Tell Me a Story...

Sleepless: The Story

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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.

Sleepless

Quote

Compensatory Light

This quote has been rattling around in my head all week. Need more light in your life? It’s available!!

Here is my major theme this morning: As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory spiritual power for the righteous. As the world slides from its spiritual moorings, the Lord prepares the way for those who seek Him, offering them greater assurance, greater confirmation, and greater confidence in the spiritual direction they are traveling. The gift of the Holy Ghost becomes a brighter light in the emerging twilight.

To understand better, think of these comparisons: If the world were growing more physically dark, He could give us enhanced night vision. If loud noises were constantly in our ears, He could give us a filtering mechanism to block the unwanted sound. If the race we were running was extended, He could give us increased lung and muscle capacity. If the exam we were taking was more difficult, He could quicken our minds.

My brothers and sisters, as evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory power, an additional spiritual endowment, a revelatory gift for the righteous. This added blessing of spiritual power does not settle upon us just because we are part of this generation. It is willingly offered to us; it is eagerly put before us. But as with all spiritual gifts, it requires our desiring it, pursuing it, and living worthy of receiving it. “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift?”

-BYU speech by Elder Neil Anderson

Here is the whole talk if you’d like to review it.

A Compensatory Spiritual Power for the Righteous

Have you found this to be true as the commotion in the world increases? I have! It usually means stepping away from the news, going somewhere by myself, and praying. I have felt Heavenly Father’s desire to communicate with me to a greater degree than I did before 2020. I have had some sweet experiences listening and Hearing Him – not in an audible way, but in my mind and my heart. I have received messages that were personal and unmistakably from Heaven- under the stars.

He is so aware of us and loves us so much!

Have a wonderful day, friend!

Love,

Laura

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

Tell Me a Story...

The Little Red Flute: The Story

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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

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:

IMG_20200805_122541366

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