Music Mondays

Music Miracle

Miracles. Happen. Every. Day. I was dealing with some major PTSD triggers at the pool last weekend. I wanted to go hide in the corner and cry. I thought about letting the kids play on their own while I watched from the side. I even considered just having us all pack up and head home though we’d barely arrived. And then Rocket Man started playing. 🎶 And Saturday Night’s Alright. And Benny and the Jets! And Don’t Go Braking my Heart! ❤️ It was like an entire album of Elton John’s greatest hits was loaded in their sound system! I was shocked! I felt safe and happy and like I was back in my childhood home hearing my dad play all these songs on our piano. 🎹 I have never heard that many Elton John songs played in a row in public. Ever. I know it wasn’t by chance. That music has always helped me feel my dad close. That day it made me feel empowered by the support I have from the other side so I could stick it out for my kids (and myself). The anxiety melted away, and we had a wonderful time together! It was like I was protected from all the stress that had trapped me. There was this shield of support and I wasn’t scared anymore! I’m so grateful for tender mercies from heaven! I know they’re real. I know they can help us and strengthen us. If we accept it, support can come anytime. Anywhere. For me, power came through 70’s music that reminded me of how greatly I’m loved by my long-distance Dad. 🎵💜👊#musicmonday

The Little Things

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“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

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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!

Recording Roadblocks

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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. ❤️🎵💪🤞👊😖🍩

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The Real Me

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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. ❤️

Manic Monday

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“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

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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. 😂

Dancing Queen

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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.

Dream Small

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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!

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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

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Anniversary Music!

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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.❤🎶

Perfect Timing

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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

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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.

Choir Pick-me-up

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“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.

Christmas Carols

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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. ❤🎄

Music-window-shopping Therapy

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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

I am so thankful that I have patiently pursued my dreams while devoting myself to motherhood.  I am a full-time mom every day and night.  I work from home when I can, but between homeschooling and being there for my kids while my husband works extended hours, they need me a lot!  But it’s still been possible to find time for me as I’ve remembered patience.
I knew early on that I would not be able to juggle parenting and a profession, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t do both at some degree.  When my babies were little I read books to learn about writing while I nursed them.  I wrote songs in my mind and mentally outlined ideas for my own books while I played with kids at the park.  I practiced my singing as I sang the alphabet song and lullabies to them. (Click for more.)

Making the Most of the Last Days of Summer…Through Music

For this week’s #musicmonday I’m sharing a tender mercy I was blessed with at our last day at the local pool. I was having a woe-is-me moment as I saw everyone swimming and realized I couldn’t get in the pool yet post-surgery, while also stressing about how I would look after my next surgery (it’s hard not to think about your body when you’re surrounded by people in swimwear.)  As 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.

Ukulele in the Mountains

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A quick, overnight camping trip was just what we needed. Though we were slow getting out (and I STILL haven’t unloaded my van) it was great to be unplugged and outdoors for a couple of days. Michael held my hand to steady me in the frigid water while I tried to keep my Ukulele dry when we gathered river rocks. Chad was a superb cook, making the best hobo dinners we’ve ever tasted- seriously. The older kids ate all their veggies and asked for more. We used the same hammock and tent I grew up with, but were surprised to learn the zippers on it were broken! But Chad got clever with a tarp and we were warm enough for the night…even though we forgot 3 sleeping bags. LOL I loved watching my kids swing and laugh together, run around with flashlights taped to their nerf guns as they played Zombie ( the parents were the zombies) and of course, make “Snores” like Sam liked to call them. Michael was a great fire starter and Sam fanned it, while Sophia and I visited (and tried to avert the panic of itchy mosquito bites.) When it was time for washing dishes she was quick to say, “What? I didn’t know there were chores on camping trips!” 😂 She did it though and did a great job. Our solo night hike was also awesome and the traditional Anderson silly, spooky stories and jokes, even if it meant we all stayed up later than we should have, and there was some petty complaining to end the night. The next day brought more fun though and basically, we learned we love camping with our kids these ages and that we need more practice doing it!

