Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Aunt Candy July 8, 1954 - June 29, 2011

My dear Aunt Candy passed away this morning, and all I can think of is the talk my father gave at his mother's funeral 7 years ago. I hope he doesn't mind, but I am going to quote some of his talk, paraphrased a bit.
"Longfellow described our departure from life in this way, 'The grave is but a covered bridge leading from light to light through a brief darkness.' Of the metaphors for death that I have heard, that of a bridge is as good as any.
"On this side of the bridge, on Thursday morning, word went from mouth to ear among Candy's family and friends, 'Did you hear? Candy is gone.' Just so, on the other side, word quickly passed from spirit to spirit among the many friends and family there, 'Did you hear? Candy is coming."
My dad wrote this poem when my maternal grandmother died, Candy's mom. I have saved a copy of it and love it.
Setting Sail
A tall ship is sailing today with the tide,
Her bow is set to the sea.
A Crowd goes down to the pier to watch,
Among them, my father and me.
Her lines are cast from their moorings
at the sound of the captain's cry.
Her gangplank is pulled from the loading dock,
and her banner is raised to the sky.
We watch as the breeze fills her canvas.
We see mainmast and anchor and keel.
The crew is manning the rigging,
and the master is at the wheel.
She grows small as she sails far away to the east,
where the sun meets the ocean at dawn.
And when her great sails can no longer be seen
I say to my father, "She's gone."
"Gone where?" asks my father as he kneels by my side.
"She's not gone but to you and me.
The horizon was not that great ship's goal,
Nor the ocean her destiny.
"That ship is bound for a distant shore
Where others like you and me
Are waiting to welcome her back again
from her voyage across the sea.
"And when they see her white sails arise
from the waves in the west, far away,
They'll shout, 'Here she comes,' and run to the pier
and salute as she enters the bay.
"No son, her sails are still filled with the wind.
She's at mainmast and anchor and keel.
The crew is still manning the rigging,
and the master is still at the wheel."

Loved ones are left here with the memory of a great woman, to which no one can be compared, but loved ones are on the other side welcoming you home and I'm so grateful to have that knowledge. To know that you are there, you are home.
I love you Aunt Candy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"He's Really Picky..."

Ok so this is something I have heard quite a bit recently, not just in regards to me but my friends and others. People say this like it's a negative thing, like people are being too harsh, or too judgemental, or whatever. Here are my thoughts on being "picky".
I am picky too, and the older I get and the more I date, the more picky I become. As I go through my dating life, get my heart broken, break hearts, what have you I have learned a lot about what I actually want, what I won't put up with, what I'll settle for. That is being picky, and I feel like in this most important decision I'll probably ever make I SHOULD be picky.
There are plenty of guys that I have gone out with that are great guys, have so much going for them, but they're not for me for whatever reason, I am being picky and that's ok.
As all girls do, I have throughout my life, made a list of the things I want in my future husband. My list now is entirely different than it was when I was a teenager or even in my early 20's, and it's a lot more detailed, but one thing I have noticed is they are more qualities of a man, and hardly physical. There are a lot of things I am willing to overlook and there are things I won't do without.
I am going to be picky and I hope whoever chooses me is picky. I want to know that I am what they want, not what they are willing to settle for. I don't want to end up with someone that I am so happy about but feel like they settled for me. I want to know that they WERE picky, and I fit the mold of what they want.
Also something to keep in mind, guys not being interested shouldn't be that big of a deal. I wish I wouldn't take it so personally, but the fact of the matter is, there have been a lot of guys that I am not interested in, but it doesn't mean I don't respect them, or think they will be great husbands or anything, there was just "something missing", which is LEGITIMATE! That feeling is real, it happens and I daresay there is nothing you can do about it.
So girls, if someone says to you, "Well he is just being too picky." It really doesn't matter the real meaning is, he's just not interested in you. For whatever reason he's not feeling it, and you don't want to be with someone who is not feeling it, I know I don't. I want to be with someone who can't wait to see me again. Who thinks about me when we're not together. Who feels LUCKY to be dating me. One thing on my long list of wants, is to be with someone who wants to be with me. So BE PICKY!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Belated Father's Day Blog

