Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Sang for an Apostle of the Lord Today!

My poor neglected blog. I decided a while ago that I would give it up. But today I had an amazing experience and I felt very strongly that I wanted to write it down and I wanted to share. So here I am, writing on my blog. This is lifted right out of my journal:

I Sang for an Apostle of the Lord Today!

A few hours ago I found myself sitting in a sacrament meeting held in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building with my cousin Mary. As the bishop stood up to welcome the congregation the side doors opened up and in slipped Elder M. Russell Ballard. I had been half hoping for and half dreading this for weeks. I knew the ward had two apostles in it, but I also knew that they traveled A LOT and were not often there. How wonderful to sing for an apostle! At the same time, I do not always perform well with increased nerves, and I also am famous, or infamous, for feeling the Spirit too strongly, getting overwhelmed and crying my way through songs. I dreaded either of these things happening and so felt that it would be a relief if the Apostles were NOT there. When those tall, tall doors opened, I started to pray--believe me!

I prayed from that moment all the way through the sacrament and as the choir sang and the speaker spoke. I did also try to pause and listen and enjoy the beautiful choir number and the amazing speaker but the back of mind was still praying! "Please help us not to mess up. Please help me not to be so nervouse that my voice is extra shaky. Please please help us to feel the Spirit and bring/add to the spirit of the meeting. Please please PLEASE don't let me feel the Spirit so strongly that I start to cry and am unable to sing." This was the loop that was on repeat in my head.

Can I take a minute to explain what singing means to me? All my life I have loved to sing. I sang an entire song, solo, in church when I was 5 years old. It was not part of the primary program, it was just the musical number in a regular sacrament meeting. I sang at my mother's wedding when I was 6, though I cried through the second half because I looked at my mother and saw that she was crying. Crying has always been a contagious thing in my family. I have always felt that Heavenly Father blessed me with this gift for my sake more than for anybody else, though singing is generally something you do for other people. When I was going through some very tough things as a child and teenager I often felt that the only thing keeping me from flying into a million jagged, depressed, pieces was my ability to sing and the pure joy it always brought me. When my testimony was weak it was strengthened by how I felt as I sang sacred music in church. When I am sad it always helps me to sing, sort of like whistling in the dark: it convinced me that there was nothing to be afraid of. The music and the sheer bliss of it can chase away overanxious thoughts, of which I have always had an abundant supply. So believe me when I say that I love singing more than almost anything in the world.

Years ago, though, in college, as I contemplated studying and working hard and taking up singing as a career choice I realized something. I wanted to sing for people and feel that joy often and live IN music, if possible, but I did not really want to sell it for money or acclaim, nor did I want to be out at nights all dressed up at concerts or jazz clubs or what have you. I wanted a homelife. I wanted to be home in the evening and go to bed embarrassingly early after a long day of tending little ones of my very own. As much as I loved singing jazz standards and arias I wanted to sing lullabies much, much more.

It all took years but I got my family. I have two little boys who I hope someday will realize just how much they were prayed for and longed for. I hope they know they were not the thing I had to do instead of possibly singing for the world. I hope they know I wanted to sing for them MORE than I wanted to sing for the world.

I sang for an apostle of the Lord today. My dear cousin and I did NOT make any silly mistakes. I felt the Spirit strongly but I did NOT cry. There was a moment there when I was doing my smiling-gently-at-the-congregation-while-singing-thing and I saw someone else crying and had a split-second panic attack and felt the tears coming on but I lifted up my eyes to the beautifully engraved ceiling and sang my heart out instead. For that moment it felt a bit like I was flying. There is no clapping during sacrament meetings but just as we finished our song I heard a voice behind me say quietly, but succinctly: "Beautiful." I thought it was the bishop but I found out later that it was Elder Ballard himself who said that. He was sitting on the stand too.

Mary and I sat down. My hands were shaking, as they always do after I'm finished singing. The rest of the meeting was absolutely beautiful, near professional quality. We were both surprised when we got there that we would be part of the ward's Christmas program. We thought we would just be a musical number during a regular meeting. The speaker was amazing as he narrated the story of our dear Savior's birth, mingling in thoughtful quotes and explanations with the oh so familiar and beloved tale written by Luke. Every song performed seemed to be one of my very favorite Christmas songs. Did they design this program just for me? A woman played Oh Holy Night on the violin and I think maybe she was a professional. I finally started crying during her performance because it was so very lovely and that song is the most meaningful Christmas song of all for me. I had a moment, during that song, where out of the blue came the feeling that if I had pursued music more I may have been able to participate in experiences like this more often, but it was not a regretful thought at all; instead it was one of deep gratitude. Just for today I had both: a beautiful family and a simple homelife and a wonderful musical experience like this. I felt filled with my Heavenly Father and my Savior's love, as though this were a gift just for me, a moment out of time, like they had planned all this so that I could have this experience in the midst of my days of potty-training accidents and kissing booboos and calming tantrums and singing lullabies. I could have the memory of that one beautiful hour and fifteen minutes to sustain me, that feeling of being loved, noticed, remembered by my Savior as my thank-you-for-now for choosing motherhood and homemaking.