“There is Hope Smiling Brightly Before Us”

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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. 🤗

Music Brings Peace

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I had the incredible opportunity to hear @caleereed sing for a short and casual, yet intimate and inspiring concert. I’m continually amazed at the gift music is in our lives. It transcends languages and worlds. It speaks to the spirit and soul like an old friend. Music brings peace that is timeless and true. There is nothing like a lifting lyric and melody to comfort the weary heart. Thanks Calee for sharing your priceless gift of song! Your voice and testimony were amazing! The evening was unforgettable. ❤

Music is Magical

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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. ♥

God Knows

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We sang to Sam for his birthday yesterday and I got to conduct the singing since that’s my volunteer position at church, primary chorister. Honestly, it’s been a hard adjustment for me to be with the kids on Sundays. LOL😂 I homeschool kids all week, mine and others, and I kind of liked having me time at church. But I’ve grown in my faith as I’ve realized serving is good every day, especially Sunday, especially when you get to sing with your own kids while they’re STILL kids. Once again, God knew exactly what He was doing. ♥ P.S. I love Sam’s proud/smug look. 😎

LOVE One Another

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This was on the chalkboard when I walked into primary today. ♥ Thank you to the stranger who brightened my day with a simple, anonymous act. It reminded me of the song I planned to have the kids sing today, “Love One Another”, inspired by the words of Christ. We really can spread love, hope, peace, and joy with one little act of love at a time. This picture proves it. ♥

Musical Performances (and mayhem)

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May was so good to us.♥ I took way too many pictures that night of their dancing, singing, theatrics, and running through sprinklers (and I will hopefully share those eventually) but I think this one conveys how PROUD I am of my kids and how VERY HAPPY they make me. P.S. I secretly love how Michael snuck in his handcrafted, original, duct tape covered blades. 😂👊🙌

Sammy Sings

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As one of our end of year activities, we sang at an assisted living center. Watching Sam mingle with the ladies warmed my heart even more than watching him sing, and that’s saying something! ❤ He so naturally made conversation, joked, and hugged each one. That is a gift.

“The Spirit of God”

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I was overcome today as we stood and sang “The Spirit of God” and then I turned around and saw this beautiful mother surrounded by her daughters. They played with her hair. They sang along, following her example. They wanted to be close to her as they joined their voices in praising the Lord. What a precious family! @theimperfectpie I hope you realize what a lovely real light you are to your friends and children! I hope you know your honest and raw mom moments are also balanced with tender ones like these. Thank you for always being willing to show us both! Truly, you are a gem in the crown of motherhood. ♥ I’m so grateful today for all the wonderful, inspiring mom friends I’m privileged to know. Keep up the good work, and keep the faith. 😉👊

Musical & Munchy Traditions

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Baking together in our PJs Sunday night while listening to inspired music? THIS is a tradition I can get behind!

Musical Bonding and Bedtime Procrastination

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Staying up way past bedtime, trying out new songs on the ukulele, singing in falsetto, and making fools of ourselves.

Childhood Memories with My Own Children

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The movie Little Women brings with it so many feelings of nostalgia. I come from a family of sisters and we were very close. My father may not have been a Civil War soldier during the 1880s, but he was a Civil War reenactor. I even remember listening to this movie’s soundtrack as I fell asleep in college. So many good memories! This week, while our car was buried in the snow, we stayed warm inside our home and I introduced my kids to this treasure. I made a streusel cake and cider. I answered question upon question since it was hard for my kids to differentiate between the brunette sisters. I cried during more parts than I care to admit. With our Christmas tree still up, we too experienced one of the coldest winters while we witnessed all their simple, yet profound, adventures. It’s a strange thing to experience a movie again, as a parent. I used to see bits of myself in each of the daughters. This time I saw my daughter in Jo, my son in Laurie, and myself in Marmee, though I don’t feel anywhere near as I wise as her. It’s amazing how some stories are timeless, and some characters, reflections of your past, present, and future.

Music Moments

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Millennium Falcon on the record player. Remnants of the never-ending Risk game on the coffee table. Bills Binder and laptop on the couch as I take a break. But all I see is a sweet moment where a little girl is smiling and listening to her Daddy play ukulele. He’s just walked in from work, and he won’t even be taking his coat off because he’s on his way to another job, but for this moment, they are each other’s (and my) world.

“Make ’em Laugh!”

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Watching “Make ’em Laugh” for the first time, along with “Good Morning” and “Singin’ in the Rain”. After breaking the news about Carrie Fisher, I told them about her courageous, talented mother, who when she was virtually unknown, agreed to practice hard and star alongside two of the best performers in Hollywood. Intimidating? Heck, yes! Impossible? No. Dear Debbie Reynolds, may you be laughing and forever dancing among the stars. Thank you for all the beauty and joy you gave us.

