Cause it makes me happy...

Hope

Photo by Saffu on Unsplash

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!)

Lyrics:

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

I’m dancing in the rain

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

Cause it makes me happy...

Autumn Time

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Hello there, friends!

Autumn is in full swing here.  Do you know how I know?  The bushes in my back yard have turned a brilliant shade of red.  Flaming red.  They make me so happy.  Oh, and you want to know what else makes me feel happy?  My one living flower in the back yard.  It’s a sunflower that my son planted several months ago.  Bright yellow amid the wilting leaves from our garden.  It’s even MORE impressive to me because we did not do anything to it besides plant it and let the automatic sprinkler do its job.  This year our garden philosphy was “do whatever the heck you’re going to do, little seeds.”  We got a few cherry tomatoes and a gorgeous sunflower.  And I’m VERY happy with that.

This past month has been a mixed bag for me.  I have had an opportunity to “practice my patience” (a phrase Levi’s kindergarten teacher used regularly last year- brilliant…) as I healed from a procedure and then turned around and got a doozy of a cold which threw me back to flat on my back for a week.  Though I have missed my regular healthy self, I am coming back to the table with more than before.  Isn’t that how it goes?  The hard, steep learning curves we experience are not the things we usually would choose to go through, but we get to take with us the gold nuggets we find along the way.  I am a better human being because of the learning that has taken place this month.  Lots to be grateful for.

Because I promised to take you along on my musical journey this year, I want to update you (and hold myself accountable!).  Here are a few little tidbits, and with any luck, I’ll be checking in a little more frequently in the coming weeks!

-I LOVE journals.  I purchased a beautiful journal at the beginning of this school year (Mom gets to school-shop too, right?!) and I have used it to process music-related thoughts.  It has been magical to sit down and start my music sessions by writing.  Who knew?  I have always been someone who loved to talk things out, but there ain’t anything talking back at me during the school day currently (unless you count Siri…).  Journalling has allowed me a way to bounce thoughts off….myself!  It probably helps that my journal greets me with “Hello, Sunshine!” every morning.  I have been a typing journal writer for some time now (I print out my journal once a year and put it in a binder) but I’ve rediscovered the magic (and therapy!) writing my thoughts can be.20191009_143421

-Have you heard of Richie Norton?  My sister and brother-in-law introduced me to the 76 day challenge he created to help us “do something stupid”-  essentially work toward your big crazy dream.  I started the 76 day challenge when the boys went back to school and I have LOVED it.  The structure is just what my black and white brain needed to get on track, and it has really helped me settle into what I really want to accomplish and get to work.  It’s funny that as an adult I still find the hardest part just sitting my bum down and getting to work.  I’ve been using a timer (as he suggests) when I’m doing my “dream work” and it’s surprised me how long 15 minutes feels…I think “Seriously?  Haven’t I been working on this for over a half an hour?!”  Nope….apparently I’m working to extend my attention span…Seriously- here’s the link in case you want to try it too.  It’s fabulous!

-I’m chasing rainbows, people!  Actually what it really looks like is doing something out-of-the-box to create.  For example, I decided that it sounded fun to play the flute.  So I borrowed a flute from a friend and this morning, for my 1/2 hour of Joyful M.E time (I’ll have to explain later…) I played around with the flute (looked up fingerings online) and came up with a melody.  Turned out I had only been playing around for 15 minutes, so I decided to hop on the piano and crank out an accompaniment.  I was so delighted at how it was turning out that I pulled up my music program and input the music into my program- voila- I have sheet music for my new song….wait for it….”The Flute-y March.”  The point of all this is that I’m re-learning that “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.  FIND it, and snap!  The job’s a game!”  Thank you Mary Poppins.  But honestly, I’ve approached this music thing WAY too seriously so many times and it just gets stressful.  Today?  It felt magical.  With that concept, I’ve been thinking about how crazy it is that we can “hear” someone smiling while they’re singing (sometimes).  Do you think you can “hear” stress?  Or can you “hear” how magical someone felt creating it?  Something to think about!

Much love,

Laura20191009_143324.jpg

(Oh nuts- the sunflower decided that it had had enough today and fell to the ground.  But even on the ground it’s sunny and beautiful! 🙂

Cause it makes me happy...

Rotten Food

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Hey friends,

I just spent way too long trying to track down a quote that I heard a few months ago.  To no avail.  This is essentially what it said: “Writing your first draft is like sitting down to a meal with rotten food.”  I thought this was hilarious at the time, but since then, I’ve been experiencing it in real time as I’ve been trying to finish the big piece that has been really challenging to tie up (and now I find the reference to rotten food even more amusing than before!).  The funny thing is that even for the most brilliant musicians (as a general rule), something inspiring and brilliant doesn’t often come out on the first try.  It usually comes out rocky and stuttering initially.  Why does that surprise us?  It sounds, well, human…And yet, when we sit there looking at what we feel like is rotten food, it is hard for us to believe anything good can come of it, and we often want to just throw it all in the garbage.  (Let’s make that “I just want to throw it in the garbage!”)

But if we throw it away at that stage, we will never get to experience the magic that comes through the process.  It’s the editing that cleans up all the rough spots and messes and makes it glow.  That’s not to say that you or I never have moments that it just flows and we feel full of inspiring ideas.  However, at least for me, this “stroke of genius” happens infrequently and for brief moments.  This is good news, because otherwise, until genius strikes, we have to wait for it.  With reality as it is, get that first draft down (gag if you must) so the process of refining, editing, and shining can take place.  The trick, I’m learning, is to move my work through the process of drafting, editing, finishing faster so that my brain learns when it sees rotten food that there are more courses to come- and it’s worth staying at the table!

Happy creating!

Love

Laura