Thought

Mother’s Day Musings

Yesterday I felt like I broke down some walls about motherhood. It was another big victory. I can see now that for a long time- years- there has been a lot of fear in regards to motherhood and music. And in both, I started functioning with not my full self. It wasn’t intentional. I think I got scared of my desires with music and was afraid that I couldn’t be a good mom and pursue this growing passion in me. I thought they threatened each other- and yet I wasn’t willing to give up either one. Well that’s not totally true: I knew that if one thing had to get the short end of the stick, it was music. I was in a “pleaser/don’t screw it up” mode often, and I was afraid that I was failing at it all. It turned out that being MYSELF is where the joy and peace were waiting all along. I was trying to mother the way I was supposed to (and music too) and couldn’t figure out why it was feeling like motherhood was literally going to kill me. I resented the cost- to my body and spirit- and knew something needed to change, but I didn’t know how.

I love these little people deeply, but I through the last several years, I have struggled to enjoy much of my mothering. Part of it has to do with poor health for a long time, but it’s not just that. Yesterday I tried to access more of my excitement about being a mom. I asked a lot of “what matters”? as my mind sifted through laundry and dishes and kisses, and bandaids. I have known for a while that I’ve been doing too much with too much stress, but as I have been looking for a new normal, I’ve been baffled as I tried to sort out what matters. As I journaled, I started having big ideas about how to change the way things are currently running in our home, and got very excited about a new program I wanted to establish. It was big, fresh, and dynamic, and I felt excited in a way I hadn’t in a while. But as I stepped back and looked at it, I wondered if perhaps I was missing something. I asked myself “Could the regular things be just as special if I am present and open? Maybe no sweeping changes are needed. Maybe I just need to uncover my love for mothering that has been buried in fear, and find the joy in the normal, everyday things. It was simple, it was pivotal, and most of all, it was peaceful. It was the heaven-sent message I have kept getting for about two years- “Slow Down.” The peace, the joy- it’s there and available in each moment.

You know what I discovered? As I continued to ask myself what mattered, I realized that every little thing I choose to do from my mother heart matters! A kiss, here, a note there, a bed made there…it matters because it’s an act of love from me to them. Big things, small things- all of them matter. They don’t have more value if I rush around and do more of them, and then I’m burnt out and frustrated. They matter as I give what I have to offer that only I can give- because it is coming from my mother heart.

Here’s my 3 takeaways about motherhood that I have learned through my thoughts this week:

1- Bring all of me to mothering. I will feel settled and peaceful mothering when I do it Laura’s way, and with all my quirks, passions, personality and love. MY love is what they need- and that is enough.

2- Each small and simple thing matters- not just to get it done, but because it is a holy offering from my mother heart. Often only God will know, and that is enough. It changes my heart more than anyone else’s.

3- My work, like the big cathedrals in Europe, will not be finished in my lifetime, so pacing is important. Each day I have some to give and also need to nurture and refill myself. Both are important. (Have you read, “The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees”? A great read for Mother’s Day if you haven’t read it. The cathedral reference is an idea I got from that book).

Happy Mother’s Day!

Love

Laur

Thought

Musings

Hello my faithful few…

I am grateful to be back here in my little corner of the universe. It is good to be here. In the last few minutes I reviewed my last few posts. One in October 2021, another in May 2021. Not a lot going on here. But a lot going on in here. Inside of me, Jesus Christ has been working a mighty transformation. You probably won’t notice much of a difference, but to me is a big difference. I’m so grateful for Him. He has taught me so much this year. It would have been nice to experience it in a less painful and more comfortable way, but I’m learning that the pathway to Him usually includes the really hard stuff.

I’ve thought a lot this week about music. After quite a break, I’m toe-dipping back into music again. I’ve realized something: I will enjoy this blog more if I approach it like you’re watching over my shoulder. I show up here to think, to sing, to play, and honestly, it may be mostly for me. I’m ok with that now… because I have learned that probably, someone else in the world is thinking or feeling or needing the same thing as I do. Heavenly Father works through small and simple things- not big huge things- usually. I’m small and simple. I can’t do mighty miracles myself. But I wonder if the miracle He will work through me is that I can reach through this blog to someone that’s having a hard time and encourage, shine a light, offer a ray of hope, and help them in their pathway toward Christ- one person at a time. One thought at a time. One recording at a time. And perhaps that person that I will reach is me. Because as I share, invite, sing, write and play, put myself in His hands as an instrument, I will be coming closer to Christ.

