Sunday, May 24, 2009


I have been going to my piano lessons and learning much. I feel like it is natural for me to sit at a piano. I feel creativity coursing through me when I play. I love it.

I have been doing my practicing on a miniature keyboard. It has been o.k. to help me learn finger placement and so forth, but it has been terrible for when I need to practice dynamics and pedals. I have just been pressing the keys harder when I need to be forte; the sound just doesn't change so it has been frustrating. I have been just moving my foot up and down to practice the pedal. It is so different to go to my lesson and sit at a true piano with full size keys.

I have looked in the classifieds for pianos but I have not had a plethora of money and I live in the middle of Wyoming where it is hundreds of miles to the big cities so I have not had much hope of getting a piano very soon. Well, I went to the local donation center and lo and behold someone was dropping off a piano! The center only wanted $50.00 for it, bench and all! I bought it, loaded it on my Sister-in-Laws trailer and followed it home. I live 3 miles in on a dirt road, so it was bumpy and I wasn't sure the piano would still play when we got it home, but what else could I do? We got it into the house with much muscle help from friends and now I have a piano! I play for hours each day and never tire of it. I have written another song on it that I need to coordinate with words. I love knowing chords and how the pedals work so I can make beautiful sounds.

My schedule is off and I have not been writing my essays because if I have a spare moment I am writing music and practicing my lessons. What a wonderful life I lead. Actually it has been very busy with the boys schooling, my part time job, chores, discipline, exercise, garden season, and so forth. Summer is going to be hard to have a schedule so I will just make sure we are doing the important things, and improvise from there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Man of the Family by Ralph Moody

I have been reading Little Britches with the kids so I was drawn to read this next book in the series. I had read them a couple of years ago and have been enjoying them just as much the second time around so they are truly a classic in my family. I love the real life principles that Ralph teaches through remembering his childhood. He had to grow up fast in the early 1900's when his father died. He was only 11, but was able to keep his family together and thriving by devising odd jobs and working hard. My boys have felt a kinship to Little Britches because he does things that they have been known to do. At one point my 9 year old son Cody said,"I know what he's going to do next, Mom. He always says that right before he does the wrong thing." It has had my boys thinking about character, and honor. My husband has recently read these books also, and he said that they confirmed a life lesson that he had been learning in his Louis L'Amour books, that there are only two kinds of men; honest ones, and dishonest ones. We have the next two books in the series and I am excited to read them. So far they have been full of decisions based on right and wrong. Their family makes life altering changes because they would not do something that would hurt someone else. I want my family to have those values.
Ralph's mother in the book is a good example to mothers. She perseveres through tough times without complaining or making it hard on others. She does her best and more. Her kids admire her, and want to do all they can to help her and to honor her. She does not lose her temper even in times that I am sure I would not be able to stay calm. I have wondered as I have read these books, how she kept such peace in her home. I think that she let the little things go and focused on the big things though not with so much focus that she lost sight of the bigger picture. What an admirable woman. Yesterday I saw my son run outside with his socks on. He knows that is wrong but was not thinking of that at the time. It made me wonder how Ralph's mother would have handled it. It seems that Ralph did everything he could to make his mother happy and proud. Would he have worn his socks outside on the dirt for his mother to wash? Would his mother just have let it go, and focused on the larger picture? I don't know. I let it go, and thought about how soon my boys will be gone and their dirty socks with them. That will be a sad day and I will be glad that I did not scold my son more often than was truly necessary.
Ralph did become the man of the family at a young age. His mother grateful and did all she could do also. I am thankful for the prosperity that my family has compared to what they had, but I am envious of the complete unity that they shared. Maybe if I read this book aloud to my family enough some of it will rub off!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Teach me, Teach me

In keeping with what my Husband suggested, I looked to the psalms for lyric ideas. The chorus to this song is from the Psalms and I like it. I will use that idea again. What a smart Husband I have.
I know it takes away from the peace of a song to diverge it's inner workings, but I need to journal the things I am learning from the lyric book I am studying. Bear with me.
I used the verse/chorus form (or ABAB), tried not to have the ends of the lines overly rhyme, started with a verse that led up to the chorus, and kept the pronouns varied throughout the song. The chorus is the main idea of the song, and repeats at the end. The reason for the song, the who, what, where, and why, is clearly evident from the beginning.

Teach me, Teach me

I sit alone in my bedroom
Caught up in misery and pain.
Punishing myself for the things I've done
I cry and then I start to pray.

Show me thy ways, O Lord.
Teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, O Lord.
Teach me, Teach me.

While praying my mind is put at ease.
I feel peace melt my troubles away.
The words "I love you" speak to me and
I know that it will be o.k.

Show me thy ways, O Lord.
Teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, O Lord.
Teach me, Teach me.

As I pray I remember things I used to know
That I am never, no never, no never alone.
My Savior paid the price for my every sin, so
Onward and Upward I go!

Show me thy ways, O Lord.
Teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, O Lord.
Teach me, Teach me.

