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One Ring to Rule Them All

Another composer hero of mine is Howard Shore.  I am completely in awe with the music of “The Lord of the Rings” (he is the masterful composer that wrote the score).  I was watching an interesting spotlight on him this week and I thought this quote was especially worth writing down:

“Most of everything I write is a learning process.  I want to try something, express some idea…There’s not a real comfortable nature to it.  There has to be some struggle, I think, to create something of value, so there’s always that searching inwards.  As difficult as it is, it’s a wonderful journey.”

Knowing that the process is challenging even for the brilliant composers makes me feel like I’m on the right track when things are tough!

Also- doesn’t it make you want to go back and watch Froto?  Here’s a youtube clip I just pulled up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjAAC13al9s

~Laura

Quote

Verdict

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Photo by Rachel Lynette French on Unsplash

I don’t have any idea where I got this quote (maybe from one of you reading this!) but I LOVE it.  It sits at the very front of my “Melodies of Light” binder to remind me that “the verdict is in.”

“Performing.  It’s a subject I think about more often than most, since I make my living as a performing artist.  As my husband and I were packing this morning, preparing for an event in Long View, TX, I was reminded of a performance I witnessed a few years back.  The evening began with the MC giving some announcements, then introducing the band.  In his kind and gracious introduction, he explained that this band was a farily new band and had never played for a crowd quite this large before.  And then he did the coolest thing: He asked the audience to give the band a standing ovation as soon as they took the stage.  So that’s what happened.  The moment those young, timid, terrified musicians stepped foot on that platform, the audience erupted in applause!  At first, the band members were so shocked that they could barely remember who played what instrument, but after a few seconds, they began to smile and laugh a bit.  What followed was the best music that band had ever played.  There’s just something to be said for receiving our ovation before we even start performing.

As I start my day today, it is good for my soul to remember that God has given me a standing ovation before I even begin to perform.  The verdict is in: not guilty loved, valued, forgiven, restored, adopted, friend.  I do not have to perform in order to gain His approval, yet His overwhelming love and approval is exactly what compels me to perform for Him.  I long for the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart to be acceptable in His sight because He has already accepted me as His own.  Whether I succeed or fail at my task, His love is unconditional and was earned by another’s merit, not my own.  So as you step out today, whatever deeds you are called to perform, as a mom, an employee, a friend, know that you begin your day with His standing ovation and let that compel you towards love and good deeds.”

Have a great day!

Love

Laura

Tell Me a Story...

Say Yes: The Story

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Mom and Dad, Thanksgiving 2016

About a year ago, my Dad went through a fight with lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) and came out on top.  As he was undergoing treatment, I was reflecting one day about the things my Dad had taught me, and two words came to mind: “Say Yes!”  It made me smile.

Em 2 My Dad has never turned down a dream or opportunity because it wasn’t practical or it didn’t seem realistic, or it wasn’t a comfortable idea.  He lives the “Dream Big” slogan.  Here he is (above) building his dream home with his sons/in-laws in his 50’s.  He did most of the labor himself.  He had dreamed for years about building a home someday, and he decided he wanted to do it; so he did.

It’s the same reason he has been a cabinet maker, an architect, a bee keeper, a pole vaulting coach, a butcher, a general contractor, and a hundred other things.  When the opportunity comes he says, “Why not?”  The crazier the opportunity, the more fun it sounds!  He is never satisfied with a comfortable, predictable, easy life (hmmm- on second thought he’s probably never tried it!).  He loves the feeling that he’s growing, learning and pushing the limits.  That makes him feel alive!

As I was looking through pictures today trying to decide which ones best illustrated the idea of “Say Yes,” I found these 4 pictures of my Dad interacting with my oldest son.  To me it’s a visual way of my Dad saying, “Come ‘ere and let me show you how fun life can be!”

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“Say Yes!” was a fun piece to write because it allowed me to really let loose and explore musically – the message is all about getting outside your comfort zone, after all!  It’s the first time I’ve tried putting another instrument in a recording besides piano and voice, so that was a fun way to explore new territory.

One of my favorite parts of this piece is the trills that the violin does, both in the middle of the piece (symbolizing the opportunity that is peeking around the corner) and at the end (we get one more “look” at the opportunity before the end).  I like the way this piece makes me feel more open and curious about the possibilities of life ahead.  It leaves a question mark in the listener’s mind at the end- “What is your opportunity and are you going to run and grab it?”

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Dad getting a good belly laugh during a family game of Minute-to-Win-it.

As Dad pushes the limits and gets outside of his comfort zone, he inspires me (and everyone else around him!) to “Say Yes!” too.

Merry Christmas, Dad!

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

Say Yes

Quote

Confidence

I have been enjoying podcasts today and this one really stood out to me.  It’s a podcast called “3 in 30” which my little sister recommended some time ago.  This quote on confidence was my favorite, but I enjoyed the whole thing:

Be willing to step into “the ring of fire” and feel all of the feelings, especially the negative ones.  The uncomfortable ones.  What we’re afraid of at the end of the day is feelings.  We’re afraid of feeling something that feel like we can’t handle or that we won’t survive.  And I started listening to Brook Castillo…and she says that – I loved her definition of confidence- it is “A willingness to feel any emotion.”

Here’s the link if you want to go listen to the podcast:

http://3in30podcast.com/selfconfidence/

Tell Me a Story...

Teach My Heart To See: The Story

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Photo by Hunter Bryant on Unsplash

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)

4/15/17

     “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!

Teach My Heart To See

Thought

Light the World!

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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!

https://www.mormon.org/christmas/light-the-world

Love,

Laura