but so satisfying! For the last couple of weeks, I shelved this dream of making videos to enjoy the end of school year festivities and get caught up on the accumulated house mess. But you know what? I got kinda depressed. Even though I was having fun with the activities, my soul was missing one of its purposes. I’ve learned that it’s never right to mentally shelf your purpose. Keep it close. Work it! Even if it’s just over and over in your mind while you fold laundry or stir the macaroni. Because in the last few weeks when I started telling myself, “It can’t happen now,” I lost the energy to do everything else. I still did it and was glad I was there, but with a lot less gusto because I need more than just that to charge my batteries. So don’t be afraid of wanting to paint more pictures than you’ll have time to paint in this life, or on my case (and my daughter’s) have more music video ideas than we can create in this life. Living with passion and falling short is much better than never living at all. 👊👏❤
Music for All
We used the last of our homeschool funds to get the kids each an instrument. I don’t know why I’m tearing up as I type this. Maybe it’s because Michael’s been asking for one for almost 2 years now and we were finally able to squeeze it in with some help. Maybe it’s because music is the most powerful language I know. Maybe it’s because I’m excited to share this gift. I’m just thrilled! And grateful. There’s a lot we don’t have, and the adversary does a steady job of reminding me of that. But I can’t help but be thankful for magic moments like these. Yes, there’s always more laundry to wash and fold, more bills to pay, and more quarrels to hush, but there is also always GOODNESS.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait…& Sing!
I’ve had some important marketing goals that I’ve been patiently pushing back again and again and again- that’s mom-life sometimes or a lot of the time, right? Well, it’s been about a month, and after another day of missing a personal deadline, I had this AMAZING moment with my youngest. I mention in my latest book my wanting and waiting to get to sing songs with my kids in mommy and me settings. My daughter wouldn’t sit still on my lap. My first son didn’t get a chance since I was usually chasing my daughter. My third son wasn’t interested. So for a long time, I told myself you don’t get everything you wish for. I think there’s some truth to that, but I also think sometimes you just don’t get what you wish for WHEN you want it. This week I sang “5 Little Ducks” with my youngest for the first, second, and third times. He LOVED it! I’m thankful for that. So thankful.❤ Some blessings take longer than we like to come. Some goals take more work, even when they’re worthy and inspired. Those wishes aren’t failures just because they take longer to come true. They’re just that much more enjoyed.🎈❤👊
Primary Chorister No More
I haven’t posted much this last week because I’ve been frozen in shock at being released from being primary chorister last Sunday morning. I’m sure God has good things in store, but I will really miss that calling, and it’s taken a little getting used to. ❤😢 I’ve greatly appreciated all the sweet cards and sentiments from kids. This card was from the primary (Thanks!!) but one child even made me another one and delivered it to my door. So sweet!! Even my own boys were sad it was my last day and told me they wished I could still do it. I guess they were enjoying singing time more than they let on. 😉 Music is so powerful, and I’m thankful for the time over the past couple of years that I’ve had to really focus on children’s primary songs. The songs I learned as a child have stayed with me and inspired me my whole life. I hope the 25+ songs I taught these kids can do the same for them.
I Can Only Imagine
A movie about a Christian singer-songwriter and how he heals family relationships, especially one with his dad? That’s like 5 of my favorite things wrapped into 1! This film was truly uplifting (isn’t that refreshing?) and gave me a lot to think about. It’s a beautiful true story about redemption and I highly recommend it for a date night, girl’s night, or any night!! Besides its flowing testimony of Christ’s grace, I feel like I learned some hard-earned gems to give me the push I need to really start making progress on my own music album, the other piece to my latest book, “Learning to S.M.I.L.E. Again.” Sometimes songs heal us in a way words or medicine alone can’t. Talents are meant to teach us, stretch us, lift us, and do the same for others when we share them. Thank you @themercyme for doing so much good with your voices, words, melodies, and stories. Thank you also for reminding me that my daddy is watching over me from heaven and is always sitting in the audience.
Fear Is a Liar
I was telling my kids about this amazing song “Fear Is a Liar” over the weekend and had them listen to it, then these were the words on the chalkboard in one of their classrooms at co-op on Monday. Crazy coincidence, right?! Even though this was a few weeks ago, it’s still on my mind. I love hearing my six-year-old singing these lyrics quietly to himself. If you haven’t heard it, look it up. If you have, listen to it again. ❤
Music Like Childhood
A mesmerizing performance with music, mystery, and romance was exactly the break I needed today. Grateful for this breath of fresh artistic air! It really was captivating and reminded me what it feels like to be a child. Thank you @symphonyballet and @enchantmenttheatre for a most magical evening of enchantment and wonder! ❤
Music to Motivate Me
This has been my view a lot lately, chapters showing how song lyrics came to me, stories from my family’s hardest and happiest moments, photos highlighting the hope and miracles that got me through the worst of my depression, and tools that I believe can help anyone live a more joy-filled life. My goal is to share them with the world. That is my life’s mission because I know what it’s like to go beyond feeling depressed or anxious and just feel nothing at all. I also know how to come back from it. One song goes, “My family is a work of art, finger painted all over my heart. It takes work, we make mistakes, but we’re picture-perfect in our own way. We’re so much more than what you see in that frame. With faith and love, we make our mark. Our family is a work of art.” My family has shown incredible faith and love for me throughout this endeavor, both overcoming depression and now writing a book about it. There have been interrupted games and late meals as I’ve tried to wrap up this chapter’s edits or that song’s rewrite, but my family has backed me up all along the way. I love them so much!! I’m forever thankful for their patience and support.❤ Together we’ve created a memoir and self-help book that will save families who, like ours, are so much more than what others see in a picture frame. We aren’t perfect. But we ARE hardworking. We are determined. We are devoted. And we are finally on Amazon!
