Tell Me a Story...

The Little Red Flute: The Story

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Photo by yichen sun on Unsplash

Hello friends!  August is going quick, isn’t it?

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!

The Little Red Flute

Cause it makes me happy...

Focal Point

Good morning!  It’s a great day to be alive, isn’t it?  This morning on my walk/run I came across this beauty:

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Its hard to see but here were some miniature purple flowers in this weedy plant that fascinated me. They were so tiny! But they matter, and they reminded me of this truth: Heavenly Father is in the details of this flower and he is in the details of my life- and yours!  Can you see it today?

This week I revamped my goals for Melodies of Light. I kept asking myself “what’s the point?” when I would sit down to write music.  It was getting really frustrating because it felt like every writing session became a “Why am I doing this?” session which would end in me surfing the internet for ideas and not writing anything.  Very productive…

So goals.  Because of my question “What’s the point?” I decided to come up with my “focal point.”  One dictionary defines a focal point as “the thing that people concentrate on or pay most attention to.”  My focal point boils down to these 5 P’s:

1- Passion

2- Purpose

3- Process

4- Progress

5- Personal

I will likely spend some time in future posts elaborating for now, but that’s the teaser.  I then went through and did an exercise (thank you, Steven Covey) of visualizing Melodies of Light 10 years from now, 5 years, 1 year, 6 months, 3 months, and the end of this week.  It was probably the most effective I’ve ever been at getting specific about what I think I want in the future.  I dreamed and wrote and it felt so good!  My motivation is on fire today with my focal point and goals to remind me “why.”  The only problem left is finding a healthy balance with how I use my time…

Hopefully (hold me accountable!) that will mean more activity here at Melodies of Light! So I’m feeling excited about diving back in!

I want to share a few other things that I’ve loved lately:

One is this:

And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them… (1 Nephi 17:3)

Here is the companion to that scripture:

But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen.  (1 Nephi 9:6)

Isn’t that so reassuring?!  No matter what He asks of us, He prepares a way for us to do it.  What has He asked you to do?  Is it apparent yet how He has prepared a way for you to accomplish it??  Perhaps for now it will take trust and hope to keep moving forward until the way is clearer.  But rest assured that it is possible with His help!

This morning I re-watched bits of episode 1 of this amazing show (Artful)- have you seen it?  It’s all about artists who share how they view their art.  I find it so inspiring.  The first man is a painter and he talks about reaching heavenward as he paints – that longing for a connection with heaven is part of what makes the creative process so satisfying.  Take a look!  (The painter I’m referring to is Brian Kershisnik.)

Artful

And finally, this song has been a theme for me lately.  “Slow down. Be still and know that I am God.”  I have felt the nudge to slow my breathing, soak up the beauty around me and allow myself to be still more often.  It is in that stillness that I can “hear” (or feel!) God speak to me through the Holy Ghost.  Such a beautiful message, beautifully expressed (by Sissel and the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square).

Slow Down

Lyrics:

In the midst of my confusion
In the time of desperate need
When I am thinking not too clearly
A gentle voice does intercede

Slow down, slow down, be still
Be still
and wait, on the Spirit of the Lord
Slow down and hear His voice
And know that He is God

In the time of tribulation
When I’m feeling so unsure
When things are pressing in about me
Comes a gentle voice so still, so pure

Slow down, slow down, be still, my child
Be still and wait, on the Spirit of the Lord
Slow down and hear His voice
And know that He is God
And know that He is God

That’s what is on my mind today, friends.  I hope you are enjoying a day sprinkled with  sunshine, hope, giggles and peace.

Love,

Laura

Tell Me a Story...

Peace in Christ: The Story

 

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Thanksgiving 2019 Nathan and Rebecca Harper Style (in Eagle, Idaho)

The best way to get to know Rebecca Harper is to go to her home.  Drive up to her beautiful house and watch as she throws the door open wide and stretches out her arms like you see in this picture.  “Have I done some great favor to her?” you wonder, as she is positively giddy giving you and yours hugs and talking about the fun we’ll have together.  Somehow, us coming to her home to benefit from her hospitality seems like the best gift we could have given.  As Nathan and Rebecca play right along side your littles over the next few days, you wonder where they get there never-ending-energy.  From hot tubbing to building Kinex to dancing her heart out, Rebecca is in the center of the action and delights in making us all feel special.