God is good. Life is full of beauty. There is always ALWAYS hope. More thoughts soon…

Love,

Laur

Thought

Golden Nuggets

Photo by Lucas Benjamin on Unsplash

Dear friends of mine,

It’s May. My trees outside in my view are full of beautiful and fragrant blossoms. It is a beautiful day.

I last posted on February 21st. That was the day before surgery. I had “made it” and was feeling relief. I was sure the next part would be easy compared to what I had experienced. Here I am over two months later. I’ve written “Tender Mercies 4 1/2” and “Tender Mercies 4 3/4” and “Tender Mercies 5″…but they’ll stay in my personal files, at least for now. It’s hard to say why I have had a hard time posting since the surgery. I can say for certain that I have felt more tender mercies, not less, during these last several weeks. I haven’t lost hope, and I have a lot to say. For now, I’ll share a few musings and see if I can get back in the saddle…

Have you heard the analogy by C.S. Lewis comparing us to a little cottage? Here it is:

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

I love that so much. It’s very similar to the analogy I shared on here earlier about the Provo Tabernacle being burned and charred and then was transformed into a temple. You probably can guess which part I have REALLY been able to relate to: “He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense.” Oh man, friends, that’s the road I’ve been walking. It has hurt abominably- physically, mentally, emotionally- all of it. Mercifully, I am healing. Each week I get a little stronger, feel a little more like myself, feel more up to the responsibilities in front of me. But the road has felt long and steep.

I heard a Ted talk the other day that said “Suffering can break you, or break you open.” If it breaks you, you will have a tendency to pull inward, pull back, and feel that the world is a less safe place to be. If it breaks you open you become better at connecting with people, warmer, more connected, and less guarded. I have loved thinking about that idea this week, and to the degree I can choose, I want this suffering I have experienced to break me wide open; open so I can feel closer relationships, so I can help others heal from similar challenges, and so that I can be more gentle, patient, submissive- in short, more like my Savior, Jesus Christ. A friend of mine offered this variation which is a prayer: “Help me allow myself to be transformed.” That is my prayer too.

4 years ago, my Dad was diagnosed with Lymphoma- cancer of the lymph nodes. His treatments were difficult and he was very ill for some time. Nobody would want to go through that- right? I have no desire to experience cancer treatments either- just to be clear. But one day while my dad was fighting cancer and was sharing with me some of the things he was experiencing, I felt…was it jealousy? Yes- I was jealous that he got that experience. You see, it wasn’t the sickness that I was intrigued by (yikes!)- it was the gold nuggets he was getting out of it. I could tell that he was learning important life lessons, becoming a better version of himself, and I could tell that it was cancer that had given him this dynamic opportunity to grow that I didn’t have. He was becoming more gentle, more humble, more peaceful. And that’s what I wanted…without all the hard parts, right?! Ha! It doesn’t really work that way…

Well, you probably would rather not have a cranky uterus, mad intestines, and ripple effects of a psychotic episode. Ya, me neither. And yet…I have gathered gold nugget after gold nugget during this experience and I’m not done yet. They are mine to keep and they grew out of struggle, pain, and sorrow. And ultimately….that’s what I want…right? The Master Healer is still at work, but I trust that I’ll come out of this a much better version of myself than I was before.

This beautiful version of “Savior, Redeemer of my Soul” has spoken to my heart so many times during my recovery. If there is one golden nugget I want to share today, it’s that Jesus Christ is real, and is way more aware of us personally than I ever realized. I know Him better now; He is full of mercy and compassion and weeps with us as we suffer. He rejoices as we learn by our own experience, wherever we are at right now, how to reach for Him, and reach for Him again.

He has promised to “fill with sweet my bitter cup” and I believe Him.

Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow’r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel.

Never can I repay thee, Lord,
But I can love thee. Thy pure word,
Hath it not been my one delight,
My joy by day, my dream by night?
Then let my lips proclaim it still,
And all my life reflect thy will.

O’errule mine acts to serve thine ends.
Change frowning foes to smiling friends.
Chasten my soul till I shall be
In perfect harmony with thee.
Make me more worthy of thy love,
And fit me for the life above.

Love,

Laura

Thought

Tender Mercies

Hello friends! Last year went fast and slow. My youngest son broke his leg at the beginning of this year before the world shut down from COVID and it seems like that happened years ago!

Today I’m writing to you from the couch with a heating pad on my mid-section. It’s been an interesting few months for me. I’m hoping to share more music soon, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a few thoughts.