A Pep Talk from Heaven
Do you ever find yourself unexpectedly thanking God for a precious tender mercy? I had a truly special moment while driving up a hill out of South Ogden yesterday. I’d dropped my kids off at theater class and I was thinking about these big plans I have- my books and blogging, YouTube movies, and other uplifting media- and I was questioning (again) if it’s the right time to be moving forward with these projects, even though I’ve already been waiting for years to work on them. Through all the back and forth in my head I felt prompted to STOP it. Then I found my mouth moving and the following words coming out assertively but gently, “You can do it, Eva.” I realized I never talk to myself in the third person. I started tearing up immediately. Then I felt inside that I needed to change the radio station and, sure enough, a song my dad loved was playing on the radio. Yes, I use positive self-talk, but I never use my name when I do it. This was only something my dad would say and whisper to me. The song, one of the last CDs he ever bought put me over the edge- I felt surrounded by LOVE! ❤ The big open sky looked full of possibilities as I listened to “Clocks” and felt his encouragement from the other side of the veil. Angels are so much closer than we realize. I’m sure of that. I know it! I’m thankful that even though I can’t see my dad, I can still feel him close and receive his love. I’m also grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who blesses me with moments like these.
Happy First Date Anniversary to me! Chad spoiled me with this since “our first date was in New York City.” 😊 The kids and I have been listening to this a LOT on YouTube while we’ve been doing some deep cleaning and major organizing. It really gets me moving! (Hey! Maybe that’s why he bought it…so I’ll keep cleaning! LOL) It’s hard to believe that 14 years ago we headed to NYC for a 5-day trip, even though we barely knew each other. Talk about rewriting the stars! In a million dreams, I never would have guessed our life together, but I’m so glad it’s ours.❤🎶
I love it when the song I really need to hear comes on the radio. I haven’t heard “The Reason” on the radio since college, but the timing was perfect.
A Sacred Music Moment
I had the awesome privilege of singing with the Stake choir a few weeks ago and was blown away by the power of this organ. Standing in front of it while we sang was an incredible experience. I’ve always seen organs and heard them from a distance. But WOW. Standing in front of it while it played? And the hymn, “How Firm a Foundation,” no less? It was like I could feel the earth move under my feet with each chord. It was as though heaven’s angels were behind me, supporting me with their voices. No wonder the leaders at General Conference speak inspired words. How could you not be inspired when you’re so close to this powerful, touching music? Its sound filled me and moved me to tears. For #musicmonday I’m grateful for new, sacred music experiences. As a SAHM, my days don’t include music performances in grandiose halls very often. That’s okay. But I’m still going to be sure I remember this one I enjoyed. And the next time I see the MoTab choir perform, I will be imagining what it’s like to stand there with them.
“Ye shall meet together oft.” I’ve mentioned a little about the winter blues I’ve had here and there, so I was grateful for the opportunities I had to gather and be uplifted. Church with friends. Choir practice with my family. Then I easily convinced my generous, sweet visiting teacher to let me come over and chat while our kids played. We ended up enjoying cozy drinks and company, and talked for over 2 hours! 😄 It’s amazing what some social time did for my spirits. I got through the day. 👊 If you want to feel better, follow Christ and visit others. ❤ Meeting together means making opportunities for connections, caring, comfort, and, in this case, coconut herbal tea.
One last happy thought before bed. Today my entire family sang in the ward choir for one of the Christmas pieces. It took some encouragement (and begging) to get my kids to come to practices the last couple months, but it was beautiful and the best Christmas gift I could have asked for. Since it’s fitting for today’s #lighttheworld , I will mention that Day 24 is, “Ye must watch and pray always.” I know the song of the righteous is a prayer unto God. I’m so grateful I could start today celebrating Christ by singing songs about him with my family. I hope these melodies stay in my heart and keep Jesus on my mind. He is the real reason for the season. ❤🎄
What’s my remedy for the blues? Therapy window shopping at The Guitar Center, of course! 😄 I ALWAYS go with back up (my awesome hubby), because otherwise, I can’t keep up with my kids who want to try EVERYTHING, but it’s so worth it. Especially this time! I left with a Christmas piano/guitar/ukulele book that I purchased with my Christmas bonus. 👊AND Chad said we should start saving for this electric drum set because Sophia has so much natural talent. Just look at her SMILE! 🤗 I told him the basement would make a great soundproof room for all of our dream instruments… He just smiled.
