The Load: The Story

cold-colors-forest-688660Hello all!  Today I am excited to share a piece that was a collaborative effort, completed in 2017.  I wrote this summary when we completed the project last year:

This is my second collaboration with the very talented Shaillé Claypool!  We are excited to have put the final touches on this piece and send it out into the the world.  

This song originates from a talk given by Elder David A Bednar called “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease” (  This talk had a lasting impression on me when it was given, but had particular significance to me during an anniversary trip that Jon and I took this year in February.  Jon had been called as Bishop (for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) six months earlier and was exhausted; this trip provided a much-needed get-away from the demands that he faced. We ended up reading this talk together on the Sunday before returning home, and it provided a great deal of comfort.  We needed the reminder that the heavy load we were carrying was not only needed for those we were serving but needed for US to move forward. “It was the load”. The heavy load was what enabled the husband in Elder Bednar’s story to return home.

When I returned home from the trip, I mentioned the talk and our experience to Shaillé and she wrote back stating that the idea to write a song about that talk was already in her computer file.  That was the beginning of “The Load”. The first versions were entitled “Burdens” and we subsequently changed the title to “The Load”. Shaillé wrote verses 2 and 3, and then later came up with lyrics for verse 1 which I feel adds a great deal to the entire piece.  

One interesting tidbit about the writing process is that I originally suggested that we end one of the verses by saying that our burdens will be light, instead of what Shaillé had drafted.  She wrote back saying that she didn’t want that to be the focal point- because she felt that real life has shown her that it doesn’t always feel like our burdens are light when Heavenly Father helps us.  Instead she suggested that we put the focus on greater understanding from Heavenly Father that the load is essential, and helps us return home. Yes, Heavenly Father will help us and lift our burdens, “but if not” or at least if it doesn’t feel like the burdens are lighter right now, know that the load is bringing you to Him, and bringing you home.  Ask him to help you and He will lead you home. That is the message of this piece. We hope you enjoy “The Load”!

The Load

Completed 10/27/17 by Shaillé Claypool and Laura Harper; see for more of Shaillé Claypool’s music!)


Come Home: The Story

Here I am with Grandma Celesta outside her home in Farmington, April 2016.

For me, the New Year (2015) came in with struggle and by mid-January I was feeling so weighed down I wasn’t sure how long I could keep going with the current circumstances and keep my sanity in tact!  Thankfully it wasn’t debilitating to the point of being unable to function as a mom and wife (so many people have had it worse than me for sure!), but I had never experienced an experience period of feeling stressed and dark as I did during that time.

At a soccer game with Grandma Celesta and Grandpa John (they make great cheerleaders!)

One day, out of the blue, Grandma Celesta called.  She felt compelled to invite me to stay overnight in Farmington so she and Grandpa John could pamper me and provide me with a much-needed break.  I took her up on it.  The 24 hours I spent with them in Farmington was blissful.  It was quiet.  I relaxed by the fire and read.  I enjoyed homemade soup and bread with Grandma and Grandpa for dinner.

Grandpa loves horses and is passing it on to the next generation.

As we ate, Grandpa told stories about his parents, and growing up, and the farm.  After we finished eating, Grandma wouldn’t let me touch the dishes.  Instead, I sat in the rocking chair by the fire and visited with her as she washed the dishes.  That night I stayed in the blue “Texas” bedroom and looked out the windows at the bright country stars.  The next morning, I wasn’t sure that I could re-enter “reality” and shoulder my load again, as much as I loved being a mom to my three little guys.  But duty called, and I went home, a little more rested than before.

This was taken in 2008 when Grandma Celesta and Grandpa John came to visit us at our home in Texas (my oldest son was just taking his first steps!).

Later that spring, I had the chance to fly to Utah and join my in-laws for a women’s conference.  At the end of the trip, I visited another home- this one was “The House of the Lord”- the Mount Timpanogos Temple in American Fork, Utah.

