Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dear Ward Choir

I think about you all the time. I love all you people that take time out of your schedule to be there so we can help bring the Spirit to the ward through music.

Actually, I even had a dream about you last night. Except it was more like a nightmare.

Tomorrow we are singing "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need" in church.

Following is last night's dream:

When I arrived at church, the opening hymn was "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need." I thought, really? Who chooses the opening song so that it is the same as the one the choir will be singing in the middle of the meeting?

When I got up there to direct it, it wasn't my choir at all, but the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Except there were NO men in the choir. Furthermore, while half the sheet music copies were the correct lyrics (ie: My shepherd will supply my need, Jehovah is his name), half of the sheet music copies had been changed (ie: My need will be supplied by my shepherd. His name is Jehovah). Therefore, the words were completely muddled throughout.

I had also forgotten to specify who would be playing the flute part in this dream. I had just said, "And if anybody wants to play the flute part on Sunday, go ahead and bring your flute." Therefore, 75% of this all-female choir pulled out flutes of all varieties, including bass flutes, and played the flute part.

The result: A huge all-women choir with half the singers singing the wrong words and about 50 flute players overpowering the voices. Awful awful awful!!!

The funny thing is that this dream recognized all my fears: no men showing up, people not being able to understand the words, and the flute accompaniment being too loud.

Do you think I am taking my calling too seriously???

And for those that just googled "ward choir" and "calling" hoping to find some advice on music and not just some bizarre dream, I will list what we've done so far for your benefit.

"Amazing Grace" Arr. Craig Courtney
"Come Thou Fount" Arr. Craig Courtney
"I Feel My Savior's Love" Arr. K. Newell Dayley
"He Sent His Son" Arr. Barlow Bradford
"My Shepherd Will Supply My Need" Mack Wilberg
"A Child's Prayer" Janice Kapp Perry
"Hymns of Love Medley"
"Abide With Me" Arr. Sally DeFord
"Beautiful Savior" Arr. Sally DeFord
"As I Search the Holy Scriptures" Arr. Larry R. Beebe
"Angels We Have Heard on High" Arr. John Carter
"Still Still Still" Arr. Norman Luboff
"O Holy Night" Arr. Peter Stone
"What Child Is This?" Arr. Robert P. Manookin
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" Arr. Harry Simeone
"Carol of the Bells" Arr. Peter J. Wilhousky
"The Lord is My Light" Arr. James C. Kasen
"Consider the Lilies" Roger Hoffman, Arr. A. Laurence Lyon
"I Know that My Redeemer Lives" Arr. Lynn S. Lund
"Did You See Him in the Garden?" Shawn M. Stringham, Lynn S. Lund
"Surely He Has Borne Our Griefs" Joseph M. Martin

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What I learned from a stuffed penguin

My sister, brother-in-law, and her kids are out visiting before they move to D.C. I got to hang out with my niece a little bit the other day. I found a picture of my sister and brought it to my niece, asking "Who is this?"

"I don't know," she said.

"It's your mommy when she was little," I said.

"Oooooh, mommy!" she smiled. Then immediately: "Oh look, a penguin!" Her eye had caught a stuffed penguin about her size. She turned around and enveloped it in a bear hug. Then, "I yuv (love) this penguin."

Wouldn't it be great if we were all like that? I love my mom, and I love the next thing that catches my eye, too. "Oh look! A stranger walking down the street. I love that stranger."

That would be cool.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Two Years in Prison

I'm on a roll today! So, a little known fact about me is that I spent two years in prison. It was called Urbandale High School.

Teachers doubled as guards. When they were not teaching, they stood in front of door exits to make sure nobody left the cafeteria during lunch, or their classrooms at any other time of day. Everybody crammed body-to-body into the school entrance during blizzards because we were not allowed in the hallways until the morning bell rang, five minutes before our first class started. The result was pushing and shoving to get out of the cold.

We were not allowed to carry any type of food or drink (even water) around with us. We could only leave the classroom one at a time with a big hot pink pass around our necks if we needed to use the restroom or get a drink. My German teacher thought it was dumb and that we were all dehydrating, so she gave us extra points to sneak water bottles to school in our backpacks.

When we had bomb threats, we were not allowed to leave the building. Some kids had their parents write notes in on those days, saying they had some kind of appointment or other so that their kids would be allowed to leave. We'd all (even the teachers) look up at the clock as the time of the declared detonation approached, and breath a sigh of relief when nothing happened.