Inspired by Music to Forgive

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“Jesus forgave others and so can you.” It felt really good to consciously forgive someone today, and just shed that burden that had been lingering. I wasn’t harboring a grudge or strong negative feelings. It was just something on the back burner that I hadn’t dealt with yet, that I hadn’t let go of. But because of #lightheworld I deliberately forgave today and it felt so freeing. Then I put a new Christmas CD on in the car, loaded up the kids with a fresh source of inner energy within myself and we made trips around the neighborhood dropping goodies off to some friends. Forgiving truly is taking energy and putting it to better use elsewhere. If you feel tired, overwhelmed, strained… FORGIVE. Forgive yourself, forgive others and forgive God. I promise it will put a spring in your step. 

This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let it Shine!

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Tonight my children helped support me by singing sweetly at our church Christmas party. I was in charge of the music, and I’m so thankful they participated without complaint. Afterward, I showed care for my mother by visiting with her and then dropping off my kids and letting her have them over for a sleepover. 😄 It’s good to feel needed and know people are there for your needs too. “Jesus cared for his mother and so can you.” 

Pondering with The Piano Guys

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From our Sunday afternoon drive as we listened to The Piano Guys and reflected on General Conference. “The Lord knows the hearts of ALL of His children.” I know this is true because the talks that were shared today were specifically on topics my testimony needed to hear. Today was my miracle. Just like God knows and takes care of every lily and sparrow, and every leaf on every tree, he knows me and takes care of me too. And although there were hard times today, with distractions and disappointments, it doesn’t matter. His LOVE and the beauty his love brings into my life CONQUERS ALL.

Singing to Serve

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Yesterday we had the privilege of singing and speaking at a church service at a Rehabilitation & Care Center. It might have been because no one else volunteered, Dad may have had to drive home to get a talk that somehow was removed from a bag after I put it in, and Sammy may have whispered to me “He’s going to die soon” when he saw a resident sobbing when they were overwhelmed by the music, but I would DEFINITELY do it all again. It was so special to hear everyone in my family speak on being Christ-like, and then sing songs like I Am a Child of God and I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus acapella in between each talk. My heart was full as I sang a combination of Come Thou Font and O My Father. That wasn’t the plan, but when I came upon the third verse my mind went blank but then the third verse of O My Father came to me. As I started singing it, many in the congregation smiled and started mouthing the words along with me. <3 I truly feel that was the verse I was meant to sing. I’m so thankful for moments like this that are sometimes thrust upon us. They are opportunities to grow, opportunities to serve, and opportunities to see others the way God sees them and love them the way God loves them.

Jail Time for Jammin’?

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Seriously considered breaking the glass on this one. Jail time would totally be worth getting to play these, right? #smithsonian #museumofamericanhistory#iheartmusic #ellafitzgerald #dukeellington#chevassecondhoneymoon

“Born to Wear a Crown”

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Every life has challenges. We lose jobs, our homes, our health, our hopes, or even loved ones. What we didn’t think could possibly happen to us, does. When pain and fear creep in it’s so important we turn to God before anyone else. Only He knows the big picture. Only He knows why He’s shaping us the way He is. And only He can comfort us just the way we need it. For me, it’s through helping me write songs like this. Peace IS possible! Healing happens! And we are always strong enough when we leaning on God. This is from this morning’s writing time…
I don’t want to be scared, Don’t want to go astray
I don’t want to lose hope or give up my Faith
So I pray every day, How can I be brave?
I don’t want to be lonely, Don’t want to give in
To that voice inside my head, I can’t let it win
No matter what it says, But how do I stay
A fighter, A soldier
When this battle is so long?
My fire grows bolder
‘Cause this war makes it strong
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey
It’s not the person I’ve been or the hurting
All that matters is who I am right now
It’s not the path that I tried or didn’t take
It’s not the tears that I cried, we all can break
All that matters is who I am right now
And I’m born to wear a crown <3

Duets & Discoveries

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Sophia and I were asked to sing with another mother and daughter in church. At one point this week I pulled out because I felt too overwhelmed, tired and just incapable. I didn’t want to do my motherhood jobs, let alone sing about it. But then I read the words to the song and KNEW I had to humble myself, push through and remember these words more…
Children: “Mother, do you love me? Mother, will you care for me? Even if I turn away, or disobey, or go astray, then will you love me still? Mother, will you teach me? Mother, help me choose the right. When I do not understand the Lord’s command, please take my hand and lead me safely with his light. I need your love, I need your light to show me how to be like Jesus. The Savior’s love will light the path to lead me safely home.”
Mothers: “Oh yes, my child, I love you. My child, I’ll always care for you. And with the Savior as our guide, I’ll share the light I feel inside, and you will feel his love for you. Oh yes, my child, I’ll teach you. My child, I’ll help you choose the right. And when you do not understand the Lord’s command, I’ll take your hand, and he will lead us with his light.”
Together: “I need your love, I need your light, to show me how to be like Jesus. The Savior’s love will light the path to lead us safely home.”
Life is hard. But in the darkness, we always have the light and love of God. I’m so thankful I can teach that to my kids, they can teach that to me, and that music and church can help us feel God’s love.