In the last post, I talked about the heartache of finding out that Aunt Rebecca had died in a car crash and family members were in the hospital.  Our hearts ache for the months and years ahead for Rebecca’s sweetheart, Nathan, and son, Dallin without their sweet Rebecca.

Though we didn’t know that it would be possible when we received the sad news, we were blessed to be able to gather as a family despite the COVID 19 restrictions (outdoor graveside/funeral) last weekend.  As we we shed tears together over Rebecca’s passing and talked about the past and the future, this scripture seemed to be the only way I could explain the way I felt:

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  ~Philippians 4:7

The peace we felt was beyond what made logical sense.  In the wake of such tragedy, how is it possible to feel such an overwhelming sense of love and hope and peace?  The feeling of angels surrounding us and the strengthening power of Jesus Christ were real and evident in a way I had never experienced before.

There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that I read while I was in Idaho that described well the feeling I have had since I returned home:

“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.” (Mosiah 24:14-15, Book of Mormon)

We as a family, too, have been visited “in our afflictions” and now I stand as a witness of the reality of Jesus Christ, His power to sustain, lift, strengthen, and comfort all of us.  It is the truth that “When there is no peace on earth, there is Peace in Christ.”

I hope you enjoy this recording as much as we enjoyed recording it (not possible 🙂 ).  It was a gift that all of the sister-in-laws on both sides of the family could gather and sing together.  We presented this musical number at the graveside service.

Peace in Christ

Tell Me a Story...

Peace: The Story

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Permission received from Kate Lee

This piece was written several years ago for my son, Gabriel and the sheet music is entitled “When Fear Creeps In.”  Today I finished the recording which I dedicate to my sweet Sister-in-law, Rebecca Harper.  On Sunday, she became a guardian angel and our hearts grieve her passing.  As I wrote the title at the top, the title with fear in it didn’t feel right.  As I have worked on this recording, I have kept calling it “Peace” and so that is what the recording will now be called.

The idea to make this recording came on Sunday night when my son, Gabriel, asked me to play a song for him on the piano as he tried to fall asleep.  We had just been given the news of Rebecca’s passing and he felt scared and worried that he would have nightmares.  I pulled out the binder with music I had written over the last several years and played through several, this being one of them.   I thought of the message of peace that our Savior, Jesus Christ offers and how much we need Him.  I find comfort singing about His peace and so I share it in hopes that you find some comfort here.

(Click on the link below to hear the recording.)

Peace

 

Music

Abide with Me: The Story

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Photo by Nelson Santos Jr on Unsplash

Dear friends,

It is late, and I can’t hardly believe I’m still up, but I have something in my heart that I want to share.  I, like you, have been watching FAR too much of the news for my good lately.  No, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be up on what’s going on in the world.  And I appreciate those who are working hard to give us accurate information.  But today, after reading news articles, and wondering if a grocery pickup for a few more things on Monday would be futile (likely!), and scrolling through posts on facebook and instagram for far too long and far too frequently, and and and….I sat down to read my scriptures and listen to a BYU devotional (this one: https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/janet-b-bradford/carry-on/).  Wouldn’t you know it, by the time I was done, the dreary feeling that had been there only minutes before was replaced with hope and peace.  Magic?  Nope- even better: light.

At the end of the devotional that I watched, Janet Bradford quotes several hymns and I was (again) struck by how powerful they were; power we need in our world today!  It was then that I made a resolve to add my voice to those that are sharing positive messages around the world.  Have you heard them?  Messages that speak of this being “our greatest hour”, of a loving God who is watching over us, of the hidden blessings that are to be found in the challenges of our day…I add my voice: peace and joy are available today and are found in Jesus Christ!  “Who but thyself my guide and stay can be?”  This is my very favorite line of the hymn “Abide with Me.”  Who else can I rely on when chaos is both outside and inside of me?  Only He can provide the deep security and help that I am looking for.  I am resolving to spend more time focused on the light and less time spinning in the dark.  Tomorrow, the Sabbath, is a good day to start.

He is my anchor.  He is my strength. He is my source of peace.  And I am so grateful for Him: Jesus Christ

This arrangement was written as an expression of my testimony after a very difficult several weeks last fall.  I’m delighted to share it with you tonight.  Much love, friends!  (Click on the link below:)

Abide with Me