It was the administration we had to worry about more than the students. During my two years there, our Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer was arrested for dealing drugs (and worse) and our principal was fired for embezzling.

When I moved to City High my junior year, I was floored that they let us eat lunch outside on the grass. We could even leave campus for lunch if we wanted to. People roamed freely in the halls when they had open hours (there were no such thing as open hours at UHS Prison). In short, I felt like there was trust and freedom. Because there was trust, most people behaved themselves as if they were deserving of it.

Somniloquists and Somnambulists

They run rampant in my family.

Case #1: My little brother walked down the stairs. My mom went to give him a hug goodnight. He looked at her as if she were about to plunge a knife through his heart and ran up the stairs as fast as he could. My mom and I exchanged befuddled glances. Two minutes later he saunters down the stairs, cool as a cucumber. We watched him get a glass out of the cupboard, fill it up with water from the kitchen sink, about face, and turn the cup upside down, watching all the contents splash onto the floor. He then hurled the empty glass into the garbage can. He then proceeded to take off his shorts. He threw them in the garbage can and sauntered back upstairs, pantless.

Case #2: I woke up late one night, sensing a scuffle in the hallway and hearing my mom plead, "No! No!" over and over. I ran into the hall to see what was wrong. I found her wrestling with my other little brother in the laundry room. Apparently, while in his sleep, he has mistaken the laundry room for the bathroom. He was fighting with her because he really had to go, and she was fighting against him for obvious reasons.

And then there is me. I walked. I talked. There are all kinds of stories my parents can tell you. I think I have outgrown the walking, but sadly, I have no control over what I say in my sleep.

I think the best story I ever heard is from a former roommate. She was on a family reunion campout and they had canoed that day. Her uncle stood up on his sleeping bag which was right in the middle of all the other sleeping relatives. He started making rowing motions with his arms. Then he dropped the 'oar' and yelled, "We're sinking! We're going to have to jump!" His wife yelled, "No! We are not sinking! We don't have to jump!" But he didn't hear. He bent his knees, sprang up into the air, and bellyflopped right onto his wife. Nobody got hurt. ;-)

Back from Mexico!

I've been working part-time as the expedition coordinator for A Child's Hope Foundation since February. I just returned from my second trip to Mexico. There were over 30 volunteers this time around and I was a little worried about logistics and planning as well as how well the participants would mesh.

Everything was perfect. We had four meeting locations and everyone was where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there. There were more than 10 teenagers in the group and they were all nice and non-exclusive. The three older singles as well as the older married people got along really well too.

We were able to finish building the cinder block wall around Buena Vida orphanage, finish plastering and painting a building at Buena Vida, and landscape and paint a mural at Door of Faith. I was the concrete crew head again.

We made a $300 donation to Casa de Paz as well as playing with and doing crafts with the kids in the evening. I got my fingernails done by one of the orphans. I'm sure it's been more than 10 years since they've been painted. The Buena Vida kids are my favorites. Faviola is my girl. She recognized me from last time and wouldn't leave my side whenever I worked there. She helped me fill the holes in the wall we built with plaster, and then made me a concrete heart out of the extra material.

We had a great time rocking out in our two 15-passenger vans as well. My boss, Kent, is an awesome driver-dancer.

One of the volunteers there was a friend from elementary school that I hadn't seen for six years. It was really fun to chill with him and reminisce. He's probably the person I've known the longest but still stay in touch with of all my friends. He is about 6'6" and does a mean MJ Thriller dance.

My only worry was Tagalong, the stray dog that adopted us. He followed us around all day, even while we were mixing concrete, landscaping, plastering, and painting. He stood guard outside our door all night and was there when we woke up in the morning. The last night and morning he was nowhere to be found, which was very unusual. I am still worried about him.

Everyone is excited to come back, so I think it was a success!

I am planning one for LDS singles over 25 for 2011, either spring break or summer.

Monday, August 2, 2010

July 4th

So I took a little trip to visit my parents on July 4th.

I went to the front yard around 10pm and found my mom and dad sitting together on the sidewalk, very close to each other with his right arm crossed behind her and a stray cat wandering from one side to the other. My mom and dad were taking turns petting it while they looked over Utah Lake to see the fireworks.

It was precious. I just have to admit that I have the best family ever.