I sang for an Apostle of the Lord today, and afterward he came up and shook our hands and spoke to us. We were told that the congregation was absolutely transfixed as was Elder Ballard, who we couldn't see because he was sitting behind us. The Spirit was so strong that I'm not even sure that it was me singing. I felt surrounded by the joy and love and goodwill of the Christmas season and of Christ himself and I hope I never forget it. It was just a little thing; singing in a sacrament meeting with my dear cousin who is moving across the country tomorrow. But the Spirit held us all in Love and placed a precious Christmas gift in my heart. Yet the gift was not that I sang for an Apostle of the Lord today, as wonderful as that was, but that I was reminded that I get to sing for my husband and my little boys every day and that every song I sing, and will ever sing, I sing for my Savior. I need no other gift this Christmas season.

Here is an audio recording of one of our rehearsals. It is not a recording of the sacrament meeting. We did better there!
Merry Christmas!!

P.S. The song we sang was called, "Christmas Alleluia" and is offered free on this website.
 It is so beautiful. Its a great duet and is also written in SATB style for a choir!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Announcing Henry David!!!

Tonight, at 7:30pm, my newest little boy will be four weeks old. And this is his first mention on the blog. I have good excuses as I always do, but for now, suffice it to say (or is it "sufficeth to say"? I've always wondered)....I had my baby!! and he's a cutie!! And I DID manage a VBAC without any drugs, in a birth center! But just by the skin of my teeth, ha ha, more details later. This post is for pictures and general rejoicing. I will quickly post more recent pictures in a new post, but let's pretend this post was done a month ago, when he was newly minted. These pictures are all from his first night on the "outside". Welcome, welcome little boy. And here's hoping you survive your older brother...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Because My Mommy Told Me To...

and I'm a good daughter, sometimes. You'll remember (or not) that I was lamenting the limbo-like state in which I've been living in my last post. My marmee very wisely recommended that the only thing to do when one is stuck in limbo is to stop and smell the roses. I've been trying to follow her advice, and of course, cuz that's what we do on blogs, I thought I'd share!

Rose #1-- In a very fortunate twist of timing and fate, and probably also a tender mercy of the Lord, my brother, who had been looking for a cheap place to live up here nearer the city, decided to move into a room my aunt had just down the hall from our apartment. We cleared out a couple of shelves in our kitchen and now he uses our kitchen for eating (he has his own bathroom). I was excited to spend a little more time with him, but I really didn't foresee what a blessing this would be. He has been such a help and relief for me; playing with Boo, giving me little snatches of time to myself. The other fortunate accident is that he works nights, so he is here mostly in the morning, and while I try not to rely on him too much, about once or twice a week he will winkle Boo away to the park for a couple of hours or so and I will get a little more rest or maybe clean up a little. This has been particularly wonderful as I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy and am so very tired and not always able to do the very energetic things that Boo was used to having me do. Plus its just been fun having more time with my brother!

Rose #2-- We found a pretty groovy little car with 6 seats called a Mazda5, and we feel like we managed a pretty good deal on it too. Our car payment is even less than we thought it would be and so hopefully it won't be so stressful to go from our old situation of low rent and no car payments, to having to pay car payments, a mortgage, and utilities all at the same time. It will still be a bit of a shock, I'm sure, but hopefully not as much.

Rose #3--(ok this is getting cheesy now right?) Boo really is a little delight lately. He is so gung ho about words and talking, there isn't anything he won't try to say. He knows almost all of his shapes, colors, numbers (well 1-10) and is working on letters now. The latest crack up is that he has learned to say "pentagon", "octagon" and last night Jon taught him "semi-circle". that one really made me laugh. I would have said half-circle, but semi-circle is way funnier coming out of a baby's mouth. He's finally gotten a little more independent (thank goodness! timing couldn't be better on that one!) and just runs around tinkering with stuff and talking and singing to himself, labeling everything and telling it what color or shape it is, happy as a little clam. He also seems to be able to understand more, and so I can explain things to him and he will stop freaking out or whatever he was doing. Not all the time, but a lot more often. Thank goodness for small favors!

R4--The one on the way is in really good shape. He's in the right position, which is a relief and hopefully means it will go better than my last little posterior boy did. I've got a lovely, funny, laid back midwife who is a total sweetheart, and a birth center all lined up that I might want to move into, it's so cozy and comfy and beautiful with a ginormous padded bathtub. Yes, padded. I never seem to have any problems with blood pressure or sugar or protein or iron levels or anything else they test all the time, and my teeth didn't even freak out or my gums bleed like they did last time (i took the vitamin and nutrition thing into my own hands this time and it has made a HUGE difference from the pathetic prescription prenatals I took last time that I swear didn't do anything but make me constipated and nauseous.) I discovered prenatal chiropractic care at the very end of my pregnancy last time and have been using it this entire pregnancy and it also has made ALL the difference. Almost no pain whatsoever, especially compared with last time. Now if HF would just guide me to a way to sleep better and pee less (overshare? oops) than pregnancy would be a piece of cake, lol, if it can ever be that. Anyway, I'm very very grateful for how this one has gone so far and am crossing my fingers that everything will continue on the right track for these last few weeks.

