But deep inside, I hear God calling me to rise above these thoughts, to trust in Him more, and to focus on all that He is, and all that He offers me, rather than on what I feel I lack. I want to put “joy” in my mental search bar, and fill my mind and my life with inspiring music and uplifting thoughts. I’m on a journey to let got of perfectionism, scarcity mentality, and other limiting beliefs, and instead embrace God’s word, His promises, His power, and learn to more fully savor the moments that make life worth living. In other words, to Find the Joy.
I LOVE empowering ideas. I’m crazy about inspiring thoughts. I also love singing, playing, listening to, and writing music. So one of my favorite things in the whole world is to have an inspiring thought, crafted into a catchy song, that I can listen to over and over, sing over and over, that will then magically play in my head in the moments of life when difficulty and discouragement want to get the better of me.
Uplifting music has served as a pretty amazing anti-depressant throughout my life, and is the common denominator in my most joyful memories. Here are a few musical snapshots of my life:
My three siblings and I used to love marching around the piano in our pajamas while my dad tickled the ivories with "12th Street Rag" or some other fun song.
I have beautiful memories of playing piano duets with my sister (except for when we were so frustrated and so sick of practicing that we would kick the piano--ha ha), and caroling together as a family every Christmas Eve.
In high school, I found a lot of joy from being in choirs, belting show tunes, singing hymns with friends, and starting to write my own music.
As a voice major in college I loved living a life full of choir rehearsals, and concerts, and voice recitals, and even the hours and hours that I spent in the practice room—sometimes just laying on the floor focusing on breathing correctly. I titled my senior voice recital “If I cannot fly, let me sing”-- because to me, singing is as close to flying as I’ve ever come.
The first time I heard my husband sing is also a joyful, musical memory—it was just outside my practice room, in the music building on campus, and he was rehearsing with his barbershop quartet. I have to say it was love at first listen. :). We sang in the BYU-Idaho Collegiate Singers together and we thoroughly enjoyed that time of life and all of the music that we got to be a part of. It was such an amazing blessing to sing choral music, every day, that focused on the Savior, and those words and melodies got imprinted into my heart and have lifted and taught me far beyond the rehearsal hall.
As my husband started graduate school and we embarked on our journey of parenthood together, singing in choirs or giving recitals gave way to singing lullabies, jamming along with Elmo and cookie monster, and playing the piano while MY kids run around in THEIR pajamas. We live in Colorado now, where I stay home with our 4 kids, ages 12, 10, 5, and 3.
I love when my kids belt out songs from Les Mis at the top of their lungs, when we do dishes or other chores together with show tunes blaring, when we get to play piano duets together, or rock out to Christian pop songs in the car. These musical memories are a little different than the ones from college, but just as joyful in their own way.
When I’m not overseeing music practice, helping with homework, watching basketball games, folding laundry, reading stories, or trying to answer 4 questions at once, I sometimes sneak away and write music—-or come up with crazy ideas like launching a podcast.
One of my very favorite scriptures, from Isaiah chapter 51 verse 3 says—
“For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”
Through music, I have experienced Eden in my wilderness. Even when, and actually especially when life is really hard, music has helped me find joy, gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody in a wilderness often laced with briars and thorns.
My greatest hope is that the music and ideas I share with you on this site and on the podcast will bring a touch of Eden to YOUR wilderness, and help you rise above overwhelm and find joy.