Hi friends! Today I am sharing a piece I wrote last year with a friend. Here is some background and at the bottom of the post is the link to the recording. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
The Story of “Teach My Heart to See” as told by Laura Harper
(Music and Lyrics by Shaillé Claypool and Laura Harper)
“Teach My Heart to See” was one of the most enjoyable music writing experiences I’ve had yet. Mainly this was because it was my first collaboration with a talented musician- Shaillé Claypool. Shaillé is my friend’s daughter’s friend- and now my good friend and collaborator! My friend Marlene “happened” to mention a woman in Spokane Valley who is writing music similar to mine, and I knew immediately that I needed to talk to her. The next day our phone conversation flowed easily as we discussed music and the experiences we have had that are related. It was unbelievable how similar our stories are (our husbands are both optometrists!), and we felt like Heavenly Father had brought us together- there was no other way to explain how directed this potential collaboration felt.
As I finished “Master of Colors”, Shaillé was working on a draft of lyrics for “Seeing with the Heart”, a title which would change names two other times in the process. I couldn’t believe how fast she could crank out full lyrics- it blew me away! The lyrics sat waiting for me in my inbox as I finished my other project, and then I sat down to work on the music. I found that without worrying about the lyrics, the music flowed much more freely than it ever had. The process was playful and joyful, and experimental, and I soon emailed her a “skeleton” of the music portion with the lyrics typed in. I had been learning a lot about Alan Menkin, so some of my writing reflects what I learned from videos I watched about his writing process and methods. Once we had both initially generated part of the song, we became full co-creators- working on both the lyrics and the music, working mainly through email, though we had the opportunity to work together in person on one exciting Saturday!
A week before Easter, I was given the opportunity to sing the following Sunday (on Easter) during Sunday School. I immediately thought of “our song” and wondered if we could finish the details in one week and have it ready to share. Shaillé and I decided we were willing to try. It was a busy week of working out the kinks, but the Saturday of Easter weekend, the sheet music was finalized and ready to share.
I love this piece of music- it’s living and vibrant. The words and lyrics are authentic and brim full with testimony. Our hope is that this Easter season, and any time that the music is heard, it will strengthen faith and perhaps provide a glimpse of what was once invisible!
Last night as Jon and I were chatting before bed, we realized that we’re already done with all the Christmas parties for this season (besides the actual Christmas Eve and Christmas festivities!). The work part was Saturday, the church party (we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) was Friday, almost all of the Christmas concerts are done…It’s been a busy 10 days of December already! Now that those things are checked off the list, I want to turn my focus toward lighting the world- basically choosing to do what Jesus Christ would do if he were here. What a wonderful way to celebrate his life. Do you know what a big difference you can make?! This website has details that will help guide our family as we reach out through the Christmas season. I invite you to join us as we focus our celebrations on the Light of the World- Jesus Christ!
Have you heard of Cheri Call? I’d say she was one of the top 5 song-writers that inspired me when I first started writing music. I told people I wanted to be somewhere between Cheri Call and Josh Groban. Figure that one out! 🙂 One of my favorite songs that Cheri wrote was called “No” and as far as I can tell, there are only pirated copies that are accessible over the internet. So I’ll share the lyrics with you and you can go seek out her CD if you’re interested! I LOVE it when a songwriter uses a phrase to mean one thing, (like “He says No”) and then because of the journey you go on as the song progresses, the song-writer actually presents the same phrase and it means something totally different toward the end of the song. Gives me goosebumps! Here’s the lyrics to “No”:
A little boy at the end of a day knelt by his bed to say a prayer
And Father up in Heaven heard the prayer he prayed
And listened to each word with greatest care
The boy said,
“Please bless that tomorrow I won’t have to take a bath,
And bless that they will cancel school for snow.”
And God had the power to protect him and never let him grow
But He said, “No.”
A young man was holding tightly to the hand of a girl who had to say
And as she walked away he had to whisper a prayer
As he fought every tear that filled his eyes
“Please can you make her turn around and change her mind?
It’s the deepest hurt that I have ever known.”
And God had the power to protect him and never let him grow
But He said, “No.”
And there are yeses that our father can hardly wait to give
And they are packed in every crevice of the lives we live
Sometimes God will pour down miracles and amazing twists of fate
And other times He chooses just to whisper, “Wait.”
How many times have I prayed for blue skies
So no one has to cancel the game
And I feel so abandoned when the sky gets dark
Never knowing all the ones who prayed for rain
And usually the story’s even trickier than this
With solutions that only God could know
But if you ask Him if He’s ever overlooked you
Or ceased to love you so
He’ll say, “No.”
Last week, several of my family members and I had an email discussion about cheese. No, not parmesan and cheddar- cheese as in “cheesy”, “over-the-top”, “hard to experience without cringing” kind of cheese.
Sometimes I watch little videos that are supposed to be really touching but for some reason, it just doesn’t do it for me. And then I watch one like this that just makes me cry because it’s so beautifully done. This is a must-see as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It so beautifully shows the healing that can take place for each of us this season- healing that is possible because of our Savior. (Get comfy and grab some tissues!)
I’ll admit- I haven’t seen all the new Star Wars movies. When I talk about Star Wars being amazing, (did I mention that Star Wars is one of my favorite movie-series?) it’s the original 3 that I’m talking about. Who’s with me? Hans Solo is witty and handsome, Leia is gorgeous, Darth Vador is the epitomy of “bad guy”, the drama is perfect, the droids, the death star, Chewbacca, the action, Luke discovering….who he is (no spoiler here in case you haven’t watched it!) and of course, the Millenial Falcon…
How much of my fondness is more tied to childhood memories than the actual movie? I can’t be sure! But either way, today I had to share this incredible tribute to Star Wars in case you haven’t seen it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgAlQuqzl8o
About a week ago, I went on a field trip with my 6 year old, L. After learning about catagorizing items, the kindergartners were introduced to the idea of “living” and “non-living.” We went out in the woods to explore, looking for things to write down for each category.
Here’s a question for you that I’ve been pondering today. How many of you name non-living items in your life? Sure, it makes sense to name a dog (living), a child (living), or a perhaps a wild turkey (yes, they like to visit our back yard- definitely living). But how about a toaster? A car? A computer?
When Jon and I got married, we had a car that we fondly named “Shenaynay” (shuh-nay-nay). We talked about it being the car that our oldest, G, would learn to drive someday. (We’re now 5 years away from that frightening day and Shenaynay is still going strong! Go Hondas!) Later we purchased a Honda CR-V that was a beautiful red color and we named her “Cherry”. No, we have never named our toaster, though we were excited the other day when we realized we still have the same toaster we received on our wedding day (nearly 13 years ago!).
Today as I was thinking about getting up to the piano to start “working” (aka playing) for the day, I thought, “Really, she needs a name!” Yes, it’s a “she”. Maybe because it makes me feel less outnumbered with 3 boys and a husband. Maybe just so the piano doesn’t compete with the boys for being a favorite boy. But really, she needs a name.
So, readers, I’m throwing it out to you. Tell me what she looks like: a Bertha? Glenda? Leslie? I need your help- she needs a name. 🙂 (And I’d love to hear about non-living things you have named over the years.)