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

Cause it makes me happy...

Rotten Food

photos_2015_09_18_fst_265fueeeitr

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

Thought

Sing!

Hello Friends!  I’m back to share a little video I found last night.  My mom told me recently about how amazing Linda Ronstadt is- if you look her up on youtube you can find the variety of different singing styles she performed in throughout her life- and it is a LOT- from pop to classical (shout-out for Pirates of Penzance!) to mariachi.  Here she talks about what life is like not being able to sing anymore.  She has Parkinson’s now, and can’t even sing in the shower.  It’s a good reminder for me to enjoy what my voice CAN do now, even while I’m still working on it!

TTFN!

~Laura

Wow- this inspires me!

Inspired!

Hello Friends!

It’s been a busy few weeks around here.  Last week was spring break so I had the blessing of 3 boys hanging out with me. They are back in school this week which frees up my time but my it’s always startling to get back to the quiet after the house being full 24-7!

So, my husband and I were recently discussing the possibility of me going to a music conference.  I had looked into several possibilities, and though he was very supportive, I decided not to go to any of them.  I told him what I really wanted was to find a group of people that were doing what I’m doing- that’s who I want to go to a conference with.  Here’s the problem- I’m not sure what I “do” yet!  My interests with music are quite broad and fuzzy, and I know more about what I’m not than what I am!  For now that’s a wonderful thing- it gives me a lot of room to explore and learn.

Funny enough, the timing of this conversation was the same week as a hospice training I had decided to attend.  One of the areas that really interests me right now is music therapy.  Though I’m not trained specifically as a music therapist, I can definitely volunteer as a musician through hospice to share music as a way of providing comfort.  The first day of the training (there are 4 days total), as we went around the table and talked about why we had come to the training, I was struck by how similar our answers were.  I was the young ‘un, for sure, but we all had a desire to nurture and bring peace and comfort to the others with the various gifts we’d been given.  I immediately felt a kinship with these other women, and wondered if I had found “my people.”

During the training, one of the women recommended to me a video that I found that evening on Amazon Prime called “Alive Inside.”  It’s all about how music affects us, particularly those struggling with Alzheimer’s.  What an inspiring video!  I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.  Here is a portion of it.  The full-length film is a little over an hour.

 

After viewing this movie and feeling excited about the impact I could have on the elderly through music, I ended up stumbling across this neat work: “Music is Medicine.”

So today I drove over to one of the nursing homes in town and gave them my business card and discussed the possibilities of how I could share my music there, and next week I’ll go into the Alzheimer’s unit and have a little music time with a few of the residents.  I’m excited!

Sometimes I forget how powerful music is.  Today was a good reminder.

Cheers!

Love

Laura

Quote

Faith and Music

crawford

Today I found an interview which was posted online in 2010 by mormonartist.net and highlighted the musical career of Crawford Gates (my Grandfather).  There was one quote that was particularly moving to me and I wanted to share it here.  Grandad was an extremely talented musician, but even more than that, he was a man of faith.  This quote shows how completely he “let go” and allowed God to work through him.

As a composer, with all eight hundred and seventy-four pieces, I had two prayers. I have an “empty-page prayer.” I look at the page, and I’ve got to fill it with beautiful music. Where is that going to come from? I don’t have beautiful music within me. It’s got to come from the Lord, but he is going to give it to me. So the empty-page prayer is a prayer of supplication: “Help me do something beautiful for this need.” And that was certainly true with Promised Valley, that was certainly true with the Hill Cumorah Pageant, and that was certainly true with Joseph! Joseph!.

Then there’s the second prayer: I got a page. The Lord has given it to me. I get on my knees next to my piano or next to my desk. “Thank you for this beautiful music. Thank you, Heavenly Father.”

Two prayers: “empty page,” “full page.” It’s been that way all my life. And it may not be just one prayer, or two prayers; it’s a week of prayers, or a month of prayers.

Have a great weekend, friends!

Love,
Laura