Show me thy ways, O Lord.
Teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, O Lord.
Teach me, Teach me.
Teach me, Teach me.
Teach me.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Mission

The more I talk about my mission with others the more sure I am of what it is. It is like bearing your testimony when you get up with a vague idea of what you are going to say and then a whole torrent of information comes out of you. You know that what you are saying is what you believe but you hadn't really thought of it in that way before.
A few Sundays ago I was with my Mom in Relief Society. She was visiting because my son had been baptized that week. There was a poster on the wall for a presentation being put on for women. I realized that I could do the same thing for the youth once I have some songs and a real message to convey. I started to tell my mom about it and got choked up the way I do when I feel the truth of something. Since then it has been cemented that I need to move forward and be planning what it is I need to say to the youth.
I heard the talk from Dr. DeMille and have been pondering what my mission is so I will know better what message it is I need to put across.
I feel music coursing through me and need to get it out. I fall asleep with melodies and full orchestra music ringing in my head. I need to be moving ahead and I am doing all I can.
Last night I read about Eric Proffitt having some of the same experiences and I have seen him do some amazing things with his dreams. I know I can too.
I talked to my husband last night and he had some good ideas for me. He counseled me to find lyric inspiration from the psalms. They are full of virtuous ideas, and praises to God that can be used to my advantage. Anything already pleasing to God is only going to be good. I am going to give that a try. I am still studying the lyric writing book so I will try using some psalms in the experiments with writing that I am doing. I am also going to make this writing lyrics business a matter of prayer. I am going to pray before, during, and after I write, so I can have divine guidance in my already guided mission.
I was trying to learn the piano so that I could compose the music behind the Lyrics. I am still going to learn the piano so that some day I can compose and perform with it. Right now I am going to focus on the lyrics and the vocals. I can have someone else help me with the accompaniment. At least that is my plan for today. We will see if there is something else I am supposed to do, but for now I need to have a plan. In the past it has been really easy for me to hear music and write words to it. I have felt that they have been some of my better songs, so I am leary of writing the words first. I've got to go with what I have at the moment I guess.
I had questioned if I could maybe have more than one mission. My sister Kerissa helped me understand better by saying that they are all for one purpose. I think they are all to bring souls to Christ. If I can do that through peace, knowledge, and beauty, then all the more power to me. My husband helped me see that music is very powerful, and could be different things to different people. I will just be prayerful and go with the spirit. I can't go very wrong that way now can I?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I have not been on a very good schedule so my studies have been sporadic. We went to Idaho falls for 3 days for groceries and to visit family, and my husbands schedule is changing again so I have not been home much(plus I got my fishing license for the year so we have been at the lake!)
I am going to my 3rd piano lesson today and I am ready because I have been able to practice about an hour each day. I am already on page 65 and have learned two hand positions, 4 chords, and am learning sharps now. I like the music that is in my life. I hope to continue progressing quickly so I can be composing music to put with the Lyrics that I am studying on how to write. I have pondered and pondered about what my message will be with my music. I feel like I want to bear my testimony to the youth and help them be stronger. I am not sure if I need to specify this, or go with that as my base. I feel like there is more for me to find out before I can specify it any further. I will keep on learning and growing in music until I know what my next step will be. I have a mentor that is helping me on this path. He is very inspirational in the things that he is doing with his life and for others. His website is . I recommend everyone see what he is doing and support him. His mission is to free the captive. I was listening to a speech given by Oliver DeMille about the Depth Phase. He said there are 5 or 6 main missions that everyone fits into, and that other missions are just co-missions that fit within these 5 or 6 main ones. The ones I remember are 1. freeing the captive, 2. giving knowledge to the ignorant, 3. sharing beauty through the arts, 4. bringing peace to the lonely, 5. feeding the hungry,6. healing the sick. I don't know if I remember them right, but I have been pondering which mission is mine because Dr. DeMille said everyone has one of these missions. My Dad tells me often that I bring him peace with my voice. I've wondered if I can bring peace, share knowledge, and and share beauty. Is that presumtuous to think that I can have more that one mission? Can one mission spread into other missions? I don't know. I have more to learn and to ponder.
I read O Pioneers! and did not like it very much. Parts of it were troubling, and it was not very deep thinking. I remembered that I had read it before, and now I remember why it was not a book that I thought everyone else should read. I find this strange though because the reason I read it was because my good friend Kellie wrote an essay on it that intrigued me. She makes everything sound like it needs to be read though. She is the reason I also read The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Alas Babylon both of which were excellent reads.
I am in the middle of rearranging our bookshelves and making them more leadership style. I am also going through our endless binders and getting rid of ones we don't absolutely have to have. I have given boxes of books away to the local charity so that the only ones on our shelves are the ones I love, or are hoping to fall in love with. Many of them are ones I have not read yet but I think they will be good so I am keeping them until I can find out.
I have been reading about fishing for trout. We have not had any luck yet so I am thinking that it is not the lack of luck we are having but a lack of knowledge. When I was a kid I remember doing fine with fishing but I think that was because my Dad knew what he was doing - not me. I quizzed my Father-in-Law out of what he knew so I have a beginning now. I found out that my leaders were made of too heavy a line, and that I was fishing the wrong spots in the stream. I bought some new fishing tackle and am making new leaders in the new way that I have learned.

Extra Chores

For years we have had a system of myself giving extra chores to those who chose not to follow the rules of the house. My nine year old Cody came up with an idea to take it even further which has been so fun and wonderful. I typed up all of the deep cleaning chores for our house in a large font, printed them out, had my 7 year old Tyler cut them up into strips, and put them in a jar. I also made a list of prizes that I was willing to give out. I listed back rub, dollar towards fishing lure, 30 minutes t.v., cup of juice, popsicle, and $1.00. I copied these several times, and also had them cut into strips and put into a separate jar. Now when my kids want a prize they take a slip of paper that has been crunched up from the CHORES jar and do the chore. When I have passed off that it has been done well(according to their age and ability), they can choose another slip of crunched up paper from the PRIZE jar. When a rule is broken I have a jar full of chores for them to take from. It works well to get my deep cleaning done and is teaching them how to do household cleaning, and that if they disobey a rule they will have an immediate consequence. I typed the lists so that when each chore is done the slip of paper is torn and thrown away. Then when the jar is empty and the deep cleaning done, I print the list and start over again.