Take Time for Your Dreams…Even if it Takes More Time Than You Expected
Making the Most of the Last Days of Summer…Through Music
#musicmondayAs I worried and held back tears, Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” began to play over the loudspeaker. I have NEVER heard that song played at a pool, but it felt like a message from my dad to me. He liked singing it to me when I was little and even called me his “tiny dancer” especially when he played the piano while I danced in the living room. (Click for more.)
Circle of Hope Summer Play List
Last week I had a very scary doctor’s appointment during which I had to make some big, life-altering decisions. It was the day after returning from Yellowstone, the day before my son’s birthday party, and the morning of his pack meeting and scout advancement, but for a couple of hours before that fun, my husband and I got to discuss future reconstruction options with the plastic surgeon. I had come with many questions, thinking I knew most of the answers, and I was wrong. Big time. But as I left the Dr’s office with a new plan of action, holding back tears, I saw this board, the “Inspiration Wall.” It was made for an Eagle Scout project by a boy in honor of his mother, a cancer survivor. I stopped in my tracks. The question on it was, “What song or piece of music keeps you going?” I LOVE music and reading the answers scribbled on Post-It notes inspired me. They made me smile! I was uplifted. 👊 I read all the songs and added my own, “We are Brave.” I share what I’m going through because I know there’s strength in numbers. 💪 It takes a team, a village, an army! So, what’s your inspiring song?
“Who Says?” Lip Sync
I usually try to hide my tears from my kids. And my breakdowns. But not this time. They knew I was having a REALLY rough day. I thought my stress was due to my pain or financial worries about potential additional surgeries. I haven’t been healing well recently. How much more time would these complications take me away from my family, especially my homeschooled kids? But while those topics were on my mind, the bigger fear, the motivator for the mommy-tirade was vanity. Frustration about my appearance. I opted for a cancer-preventative mastectomy at 34 because it meant I would have the best chance of healing, losing minimal tissue, and looking the most like me post-surgery. But the skin on one side has struggled. The discoloring is bad. Sores are forming, in addition to the Frankenstein stitches of the actual surgery. I’ve just hated how it looked. Along with the fears of infection, I’ve been afraid to look at myself. Disgusted at times. And that fear and disgust turned to anger. I spent most of Sunday sleeping. I hid, trying to refuel my exhausted soul. Then some sweet moments on Monday reminded me of this funny lipsync video I did a few months ago. I did it to let loose, laugh at myself, show my kids their mom can be a clown, and to remind myself that I am WONDERFUL just the way I am. It’s easy to think that when you haven’t been wondering if your skin is dying and if the scarring will ever look less scary. Well, today I believed the lyrics again. I believe I am beautiful just the way God made me. I believe no matter what my body becomes, I am still the best mother for my children. I believe no matter my scars, I am a fantastic wife. I believe it’s in our trials we come closer to God, closer to our greatest selves, and closer to true beauty.
“There is Hope Smiling Brightly Before Us”
I had some hopeful, happy moments on the way back from my doctor’s appointments. The hubby and I decided to splurge for lunch at Five Guys, but their bathroom wasn’t available so I went into Waffle Love for a minute. This beautiful, hopeful print was in their bathroom. #loveit Totally made my day. And they had this adorable, mini subway tile too! It was only six inches long! So cute! So that made me happy. And then when I got my burger it confirmed what I hoped. I’m #1. 🤗
The week got away from me, but I still want to post my uplifting pics.😊 For #musicmonday I want to remind myself how happy and healing music can be. #artsinthepark had a band and supplies for the kids to make kazoos. Michael jumped in and got his siblings excited. We joined in with the Star Wars theme and The Bare Necessities of Life, and it felt so relaxing! Music is magical! Make sure it’s part of your life. ♥
The Day the Music Died
Me: Yeah, it’s pretty cute.
Sophia (said completely casually as she continued to peruse in her sophisticated-seven-year-old fashion): I’ll buy it for you.
Me (smiling and saying in my head): It’s the thought that counts. She has no idea how much that dress costs, how many hours of chores she would have to suffer through to earn the money- the whole nature of what it would take is beyond her. But knowing she would like to buy it for me warmed my heart. (Click for more.)
Hey, Mama Welcome to the 60’s!
OK, I hope some of you know what movie musical my posting title is from…Hairspray, people! The scene from that song seriously makes me teary every time I watch it. In case you haven’t seen it it is literally about a teenage daughter welcoming her mother to the real world. The mother’s obesity and fear have kept her homebound, just cleaning and wearing muumuus for decades. During the song they enter the colorful 1960’s city streets, dance, shop, sing, dance more (the end is better than an Old Navy commercial!) and together they overcome the fears that were holding them back. You gotta love a good musical moment… (Click for more.)