Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Big stuff for 2011.

I have refused New Year’s Resolutions for the past years because I discovered I was a failure at them and so I stopped. No strings attached. Nobody really bugged me about it, actually. I still achieved stuff, but felt a lot lot better when I didn’t pressurize it by labeling it NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS.

This year I am brimming with them. Not the usual, either. No feelings of I-should-do-this-because-other-people-do-it. No obligations. Things I actually want to do, inherently. I am motivated by my own plain desire and nothing else—which is totally new. I'm going to share a couple big ones with you.

-Write every day. I gave myself like 8000 outs for this desire last semester. A big honking one with a neon sign was called musiceducationschool.Other ones crept up under various pseudonyms but it was all the same omnipresent umbrella covering the fear of not being good enough. If I wrote more it would mean I had to face more. It would mean I would want to share more but I might be afraid somebody wouldn’t get it and they’d think I was nuts.

A great part about this is that if it doesn’t happen with shining perfection I am not going to feel bad. I am only going to feel bad if I abandon it because of that fear.

-Give my will completely to God—changing my plans if necessary. I feel like this is incredibly important but my heart and mind are fuzzy about exactly why—probably because I can’t tell the future and my little self can’t perceive what God has in store for my life. Change what plans, precisely? If He would tell me that I could prepare myself…

This is a process I have to re-do a whole bunch of times in my life: demonstrate a willingness to give up my plans before I see what God is planning. Feel upset and confused when my plans actually do have to be changed. Discover what He had planned was way better. Thank profusely for not going through with my proposed plan. Determine to remember this feeling. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Being a human is frustrating more often than I’d like to admit.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Making mistakes is a beautiful process. It allows a something new to come forth altogether, when otherwise it would have been boring, glossy perfection. Who wants double helpings of that?

Making mistakes means you know you’re human. You know you’re alive, and it’s all the sudden, sometimes, because you’re smacked between the eyes with it. Now, those eyes are forced to focused. Does a mistake mean you have to correct? Most often, yessir. It does. It means apologizing or getting down on your hands and knees to look for the thing you lost—friendship ties, or that coin…

Making mistakes is wonderful because someone else sees your vulnerabilities wide out and splayed, and you have to grapple with that. You have to turn it over in your hands and decide if you’re going to try to bury it or display it on a silver pedestel. Make that a gold pedestal. I thought I was a good speller. PSH.

Making mistakes means you have flesh, blood, guts—and that you use those things poorly at times. At times, you suck at something. You break your promise you mess up your cake you bake something disgusting you hurt someone’s feelings. Without these things you’d be a robot. And you’d still suck. Because you wouldn’t be able to feel anything and nobody wants double helpings of that, either.

Making mistakes happens in tandem with eating, drinking, making merry. You get carried away in how great you are at something and then you mess it up. I think it’s God’s way of reminding me, helloooo, you need Me.


Lately my life has been magnificent. More magnificent than it has been in a long time—I keep waiting for the bomb to blow. Things can’t possibly continue like this, so blissful and fairytale ish; surely I’ve missed something…something I messed up a long time ago should come back to punch me in the face, right? Some problem has to bubble to the top very soon, because life is just too good to be true…

Walking on eggshells makes it hard to enjoy the scenery.

Then my Wise Voice pipes up. Don’t paralyze yourself with fear of the unknown. You already know that makes you only feel dumpy when you should just be relishing and enjoying the wonderment of your current state. Just go forward.

RUN FORWARD! Let the wind whip you in the face as you go,

because this is your time to laugh, dance, build up, to embrace, to speak.


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

(Selections from Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8—one of the most comforting, poignant passages of scripture.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hymn Singing

Leading the music in church is frustrating.

Half the people are not singing.

The other half are not watching you.

I think Christ often feels this way, offering the Atonement, guiding us with perfection—and we’re either not singing or not watching.

Some people don’t think singing the hymns is important. They don’t think uniting their voice with 300 other voices to sing praise to the God who made them is an essential part of their worship. “That’s why we don’t just have church alone in our house!” Mom exclaimed. “It’s a uniting experience.”

Not for the teenage boys who sit with arms crossed, it’s not. They are some of the ones who look at me. Defiance. It’s pointless for them. Pouting is pointless. Open your mouth! I want to make an announcement over the pulpit. Or, rather, a shoutment over the pulpit: God doesn’t care if you can’t sing a thing. He accepts our measly offerings all the time—awkward lessons taught, stumbling prayers uttered—from a pure heart, He accepts these. God doesn’t care if you are embarrassed or tired or (what are the excuses? I don’t even know); He cares that you love Him and that you’re sitting in that pew because darnit, you want to be better this week and you want to be closer to Him. So yeah, it makes total sense that He would exempt you from singing out to thank Him and commit yourself to be more like Him. It makes sense, He wouldn’t want that. He only wants perfect offerings.

If you understood, you would sing. It would not matter if you couldn’t hit a note. You would offer up that prayer. You would say amen to all the other people praying with you at the very same time. You would give a little of yourself and feel the swelling that comes from feeling that connection, like, Yeah. We all believe this together. We believe in the Christmas songs we’re singing, even if it’s December 26th. We believe in the Savior who atoned for us, who we will now remember with loving hearts and determination to do better. If you understood, you would feel that.


