This is too fun! This was my second attempt at a 30 minute piece!
This piece reminds me of my two mini-scientists exploring the world of Zoology this week (in homeschool). It has been so much fun to catch ants for our ant farm, take a walk to try to find a worm (no luck!) and order a caterpillar to butterfly kit that we are anticipating will come tomorrow!
Has it been hard to sleep lately? I have had some nights of tossing and turning and I just COULD NOT SLEEP! I hate it when that happens- especially because I am usually really good at sleeping!
This week I decided to try a 30 minute challenge: “Write an entire piece in 30 minutes!” It was the BEST use of 30 minutes as it got my creative juices turned on and gave me a big boost when I finished- plus the process was exciting and fun! I called it sleepless because it reminds me of the process of falling asleep. You’ll hear a melody that reminds me of that twilight right-before-sleep time, then a shift that represents a thought catching hold- something you need to think hard about and gets your heart racing…then back to deep breaths and trying to sleep…At the end it trails off and you drop into a nice dreamy slumber.
This quote has been rattling around in my head all week. Need more light in your life? It’s available!!
Here is my major theme this morning: As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory spiritual power for the righteous. As the world slides from its spiritual moorings, the Lord prepares the way for those who seek Him, offering them greater assurance, greater confirmation, and greater confidence in the spiritual direction they are traveling. The gift of the Holy Ghost becomes a brighter light in the emerging twilight.
To understand better, think of these comparisons: If the world were growing more physically dark, He could give us enhanced night vision. If loud noises were constantly in our ears, He could give us a filtering mechanism to block the unwanted sound. If the race we were running was extended, He could give us increased lung and muscle capacity. If the exam we were taking was more difficult, He could quicken our minds.
My brothers and sisters, as evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory power, an additional spiritual endowment, a revelatory gift for the righteous. This added blessing of spiritual power does not settle upon us just because we are part of this generation. It is willingly offered to us; it is eagerly put before us. But as with all spiritual gifts, it requires our desiring it, pursuing it, and living worthy of receiving it. “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift?”
-BYU speech by Elder Neil Anderson
Here is the whole talk if you’d like to review it.
Have you found this to be true as the commotion in the world increases? I have! It usually means stepping away from the news, going somewhere by myself, and praying. I have felt Heavenly Father’s desire to communicate with me to a greater degree than I did before 2020. I have had some sweet experiences listening and Hearing Him – not in an audible way, but in my mind and my heart. I have received messages that were personal and unmistakably from Heaven- under the stars.
Do you find yourself needing to work a little extra hard to get your hopes up again these days? I sure do. It takes work to put on your tennis shoes and run out in the hope instead of getting stuck inside your head with fears, doubts, and looping in uncertainty.
A few weeks ago I was having a pretty lousy day. Nothing really that out of the ordinary- just a pretty normal run-of-the-mill funk. A friend texted me to see how I was doing and instead of texting a fake happy face to pretend everything was fine, I told her that it had been a rough one so far and that I was trying to shake it off but it wasn’t working so far. This is what she texted back: “Have you done anything to feed your spirit today?” She caught me in my tracks. No, actually, I hadn’t. The day had started out faster than usual and I had to skip my morning routine to take care of something. So even the basics had been skipped, not to mention anything extra that filled my cup. And then she proceeded to send me a few options as potential pick-me-ups. I was so grateful. One was a song that really lifted my spirits and gave me a very personal message from my Heavenly Father, reminding me that He loves me and is aware of me.
I thought I’d pay it forward. If you’re needing a pick-me-up, I hope one of these things speaks to you and lifts your spirits. Don’t forget that your spirit needs to be fed daily, just like your body. Sometimes I forget to tune into that (or maybe feel like there’s no space for it!) and my spirit (yours too?) begins to feel depleted and starved for nourishment. Here is a song that fed my spirit recently:
(This is one of the first songs that introduced me to Hilary Weeks and still my favorite!)
Dancing in the Rain (Lyrics are at the bottom of this page in case you’d like to follow along!)
It clouded over on Monday morning And I’d hoped to wake up to sunshine Come Tuesday I think I felt it A little raindrop on top of my head
On Wednesday no mistaken it By Thursday no escaping it the storm had rolled in
I thought about going back to bed Or reading the book on my night stand I considered calling the weatherman Just to ask when it might end
I did something you would not have thought I grabbed my polka dot umbrella And I opened the door…
And I danced in the rain I let my dreams know I hadn’t forgotten them I let my heart take the lead and I told my hopes to get themselves up again And I danced, I looked, yes I danced in the rain
I invited my worries to step aside I needed room to see in front of me As the raindrops fell on my overcoat I let em roll right off of my back
And I waited for the rainbow Cause Heaven and me we both know This storm’s gonna pass…
And I danced in the rain I let my dreams know I hadn’t forgotten them I let my heart take the lead and I told my hopes to get themselves up again And I danced, I looked, yes I danced…
I danced till my fears washed away Then I thanked the rain for coming… today
So I could dance in the rain And let my dreams know I hadn’t forgotten them
I danced in the rain I let my dreams know I hadn’t forgotten them I let my heart take the lead and I told my hopes to get themselves up again And I danced, I looked, yes I danced in the rain
The last few months I’ve been learning about orchestration but decided at some point that the best way to learn how is to put down the instructional material, sit myself down and try. Orchestra music feels pretty far out of my current reality since I’ve never played in an orchestra. Listening Star Wars music or some good ‘ole Beethoven has me dazzled but isn’t something I know how to replicate at the moment. (Maybe it’s because they are two of the finest orchestrators I can think of…). Anyway, I decided that writing for something I know and can understand may be a good starting place: Junior High Band. Not only did I play in one (french horn!) but my 1st son is currently in Junior High Band and my 2nd son will be there next year (shout out to trombones!).
This is what I came up with. The best part of this project was that I felt way more invested in the process than finishing and sharing the product. Writing music is just so dang fun!
This piece has changed titles a few times, from “Go and Do the Extra Mile” to “Go and Do” to “Polar Plunge” and now the one I settled on. I learned that you can sketch out a story for music that doesn’t have words just like you can for a song with lyrics. My story is essentially “The Little Red Hen” with a twist- the little worker flute is diligently working and her/his example causes the clarinet to join in. Pretty soon you get to hear how the brass section feels about the idea of pitching in (spoiler: not good) and as the piece progresses, the instruments have conversations and eventually all the instruments get on board with the flute’s vision of working together- even the lazy trombone (listen for that change of heart in the last measure). Enjoy!