Mount Timpanogos Temple (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)

I have felt Heavenly Father’s love and peace many times in my life.  But that night I felt His love so powerfully in the temple, it was as if I had never felt His love before.  My heart was filled with light, peace and wholeness, and though I did not see Him, I knew my Father in Heaven was near.  At the end of my visit to the temple I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving the place where I felt so peaceful and whole after months of struggle.  As if in answer to my reluctance, I had a clear thought that later became the chorus of “Come Home”.  I am a witness that the temple- the House of the Lord- is a singular place in a challenging and confusing world where we can receive the most clarity, peace, light, and direction available in this life.  And so- “Come Home, to the House of the Lord!”  (What is a temple?  Visit

Grandma Celesta and my youngest son are getting to know each other.

Soon after returning home from Utah, I was struck by how similarly I felt in my grandparents’ home and the temple: in both places I was overwhelmed with love.  I was invited to “Come Home” any time I needed relief, peace, comfort, and quiet.  And for a few hours each time, I set down my motherhood responsibilities and was cared for as a child.

This song is dedicated to my Grandma Celesta and Grandpa John, and their special Farmington farm that has been a “home” for so many over the years.

Come Home

gma pic
Grandma, Grandpa and the greats 🙂

Emerge: The Story


(Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash)

Mmm- I just love this photo.  It visually describes everything about my newly posted piece, Emerge.

Right now my life seems pretty easy.  Rewind a few years and my life was much different:  it was a time when I had 3 adorable little people that needed a lot of me (physically and otherwise), I was dealing with major health issues, I was tired all the time, and I was also dealing with pretty intense anxiety on a daily basis (partially because I had a child who was struggling).  It wasn’t that my life was horrible- I love being a mom, my husband is an amazing support, and I still say that we soaked up as much joy from that stage as possible; but compared to everything else I’d experienced in life, this was by far the hardest and lasted the longest.

I joked during that time that I felt like I was 30 going on 50 (maybe I’ll change my tune when I experience 50!) and I wondered if I would ever feel back to “normal”- whatever that meant.  The anxiety was particularly troubling to me- it felt as though my thoughts and emotions were often so much heavier and darker than I wanted them to be, but at the time I really didn’t know how to do change that.  I longed for more peace which had seemed much more accessible before.

I prayed to be rescued from the dense fog I found myself stuck in.  Though Heavenly Father didn’t send immediate all-in-one solutions like I wanted Him to, He did send help- gradually.  He sent bite-sized pieces so not only could I be cured, but I could grow through the process of healing.  I look back and see how he placed people, books, and other things in my path so that a step at a time, I learned how to deal with the anxiety in constructive ways.  I also had moments of feeling overwhelming love, peace or contentment; a sense that Heavenly Father was aware of my needs, and would continue to guide and help me.  The kids grew and became a little more independent and my health improved over several months (partly because the baby started sleeping through the night-hallelujah!)- I held on to faith and hope before, but now I could actually see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It was during this time that I began to experiment with writing music-not as a creative outlet, but as an emotional outlet.  I started playing around on the piano, attempting to express the way I felt through the music.  What could I “say”?  This was the result of that exploration.  Hind-sight is a funny thing: though I’d never sign up for a repeat course through the fog, I also wouldn’t trade what I learned from it for anything.  So without any more words, here is “Emerge”!



Come Discover, Come Explore

13737615_628206700676103_5225803938131753456_oHere it is- my first piece, written June of 2014!  I’m looking forward to periodically sharing music that I have written in the past few years, as well as pieces that I am currently working on.

As an introduction, it seemed fitting to share part of an email that I wrote to my Grannie and Grandad (Crawford and Georgia Gates) soon after completing “Come Discover, Come Explore”:

“Grannie and Grandad,

I wanted you to have a copy of my first composition!  🙂  I was asked to write a piece for Emily’s (my sister, Emily Shill) Preschool Curriculum that she wants to market someday (see  Her premise is “Come discover and explore things that live, move and grow.”  She wanted it to be a bouncy song for 3 year old’s.  Other than that, she left it up to me.  I hesitated when she asked me, as this journey is just at the beginning for me!!!  However, I decided this could be the perfect opportunity to grow.  So I took the challenge, and within three weeks had a full song that I was very proud of.  I have a lot to learn, there is no doubt; but there is also no doubt that there is much more inside me than I had previously supposed!”

(My Grandparents have spent their life immersed in music and have been valuable mentors.  For more information about my Grandfather’s music, visit

Here is a link to the recording (or directly access all of my recordings under the “Music” category above)- enjoy!

Come Discover, Come Explore