In your quiet moments, what do you admit to yourself about knowing God?
Or, do we give up our quiet moments to avoid knowing what we would admit?

Why are you afraid to let this thing be out in the open air—to write it down or say it out loud? If it became your truth, would you just have to do too many hard things? How long will we trap ourselves in the petty webs we weave—pride, grudges, refusing to let go?

We’re very good at hiding in the tangles.

cub scout, cub scout

The single-mindedness of kids continues to floor me. Brennon gets on these stints of obsession—it’s quite amazing, really.

Right now, it’s Cub Scouts; he eats, breathes, and drinks it.

Example#1: An inexplicable need to wear his entire scouting uniform every time he works on scouts. Which was daily, until…

Example#2: Mother had to mandate that he put the scout book away until after Christmas. Stop achieving, child.

Example#3: Telling his friend Ethan that he couldn’t play after school (3:00) because he had to get ready for pack meeting (6:00). Devout.

Example#4: The title of the scout master in the ward has been shortened to “Master.” This yields sentences like, “You did a great job on your talk, Master!” Et cetera.

The boys worry that he will be one of those nerds at scout camp with no friends, but I relish in his joys.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the nonstop sink.

I’ve had stuff and words swimming in my mind all day.

Today, I saw:

A boy with faded purple hair, like he wanted to get back blonde but ran out of bleach; a boy with one painted fingernail—one of those metallic-y light pearl colors, as if he thought he could get away with it; a boy in a suit pick of a glob of snow in his bare hands and rub it all over them; two girls with really cool watches (I’ve been in search!); an old friend who would have been happy to talk had she seen me, but for some reason I just walked by; a friend of Jared’s from home who looked and me and talked to me but didn’t really see me—didn’t recognize me, I guess; a girl who smelled like stale cheese and faded laundry; a boy who had a laugh like a vampire, or possibly a vampirical Santa Claus; and, three girls who washed their hands in the sink that wouldn’t stop running, but did nothing about it. I probably wouldn’t have done something about it, either, girls. Except that today is a stuff-and-words-swimming-around day, and this mindset makes me do weird things like feel obligated to fix the sink but undesirous (and I know that’s not a word, whatever.) to talk to a friend.

I didn’t really do anything miraculous about the nonstop sink—just told someone else to call a custodian.

We watched The Devil Wears Prada last night. You know the part where Andy answers her cell phone a million times instead of being with her dad, her friends, her boyfriend? Nate (boyfriend) says something to her: “The person whose phone calls you always take—that’s the relationship you’re in. I hope you two are very happy together.”

And it got me thinking, maybe I take stupid people’s calls too often. Like maybe Weird Sadness With No Name starts vibrating in my pocket and I interrupt my otherwise joyous existence to take the call. Or when Irritated For No Reason jingle jangles, I stop everything: SO SORRY! I HAVE TO GET THIS!

And WHY?

Last night I answered those calls, automatically, seamlessly, almost by accident, and decided to write. Something surfaced that I had no idea I was still problematizing (again, not a word! I KNOW!). I wrote a simple page about the crap and felt better. In trying to transfer those mysterious, wispy feelings to somewhere outside of my brain they were transformed, clarified, deepened—I got to the bottom of it. I got to write in clear words for only me to see. It felt good, like how you feel after you’ve thrown up when you’re terribly sick. Sorry to be gross.

My finals are all through and I’m about to be extremely un-busy for the next few weeks. My crazed mind knows this is coming and is starting to throw a fit, curl up in a little ball, beg, no, no, please! I don’t want to face all my demons! It worked very well focusing only on music, which you would think is emotionally revealing and all but it’s easier to hide inside it than anything else.

It’s easier to hide than anything else.

And yet you have to emerge, purple hair or no, and decide if you’re going to really see people, or just notice their stale cheesy smell.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gospel Choir Backin Up Alex Boye. Yeha.

This weekend we got to sing backup for none other than Alex Boye at the half time show for the BYU basketball game. Here’s the youtube video:


Oh, what’s that? You want to join the gospel choir and wear these awesome robes? Yeah, okay. You can. Open rehearsals begin Wednesday JANUARY 5th and will be weekly from 6-7 pm. 3250 Wilkinson Student Center, BYU. Anyone is welcome!

Our next gig: the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in the WSC Ballroom. It’s gonna be amaaaazing!

Friday, December 10, 2010

geese and swans

Today is a big day.

I know because I had nightmares about it.

Nightmares that I wasn’t dressed right, I hadn’t warmed up, people were performing and scrambling and instruments that begin with vio scattered everywhere. Wood, with swirls, to let out sound.

But I don’t play the violin, really.

I have words to forget. an accompanist to get out of sync with. Ribs to collapse, words to make elisions from, (“NO! IT’S NOT SWANSNOW! IT’S SWANS NOW!) At this point, I don’t particularly care if more geese than swans now live or swansnow—sounds like that ice cream brand, which seems far better than sloshing nervous sludge around in my stomach for the next two hours. Also at this point I don’t particularly care if all the voice faculty thinks my Italian is awful or my vowels are too pure. I just want it to be over.

I just want it to be over.