“If you only try the things you believe you can do, you’ll only accomplish the things you already knew you could do. But if you give yourself permission to fail, you’re free to try the things that seem completely beyond your reach. And that’s when magic happens.”
Today I wanted to spend time writing music, but for some reason I was in a real “blah” type funk. Nothing in particular was going badly, I just couldn’t get myself motivated to write. So I decided to go on a run. Best idea I’ve had all day. The fresh air felt wonderful, and the snow had melted off my little trail that I like to run on (there’s a hill that I run up first that gives me a great burst of “I got this” right off the bat!). Don’t get any big ideas- I’m not training for a marathon or anything- I go about a mile. But it is just right for me.
Anyway- as I was running, I saw a man in his 60’s on a bike, and I saw that he rode into a driveway (presumably his driveway) that I was just about to run past. He wasn’t facing me when I looked over to say hello, so I kept running and assumed he would rather not interact. It took me by surprise when a moment later he called out,
“How’s your PMA?”
I turned to look at him (still running) with a confused look on my face.
“I don’t know what that means!” I called back, amused. (I think initially I thought he was going to say PMS and I was about to be really confused why a stranger would yell that out).
“Positive Mental Attitude!!” he explained with a smile.
Duh- I could have figured that one out.
“Oh! Great!” I yelled over my shoulder and gave him a thumbs up.
I don’t remember his reply, but I smiled as I ran on. First of all, what an awesome human being. It makes me want to go calling out “How’s your PMA?” to the next few strangers I pass :).
But besides that, it got me in a totally different frame of mind. PMA can do that, you know. And a run. So, stranger, how’s your PMA?
Today I found an interview which was posted online in 2010 by mormonartist.net and highlighted the musical career of Crawford Gates (my Grandfather). There was one quote that was particularly moving to me and I wanted to share it here. Grandad was an extremely talented musician, but even more than that, he was a man of faith. This quote shows how completely he “let go” and allowed God to work through him.
As a composer, with all eight hundred and seventy-four pieces, I had two prayers. I have an “empty-page prayer.” I look at the page, and I’ve got to fill it with beautiful music. Where is that going to come from? I don’t have beautiful music within me. It’s got to come from the Lord, but he is going to give it to me. So the empty-page prayer is a prayer of supplication: “Help me do something beautiful for this need.” And that was certainly true with Promised Valley, that was certainly true with the Hill Cumorah Pageant, and that was certainly true with Joseph! Joseph!.
Then there’s the second prayer: I got a page. The Lord has given it to me. I get on my knees next to my piano or next to my desk. “Thank you for this beautiful music. Thank you, Heavenly Father.”
Two prayers: “empty page,” “full page.” It’s been that way all my life. And it may not be just one prayer, or two prayers; it’s a week of prayers, or a month of prayers.
Friends, it’s been a while! Outside it’s sunny and white (we enjoy 4 seasons up here!) and it’s been a great day so far.
I’m in the middle of several projects but don’t have a lot of finished pieces to post just yet. Instead today I thought I’d share 3 things about me.
1- I LOVE nutella. I eat it by the spoonful, with a banana, on bread (my favorite!) or on icecream. I think it’s more than the flavor that gets me- it’s a very nostalgic treat. Before you could even buy it in the United States, my cousins who lived in Europe sent it to our family for Christmas. I can remember eating nutella on bread with my little brother in the kitchen and it brings back fond memories.
2- I am taking voice lessons! I have quite a bit of experience with singing, including voice lessons in college, but there are some technique issues that have always haunted me and I knew once all my kids were in school that I wanted to work on my voice again. Mostly I wanted to have a healthy voice that wouldn’t go hoarse after singing for 5 minutes (aka figure out how to do it right!). I’m really enjoying learning and am making a lot of progress!
3- I have recently shifted my focus from primarily song-writing to doing some orchestrating work. (That basically means writing for orchestra instruments – so several different instruments on a particular work rather than just piano or piano and voice.) I have enjoyed some sample lessons from Berklee Online and instructional podcasts and articles from artofcomposing.com which have been an essential part of teaching myself how to do these new skills! It’s been a fun adventure so far!