Tell Me a Story...


Image of Our Refuge and Strength by Morgan Weistling
(used with permission)

Can you see it? The light, peeking through the darkness, promising that light is (still) more powerful? And the darkness must retreat as light is introduced?

I’m so grateful for light. Buoyant, steady, settled, contented, lovely light. I hate darkness- the kind that makes us feel discouraged, freaked out, down, and weary…that too, is part of our life experience here. But it’s not the whole story. And we don’t have to stay there in the dark, or out in the storm, all alone.

As I’ve worked with doctors to progress toward full physical recovery, I’ve been working with a counselor to help me in my mental recovery. I have been so grateful for her support, counsel, resources, and guidance that have been essential. I sure give professional counselors a lot of credit. But if I look back over the past several months, I can see a much more important figure guiding my recovery, both physical and mental. Overseeing the entire process, guiding me toward this or that answer as it was needed, and providing hope, strength, and comfort. And without Him, I surely would not have been able to make the progress I have. Jesus Christ, my Savior, has been by nearby through it all.

A few years ago, I was in the hospital bleeding, and my sweet and loving doctor who has a calm, reserved demeanor, was rattled. “What in the world is your body doing?” he asked, kindly. And he really didn’t know. It was quite a shock to feel like I had reached the edge of medical knowledge. Of course a few years, a few procedures and several tests later we did figure out what it was (so I wasn’t a complete anomaly!) but that was a few YEARS later. It wasn’t enough to rely on medicine to help me feel peace.

This year I’ve had some dark nights where I would try and try to use tools I’d been given from my counselor to find some peace, but there was no peace to be found. The wind and the waves were just too strong. Sooner or later (usually sooner!), I get myself all tangled up, and remember again that I don’t have the power to heal my own mind. It’s at those times that I’ve been reminded that I can’t rely on mental health tools to help me find peace.

A few nights ago, my son was scared. Tests coming up and make-up work from being sick were overwhelming him, and he couldn’t sleep. I made a suggestion about focusing his mind on Jesus Christ, and gave him an example. He quickly said, “Mom, that just doesn’t work for me.” I replied without hardly thinking- “It does work,” I said. “You may have to work at it to keep getting that muscle stronger, just like workouts strengthen muscles in your body, but it does work.”

Developing faith in Jesus Christ is like strengthening any muscle in our bodies. And it does work. A few years ago, I was at my parent’s house and my little brother asked me how many pushups I could do. “Um, none,” I said with confidence. I had no doubt that was true. He didn’t believe me, so I had to prove to him how pathetic my arm muscles really were. And…that was that embarrassing episode that let me to a new goal: 20 pushups.

I learned that if you can’t even do one pushup, trying to do a full pushup is basically unproductive. So I started doing half push-ups, which meant that I put a basketball under my stomach and only went down until I touched the basketball and then came back up. I learned to do 4 pushups that way. Unfortunately, my goal stalled out, and I didn’t really get back to it until a few months ago. This time I tried a different approach (using a work-out program) of doing push-ups on a park bench, so my body was inclined a little bit, and I worked up to being able to do 10 of those push-ups. Not impressive, but improved.

A few weeks ago, we surprised my husband and went to a rock climbing gym. This gym was no joke- definitely designed so that expert climbers would have their work cut out for them. But there were still several lower level challenges that we were excited to try. Because of my past filled with impressive arm strength (not!), I figured there wouldn’t be a lot that I could do successfully, but I figured I could at least keep up with my nine-year-old. That I could, and I followed him up several beginner runs. Then, just for the heck of it, I tried out a climb that I didn’t really think I could do. With quite a bit of effort, I finished the climb- and was so pleasantly surprised! My older boys, 12 and 13, were trying harder climbs, and I started trying some of them. Though I didn’t master the harder ones, I was able to go quite far, and was amazed at how much strength I had acquired through these simple workouts where I had worked up to 10 not-even-full push-ups!