R5--Can I take a minute to talk about my husband? He is such a huge help, and has basically taken over cooking in this last little while. And luckily, he actually can cook! I was talking to a friend who said when her husband "cooks" they get pizza. I was reminded again of how very lucky I am. He's sweet and gives me amazing massages and is so good with Walter. It is such a joy to watch my little boy (and future kiddos, I'm sure) enjoy having a good father. It really helps to heal the little permanent ache in my own heart when I think of my own father. The Savior helped me forgive my dad and move on, but my husband has helped me in ways I don't think I can ever truly explain to anyone who hasn't been in the same situation. Seeing my children with a devoted and loving dad every day for the rest of our lives (may they be long) will be a joy and a blessing that I cannot describe. I love him! And I love my Heavenly Father and Older Brother for helping me find him!

K-the cheese fest is over, thanks for putting up with it. I'm sure you understand the need to keep your spirits up when it's starting to feel like you will be pregnant for ever. Can I ask a favor? If you are a praying kind of person, will you pray that the baby comes at the best time? I don't do inductions or any of that, and he can be a little late if he needs to be, or early, haha, I wouldn't argue with that, but he can't come in between like May2-7 because there's yet another wedding I'd really like to go to. And have you noticed how I post once a month and then I post a novel? Sheesh, I've got to work on the short and sweet posts. Actually, that's probably all you'll get after the new baby comes!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting....

Next to the word "Limbo" in the dictionary would be a picture of yours truly; not DOING the Limbo, trying to get my big ol' belly under the stick, but just existing in a state of limbo. In grad school we would have pretentiously called it a Liminal Phase, but these days I don't use words like that so often. Every bit of my brain is wrapped up in waiting right now, and it makes it hard to think about anything else. What am I waiting for?

1. It's time for this family to get a bigger car. I've been squeezing my belly through a tiny space in a 2 door coupe to put my toddler in a car seat in the tiny back seat for long enough I suppose. Plus we cannot fit two car seats into the back row of our compact cars. So we are doing our research about cars and loans and I'm just waiting to see what kind of minivan we end up with. Fingers crossed it is smallish, as fuel efficient as possible, and a non-monstrosity that doesn't make me feel like I'm driving a boat. This could take a while to find....

2. House hunting, especially in this market, which is made up primarily of Short Sales right now, is a major waiting game. We have three different offers out on houses right now, 2 of which have us in first position. We just have to wait for that wonderful 3rd Party Approval, otherwise known as Behemoth Bank, which moves slower than molasses in January even though you'd think they would like to get some money out of a sinking ship and not end up with another foreclosure on their hands. Everybody send hurry up vibes to the banks!! Then we'll just see which one comes through first, really. I can't decide which one I'm rooting for, it changes on a daily basis. Plus maybe we will keep looking at other houses and then who knows how many offers we will end up putting down. So right now, I have this strange feeling like my brain really wants to make plans (nesting, anyone?) but I can't, because I don't know if we could be in a house in a month, or two, or four, and which house and where. Should I start nesting my little apartment ( I have been anyway, but I've reached a stage where I don't know WHAT to do now and I'm just sort of flummoxed by this waiting game. And lastly...

3. I've got a little over 5 weeks left until my due date, which of course doesn't mean much, except that I'm in the most uncomfortable stage of my pregnancy, the part where you kind of wish you could go into a coma for a month or you had a ginormous fast forward button on your life. Pregnancy is the ultimate waiting game, and the last month or so is the ultimate of the ultimate. So that's my life right now. It's amazing how preoccupied you can be with waiting, how much time you can spend thinking and wondering. I wish I could be better at putting it out of my mind and having a little faith. I'll keep working on that, and I'd welcome any suggestions!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Morning Status Report.

Every morning lately, when I go to retrieve The Kiddo from his bed, this is the greeting I get:

"Daddy? Work? Yamma? Work? Doel? Seeping? Kessy? Bye Bye?"

*a pause for translation* Boo is listing where everybody is when they are not here. Yamma is Gramma, and Doel is his Uncle Joel, who, even though I keep saying that he is actually at work, for some reason Boo has decided that he is always sleeping, because I said that ONCE, 3 weeks ago. Kessy is his Aunt Kelsey, and I guess he's not sure where she is, so she is just Bye Bye, or not here.

This is what I hear:

"What, you again? Just you? Just Mommy? No Daddy, no Grandma, or perhaps any awesome aunts or uncles? Anybody? Alright, I guess I'll hang out with this old Mommy again."

No, I don't feel too terribly sorry for myself; I know he is going through a phase where he is just figuring out how the world works and how people come and go in his home and his life and his day. I also know that someday he will realize how lucky he was to have me at home with him. But until then, I wouldn't mind too terribly if one of these mornings he said something like:

"Mommy! Here!!"