A few weeks ago, I met with my doctor and we decided that I need a hysterectomy. It’s not a surprise to me- in fact, 8 years ago my doctor was pretty sure I’d need to have a hysterectomy. At that time I prayed and prayed to be able to keep my uterus (what was I thinking! Ha!). For one thing, I was sure that a girl was coming to our family (we had already named her Lily!) and she needed a way to get here! (At the time we didn’t feel like fostering or adoption was part of our path…). Anyway, after 8 years where my health has been…less than desirable, and since we have been at peace for some time with our family being complete, I readily agreed that it was time to do surgery.

In the meantime, I get to figure out what to do with the limited energy I have. It seems that over the last several years I have gotten so good at tuning out my body that I didn’t “hear it” talking to me until it was yelling at me (aka I pretty much could not do ANYTHING else and had to lay down). How else do you do whatcha gotta do? Slowing down didn’t feel like an option with 3 boys to keep up with and a sweetheart to support, as with no end in sight to the health issues, pushing on and doing whatever I could do was my best option.

However, this issue is one that cannot be muscled through…and therefore I have literally had to slow down. A lot. Why is slowing down hard? That is the weirdest thing. Relaxing feels good. Deciding to put up your feet and pamper yourself feels good. Watching a show at the end of the day when you’ve worked hard feels good. Stopping when you have a lot that you want to or feel like you should do? Hard. Gratefully receiving the giving from others instead of feeling guilty and wondering if really you should have just pushed through and done it and spared them the work? Hard. Wondering if there’s anything you did to contribute to the pain that you could do differently…but not knowing what that would be? Hard. So I won’t lie and tell you it’s been all silver linings because it has STRETCHED me big time.

Can I tell you something else though? It has been amazing. Really. And honestly part of the reason I am sharing this is because I NEED to share it. This afternoon I was reading the creation story, and as I read about God seeing what he had done and saying that “It is good” I reflected on the power of dwelling on the good. Seeing the good. Looking for the good. He wasn’t focused on how mangy animals look when they’re about to shed, or how many days were gloomy in England this month…perhaps that is why God is so good at joy- he looks for it and focuses on it…So for anyone that wants to keep reading, I’m going to share the good because I need to dwell on it today.

In early October, I was watching a church conference when I had a very distinct thought that I needed to call up my OBGYN and make a physical appointment with him. “What?” I wondered. Things had actually been quite a bit better with my female parts since getting an endometrial ablation last September- so of all the times in the last 8 years to make an appointment with this doctor, right then felt a little….unusual. And unneeded! But the thought felt so distinct that I was sure it came from the Holy Ghost and I acted on it- I made an appointment. They were totally booked up until December (!) and since I was in no hurry, I made the appointment for December 18th and wondered why I just did that.

That next week I started having thoughts about getting a hysterectomy- which also felt way out of the blue. I told my brother in law the story of a friend of mine walking into my life just when I needed her. It was about 8 years ago when I thought that I may need to get a hysterectomy- and I found out that she had gotten a hysterectomy many years before. She provided the comfort I needed as she talked about what a positive difference it had made in her life. A few days after retelling that experience, I needed to stop by this same friend’s house for something and I felt a nudge to talk to her about a hysterectomy again. I did, and we had a half hour long conversation where I was teary-eyed, and when I left I was pretty sure I needed to get a hysterectomy. But I still had no idea why! This was still early October.

About a week later, in mid- October, I started having strange symptoms- I felt like I was coming down with the flu (achy, yucky, tired) and then the pain and nausea…etc. The symptoms lasted about two weeks, went away for two weeks, and then they pretty much…haven’t gone away since. Some days are better, some are worse, but the symptoms are there. At first I was really focused on getting through the pain/nausea/etc until the next reprieve…until the reprieve didn’t come and I was left with finding a new strategy. I spent some time trying to figure out what caused the pain so I could do something about it. Also futile- the ultrasound showed some internal problems that (go figure) need surgery…so there’s not much I can do about it. And the things I think might help sometimes help and sometimes don’t. Dead end.

It didn’t take me long to put two and two together. This is why I needed to schedule an exam with my doctor, and it’s also why I felt the need to think about getting a hysterectomy. The more I thought about it though, the more grateful I felt- God, my loving Heavenly Father, knew about all this before I did (of course He did!). He made it very clear to me that He was aware of me, and that He is taking care of me and that He loves me- even before I knew why I would need that message. (!!!!) The word that kept occurring to me was “mercy”. He didn’t have to do that! But he knew it would make the road I would need to walk easier if I knew before it happened that He cared. So that’s exactly what He did.