Bach Time

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This is what we’ve been listening to today as we spring clean and go through the last of this year’s school supplies, and I learned something I never knew! I have something in common with Bach! “His art, his work, and his family- that was all he treasured in life.” I’m no Bach, but I sure do treasure God, my family, and creating music and art. <3

Big Album Plans

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It’s done. I’ve narrowed down and ordered my songs for my first album. The ones I felt inspired to choose aren’t even completely written. But this is bigger than me, so I’m following those promptings. I’m so excited to be sharing the songs that help me every day to silence my anxiety, press forward and enjoy this life! This has been possible thanks to a generous, patient, loving Heavenly Father who has answered countless prayers and provided tender miracles in my life. Some days (and moments) are definitely harder than others, but I’m still here to sing, write and laugh with my family! That’s a miracle I’m indebted for, so if anything I can share can help someone else then I will do it, no matter how shy or scared I feel. <3 Now, to remember how to record a song after my 12-year hiatus. 😉 Time to watch some YouTube tutorials…

Lullaby Time

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How do you end a long, wonderful day after your first high school play performance? With Wendy’s and some original lullabies on ukulele from Mom. See her yawning?! It’s working! 

I Feel Better When I’m Dancing

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If you came to my house right now you would find a dinner table halfway set and a mother and daughter happily distracted as we Zumba along to YouTube videos. If there isn’t time to take a break and dance with your kids, you are too busy! Try it…you won’t regret it. 😉 I even had to pay my 4-year-old with some spin time in mommy’s arms to get him to take the 25 photos it took to get this kind-of-not-blurry gem. Best trade ever. 10 minutes later there were already tears from a child due to a momentary frustration, but it’s OK. At least we danced! And we will again. <3

You Never Know

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Sigh. Stake Conference was long and hard. Seemed like everything I thought I had packed, wasn’t in the bag. And my kids were endlessly thirsty and trampling over my feet to get to the drinking fountain. So there was NO energy left to walk around the temple grounds next door when it was done. But my littlest did say as we first walked in after an audible gasp, “I know this place! I saw it on the TV! Mom, remember those big things? I remember those! I LOVE being here with you, Mom!” Of course, 15 minutes later he was begging to go home, but it was wonderful to know he recognized that big organ as part of something good, comforting, and special. I know I make a lot of mistakes at this motherhood thing, but it’s nice to know I’m getting some important things right.

Dreams Come True

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Can you feel the motion and music in this crazy picture?! That’s me, messy hair and happy-faced, as I get to sing about swinging monkeys teasing Mr. Alligator. It’s been a dream of mine to get to do a Mommy & Me music class for 9 years…I finally have a child who’s interested! 

The Day the Music Died

Today it’s been one year since I held my Daddy’s hand and watched him take his last breath. It was in his pale yellow bedroom overlooking the city he grew up in, in the hills of San Diego.  And in all that time I haven’t written about the tender mercies I experienced that morning, or what I did with the rest of that sacred day.  Well, now it’s time. (Click for more.)
Connecting and Crying with Laura Ingalls Wilder
Yesterday I found a kindred spirit who also loved her bearded, Papa. Someday I will write here daily and make entire posts out of the “aha moments” I scratch down on random slips of paper or my mental chalkboard.  But until then, it’s when I make the time and for this, I AM making the time.  It seems fitting that yesterday of all days this happened, the same day I had just taught my own Creative Writing students about the impact of writing.  I explained how some don’t believe the author to be the author of the book.  Instead, the reader is the author because they are going to interpret the story their own way.  What might be meaningless to one person might be brilliant to someone else because it connects with them differently.  Last night, I had a connection.  Here is my journal entry about it…

I was really blubbering tonight (have been a lot lately) but how could I not lose it while listening to this violin (that could have been part of a Civil War reenactment) play Auld Lang Syne and while reading these words…(Click for more.)

The Four Thoughts that Brightened my Darkness
I’d like to preface the sensitive nature of this post with something my daughter said this morning…
Sophia: Mommy, do you like this dress? (pointing to a picture in a catalog)
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.)
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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.)