Faith is like any other muscle. It needs strength training (praying, reading scriptures, thinking about Jesus Christ, focusing on Him, looking for the good and uplifting around us) and as we work at it, we find ourselves in moments where we would typically spiral into negative thought patterns, or in circumstances that are especially challenging, and we find ourselves surprisingly able to focus on Jesus Christ, and reach out for His help and peace when before we would not have been able to in a similar situation.

Is it hard to figure out where I’m going with this? Keep using those tools from counselors and positive resources, keep taking tylenol when you have a headache or resting when your body is tired. Eat chicken noodle soup when your gut feels angry. All those things are good and needed! But know that even in those things, our Savior is watching over you, and helping you, and supporting you. All these good things come from Him. He cares, and has not abandoned you to solve your problems yourself. Trust that He is the source of all healing and peace, and only the peace He can provide will be enough for any of us to weather the challenges of the future.

This is an excerpt from one of my favorite articles of all time. At the end it talks about the storm being calmed. I have experienced the storm calming as I come to the Savior, but I have also experienced the storm inside of me calming as I come to the Savior, even if the circumstances don’t change. Both are miracles.

“The scriptures speak of the “trial of faith” (Ether 12:6) through which we must pass, indicating that the faith-building process is not automatic. Instead, it is a learning process—a mandatory sequence for all who would inherit eternal life. Each step Peter took away from the ship was a trial of his faith; each step toward Jesus took him a step farther from his accustomed means of survival. And each step was a voluntary one; he was under no compulsion to leave the ship and respond to the Lord’s call to “Come.”

At one point Peter’s attention was drawn from Jesus, the object of his faith, to the boisterous wind and waves around him. In a moment of confusion, fear overpowered his faith, and Peter started to fall.

So like our lives! As we learn the gospel and develop our faith, we reach the point where we feel strong enough to leave the boat; we determine to stand free from worldly supports and voluntarily walk by faith through the tempest toward our Savior. Each step for us may be a trial. The waves around us are as real in their way as Peter’s waves were to him. And, like Peter, we may slip! We may feel the awful descent toward destruction and, in confused desperation, consider the safety of the ship.

But wait! Our efforts to meet the trials of our faith—our footsteps over life’s treacherous waters—have somehow reoriented us, and we reach out for safety, not to the boat, as we would have done in earlier times, but to the outstretched hand of the Savior. Hand grasps hand, and we are pulled to the Master of wind and water. No more is he seen vaguely through the storm; no more is his voice indistinct in the roar of the gale. Now we are home; now the trial is over.

And Jesus calms the storm.”

(Link to full article: What is the significance….)

Have a wonderful Tuesday, friends!!



Tell Me a Story...

Exploring: The Story

Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

This is too fun! This was my second attempt at a 30 minute piece!

This piece reminds me of my two mini-scientists exploring the world of Zoology this week (in homeschool). It has been so much fun to catch ants for our ant farm, take a walk to try to find a worm (no luck!) and order a caterpillar to butterfly kit that we are anticipating will come tomorrow!

Here is my 30 second masterpiece #2!


Tell Me a Story...

Sleepless: The Story

Photo by S L on Unsplash

Has it been hard to sleep lately? I have had some nights of tossing and turning and I just COULD NOT SLEEP! I hate it when that happens- especially because I am usually really good at sleeping!

This week I decided to try a 30 minute challenge: “Write an entire piece in 30 minutes!” It was the BEST use of 30 minutes as it got my creative juices turned on and gave me a big boost when I finished- plus the process was exciting and fun! I called it sleepless because it reminds me of the process of falling asleep. You’ll hear a melody that reminds me of that twilight right-before-sleep time, then a shift that represents a thought catching hold- something you need to think hard about and gets your heart racing…then back to deep breaths and trying to sleep…At the end it trails off and you drop into a nice dreamy slumber.


Tell Me a Story...

The Little Red Flute: The Story

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

Tell Me a Story...

Peace in Christ: The Story


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