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Friday, December 31, 2010

Oh music--the bane and the love of my life.

This is a post I wrote a week or so ago for Notes about Music Notes I hope you like it. :)

Oh music--the bane and the love of my life.

When I first started the flute it was an absolute joy. It was a game: Can I get out those notes? How high can I go? "Mom, guess what! I played Jingle Bells today at school!" But it slowly transformed into a mountain of stress. How could I capture the pure joy of music I once had in Elementary and Middle School?

I am a music major at a prominent University in Utah Valley...graduate student even. I study flute performance and what a roller coaster it has been.

I started in sixth grade and didn't start private lessons until eight grade. Being the oldest child, my parents didn't "know the ropes." I was rather behind, in comparison with my college colleagues. But I loved the flute and was unaware of my lack of ability. Soon Elementary and Middle School flutists started dropping music for other activities. I emerged as one of the better flutists, but I was never "the best."

Me Junior year of High School. 

In High School it was no different. I auditioned for the top band at my school as a Freshman and didn't make it. Even as a Senior I was never first chair. But this isn't a whine-fest. Even though my musical career was marred with set backs, it was also lined with triumphs--personal triumphs and musical triumphs. I got an "I" at State solo-ensemble as a Freshman and Junior and a "I+" as a Senior. I was in All-State Orchestra twice and traveled with my High School band to Pearl Harbor and Normandy, France. I don't say these things to boast, but these were the turning points that led me to the fulfillment of a dream. It was only because of them that I gained the self-confidence needed for college. But I always had this deep, persistent fear that I wasn't the best.

Me in Normandy, France thanking a Veteran from the 101st Airborn. 

My college career was much the same, marred with set-backs and feelings of failure and with the occasional "personal victory." College was the time of my life where I lost much of my pure and simple love of music. I loved the songs I was playing. I loved the new techniques I was learning as methods of expression, but there was an undercurrent of self-doubt. I was never the "best" so how or why could I continue? I started to get nervous while performing. Flute became a Major more than a love. Of course I still enjoyed playing and performing, but it didn't have the same magic as when I was younger. Where was it? Many times I thought it would be found when I was "the best," or when I was first chair, or when I was in the top orchestra. And it wasn't.

After a Woodwind Chamber night performance with my flute, oboe, piano trio. 

Slowly (and yes, I have miles to go) I am learning that a master's in flute performance or a bachelors or even a successful high school career is not required for music to capture our soul and change it. Now, my love of music can be found in knowing that I am the vehicle through which music can change our souls. I love music and I love performing because music captures emotion which cannot be put into many ways music is the most abstract of all the arts. I don't have to be the best to have this ability. All that is needed is a pure love.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

'Twas the Sunday after Christmas

David and I went to my family's ward last Sunday, partially because Abby gave her first-ever sacrament meeting talk. It was really good! But she had to be convinced it was amazing. (Sound familiar?) It's funny how habits like that can start really young. The girl who is more confident than either Kellie or I at anything, the girl who is our little drama queen, and the girl who isn't afraid of answering questions at school or church got absolutely frightened by a little sacrament meeting talk.

Granted, who isn't afraid of your first talk? But I just find the irony interesting. Even a confident (and genuine) exterior may need reassurance. That's why a compliment can mean the world, even if they seem confident.

On another note, there was a very sweet elderly lady at church--the kind that usually wears corsages, especially on special occasions. But her corsage today was rather peculiar. Instead of a lovely poinsettia, or a holly bough, she wore a doll head. Yes, a doll head--just the head. Granted it was a Christmasy-Swiss doll head with lovely greenery around her, but it was still a doll head cut off just below the neck.

And the other day I discovered a white hair on my head. At least it is white and not a dismal gray. I envision my hair being pearly white with no hint of gray. It is long and flowing with a gentle curl. I have great hope.

Merry Christmas All.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An ornamental tradition

I have always loved my family's christmas tree. It's full of handmade ornaments and snowflakes and unique ornaments bought for each child. Now that David and I have formed a family of our own I have taken all of my ornaments and put them on my own tree. Admittedly, it is kind of sad not seeing it on my family's tree, but it is cool seeing David and my Christmas traditions start to bloom. I only have taken pictures of a few of my favorites.