Well friends, His love has felt wonderful. Heavenly Father has been listening to my prayers and has led me through this challenge through promptings from the Holy Ghost. You know what has been even more amazing to me though? Through this whole episode, I have discovered how personal our relationship with Jesus Christ can be. And how nearby He is. HE IS!!! This morning I felt like I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Jesus Christ is near, he is there to help, to strengthen, to empathize, to help you make more of your life than you ever thought possible. He is there.

I have more to say, but this will have to do for now.

Happy New Year, all!

Love

Laura

Thought

Chug, Chug, Chug….

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Photo by Denis Chick

I promised to take you along on my music journey this year, remember?  I didn’t forget.  My little music train has being chugging along- a little slower than planned because of some unanticipated stops, but it’s still moving!  Jump on for a few minutes and I’ll catch you up on where I’ve been.

September:

I helped the boys adjust to being back in school. They did fabulous!  I began to shift gears and get back into a routine.  I set goals, and looked forward to making some progress with my music journey (did I tell you how much I enjoyed Richie Norton’s 76 day challenge?).

Mid-month I went to my doctor to get a procedure done that was much more painful and a much longer recovery than anticipated.  My compassion for others who are in pain grew exponentially (aka holy cow that was rough).

October:

I finally felt like myself for one day before my entire family became very sick for several weeks.  Flat-on-our-backs type sick.  Kids took turns staying home from school and I played nurse-mom.

In the minutes to myself, I was privileged to learn from the great Hans Zimmer through his masterclass (online).  Wow that was fun!

November:

It had been two months since school had started and I had made very little progress with my goals (you can see why!).  The boys were back in school so I had more free time than I’d had for weeks, but I felt SO discouraged.  I spent much of the month wondering if I even wanted to write music.  I wondered if I even liked writing music.  Maybe I was barking up the wrong tree.

A good friend spent a lot of time listening to me during November.  She and I talked a lot about hope, and it was through her that I started to find my footing again.  Through our chats I realized that the “unknowns” of my music journey were part of what was making me feel so frustrated, not necessarily music itself.  Maybe I didn’t hate writing music after all!

I also worked on a hymn arrangement of “Abide with Me” for two women’s voices and piano.

December:

Early December I began singing lessons again.  It has been a joy to learn from a wonderful teacher.

Family is my number one and the holidays didn’t leave a lot of room for music time, but I managed to meet up with a friend in Spokane who helped me record a song I wrote with a friend called “Feels Right” (it’s not done, but I hope to share it soon!).

January:

Kids going back to school and New Years Goals gave me a fresh start.  I needed it.  I set some new goals (for one thing, I wanted to write music every day, even if it was only a few notes!) and felt like I was gaining momentum.

I started taking some online classes- one on music for film, one about orchestration, and one on composing.  One night, at about 9:00, I finished analyzing a piece Beethoven wrote for a string quartet.  My husband came in to the bedroom where I was putting away my headphones and I commented, “How did I ever think this was not my thing?  Who else analyzes Beethoven at night and feels like they’re a kid in a candy store?!”  I started remembering why I love music (listening to it and writing it!).

Then my youngest son broke his leg snowboarding.  Actually getting off the lift.  The first lift of the day.  Bummer.

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Photo of my son’s broken leg taken at Deer Park, Washington Urgent Care

Fortunately he loves his wheelchair (we’re headed in to X-ray it again Monday!) so it’s been as easy as having a full leg-cast could be.

February:

After an initial recovery period, my youngest son went back to school full time, loving the ramps (“I get to ride down them while everyone else walks, mom!”) and doing very well.  My oldest had been fighting an infection on his big toe which climaxed in a minor surgery last week.

Two and a half weeks ago I was asked to write an arrangement (using three existing children’s songs), gather some friends to perform it, practice with them, and share it- today.  It would have been a tight enough timeline as it was, but I knew that we were leaving for Banff, Alberta (for an anniversary trip!) in a few days.  Though that didn’t give me much time, I was excited to have an opportunity to write for something that was already scheduled to be performed- not a common opportunity for me currently.  This morning I had the honor of singing “Trying” with some talented friends at a Women’s Conference.  

And that brings you up to speed!  It’s been a busy couple of months.

I’ll leave you with an experience that I’ve been pondering from last week:

At my voice lesson, Stazya (my teacher) was helping me with a vocal exercise.  I was singing a pattern of notes that would get higher each time I finished the pattern successfully.  It was getting high, and I was having a hard time adjusting in the higher range.  After an attempt that didn’t sound the way I wanted it to, she looked at me and said, “Everything is set up and working right with your voice and your breathing.  Now you just need to let go in order for the voice to be free.  You just simply have to let go.

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Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

What in your life is technically ready and working, but in order for it to really soar, “you just simply have to let it go”?

TTFN,

Laura