I believe the crochet around the ornament was done by my Grandma Woodfield...or Great Grandmother Carlson. I'm not, correct me...

This ornament and the next one have been put up my me for as long as I can remember. It is reminiscent of happy, but frugal days of my parents while they were in Grad school, but I LOVE the homemade aspect of it. 

This ornament was given to me (and one exactly like it to Kellie) when we left Berkeley, California after my Dad graduated. It was to remember all of our happy memories. 

I think this ornament is so clever. I chose this one on one of my family's traditional Myrtle Beach vacations. Each kid has their own Santa-based shell. 

So there was a peek into one of my favorite christmas traditions that I can't wait to continue with David. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Christmas has got to be my FAVORITE time of the year--hands down. No school. It's a chance to recuperate from the high-stress of the semester. It's a chance to eat yummy food. It's a chance to make yummy food. It's a chance to give gifts (forget what I'm getting... I really just love the giving). It's a chance to spend lots of time with family.

There is no better time. And it snowed! David and I went for a walk tonight in a "winter wonderland." We even made a few snow angels. And there are some amazing sculptures out there. In front of one of the apartments in our singles ward was an igloo. YES, an igloo. With a roof and everything. And it wasn't small. Two guys could easily sleep in it. It's on 800 North if you want to check it out.

And per request (My mom and David's mom) here is a peek into our humble christmas decorations. It's kind of strange having a "first christmas as a newlywed." It's great, but here we are, starting our own traditions and gathering our first decorations. I love my mom's decorations and I someday wish to emulate it's magic. You can check out one of her blogs about them here.

I'm excite to see what our family's christmas is like in 5, 10, and 20 years down the road.

David slowly, but surely putting up the lights. Here, I am sure, is the beginning of a long tradition. :) And actually, the lights are a hand-me-down from my parents tree when they were young and spry. 

Putting up the ornaments. Look for a blog on this later...

Sorry the lighting is horrible, but these were a delightful and generous gift from David's mom. It is a nativity from Willow Tree. I love it!

The wooden nativity is childish, yes, but it was something to put up. I got this when I was 8 or so from my Grandmother Woodfield. Kellie has one just like it. The tile on the right was a wedding gift. 

Ah. My Swedish elves. I LOVE these people. I hope to find and acquire more of these someday. See the link to my mom's blog. 

This cute little guy was a gift of my Grandma Stoker when she was on her mission in Germany. 

These stockings are a tradition in David's family. And now I've been inducted! Completely homemade. 

And here is our humble, completed tree. Isn't it cute? It fits perfectly in our little apartment. I love it. :) 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Missionary

My sister-in-law Amy went into the MTC about a month ago and yes....I am JUST getting around to blog about it. She is (and will be) such an amazing missionary. She has so much enthusiasm and loves the gospel and what better combination is there? She is going to Taiwan Taichung and will be speaking Mandarin! She is already teaching at the MTC in Chinese...and has been since her second week out. Hopefully David and I can send a Christmas/we love you! package.

Isn't she beautiful?

Many of my girl-friends have served missions but for some reason I have never felt that strong desire to go. For those that have served, they have come back even more amazing than they were before. But this doesn't mean that every girl needs to serve a mission. It's completely up to them, and I  have had to learn this for myself. For years I had this itch at the back of my brain that I should have served, but I know now that I shouldn't have. The Lord directs our lives. I probably wouldn't have married David and certain health issues would have made serving as a missionary....well...unpleasant. The Lord needed me elsewhere and sometimes we have to trust our gut (aka follow the spirit) for. (Well, I guess we should do this always).

BUT I can not wait to serve as a missionary with David in our elderly years. I mean, I just want to stand up and yell to the sun "hurry-up!" JK. Life is going to be full of adventures in the meantime. :)

Here is all (ok, some) of Amy's earthly positions all packed away in a little box. How symbolic. 

Here she is getting ready to go! She was Really excited but there was a small amount of trepidation. Naturally. Before she was dropped off we had a delectable lunch at Creamery on Ninth Street Grill. 

Too precious. 

And she's off!




We love Amy!