Ok so I have the greatest father in the whole wide world. Of that I am certain. I have a very close relationship with my Poppa and I love that. I tell him just about everything, he knows about every guy I go out with, what happens when we go out, what we talk about, how he hurt me (as per usual) and what not. The "how he hurt me" talks are always a little hard on him I can tell, he never really knows what to say and often asks me, "Have you talked to your sister about that?" but just talking to him always gives me comfort.
One of my very favorite memories is from when I was a little girl. I would always be sent to bed, and my dad would be down in the basement watching TV. He always laid the same way, on his side with his legs bent in a way that would leave this little nook behind his legs just my size. There would be nights I would have a bad dream or just couldn't sleep, and I'd come downstairs with my pink blanket and I'd climb into the little nook behind his legs and watch TV with him. If my mom would come down, I'd hurry and cover myself with my blanket and my dad would act like he didn't know where I was so I wouldn't have to go back to bed. Obviously the blanket was a dead give away, but my mom would play along, I'd often fall asleep there and wake up in the morning tucked cozily in my bed.
As mentioned before I talk to my dad about everything. I think what started that was when I was 11 my dad was called to be bishop of my ward. So when I was in Young Women's once a year I would have a Bishop's interview. With my dad it was often sitting on the front porch, or in the living room, but it would just be a conversation between father and daughter, he'd ask what was going on in my life and we'd just talk. I grew accustomed to that and once he was released I still found myself telling him all of what was going on in my life. I LOVE those conversations.
He is my strength. I grew up always hearing about what an example his father is to him. How he wishes he could be the spiritual beacon that his father is. He would be happy if he "was half the man his father is" and every time I would hear him say something like that I would think, "That's how I see you." I see my father as the spiritual leader I hope my husband will be. The kind of Father I hope to have for my children. The kind of husband I could only wish for. Every guy will be compared to my father, and so far NO guy has measured up. My dad raised the bar pretty high.
The thing I love the most is how much my Poppa loves my mom. They moved to Malaysia in March of 2009 and since then it seems their love has grown so much. For the first time in their 36 year marriage they only had each other to rely on, and they have grown so close it's amazing to see. My mom will go out of town and I can just tell they ache to be apart from each other. That is the kind of relationship I pray for.
Finally, the clincher. There is one statement my siblings and I have heard time and time again from him. This one statement has us coming home when we know we've done something wrong. Tells us we can talk to our father about anything and know he will always be there for us. Let's us know that no matter what happens to us or because of us we always have our parents and our family. I heard it every time I got in trouble, every time I felt ashamed, every time I felt I let him down, and that statement is, "There is nothing you could ever do that would make me stop loving you." That statement has given me so much comfort throughout my life and I know that it's true.
I love you Poppa!!! Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Birthday Blog For My Brother

Today is my brother Dane's birthday and I was thinking about stories I could tell about him... This will be random I'm sure, but these are just some things that came to my mind.
When I was a little girl my dad used to tell my sister and I stories when he would tuck us in. He called these stories Goosie-Gapas. He had a gift for telling these stories, and the only other person who was capable of telling a story worthy of being called a Goosie-Gapa was Dane.
I LOVED these stories so much. They were always about two little princesses named Jennie and Julia, and we would go on these adventures that would always have doors to go through, one door would have a fire breathing dragon guarding gold and silver and the other would be some sort of castle or dungeon or something equally exciting.
I remember several occasions where Dane would have a chore he needed to do. He'd say, "Julia, if you empty the dishwasher for me I'll tell you a Goosie-Gapa tonight." Of course I would jump at the opportunity. I would finish emptying the dishwasher and be so excited for Dane to tuck me in, and then he'd come to me and say, "I asked mom if I could tell you a story and she said it was too late and that I need to go to bed... sorry." I fell for this a number of times.
I remember another time Dane ran away from home. I was so scared and worried that he'd never come home. Dane is 6 years older than me, and I have no idea how old I was at the time, but I was so scared. I remember crying and praying before I went to bed that he would come home. Later that night I remember waking up to Dane being beside my bed telling me everything was ok, that he was home and I didn't need to be scared anymore. I don't know if he remembers that, but I will never forget how happy I was to see him, and how comforted he made me feel.
Now as adults, Dane and I are really close. Our personalities are so similar, we find all the same things funny, and REALLY funny. We tease each other relentlessly and always laugh so hard together. I talk to him about all my dating woes, but more importantly he asks. He wants to know, and cares about what's going on.
Since my parents have been gone in Malaysia he has been my priesthood leader. He has been my example, and I have used him for priesthood blessings. Also an experience I will never forget.
I am so lucky to have the family I have. To have the relationships with my siblings that I have.
Dane I love you and I hope you have an amazing birthday.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Juvenile "Delinquents"

Last night I had the opportunity, with my group, to go sing for a group of kids that are in a correctional facility. We were asked about a month or so ago, and I was looking forward to it, but didn't really know what to expect.
We were asked to do a fireside, but mainly non-denominational. The music that we sing in my group is Southern Gospel, Bluegrass A Cappella. The man in charge told me we can sing about Jesus and God, but not to talk about being LDS.
When we got there it was just a group of girls, they all wore the same thing, khaki pants and green shirts, or green sweatshirts. They were all mainly Hispanic and they were ordered here and there to help set up chairs and move furniture to make room for our sound equipment. They asked permission for things like going to the bathroom, or even looking in the mirror. They sat patiently waiting for us to get set up and for the boys to arrive. I couldn't help but wonder what their lives were like. Steve (the branch president) said they were all there for committing some sort of crime, nothing like murder or anything, but theft and stuff. He said they all come from horrible home lives, broken families, single parent families, what have you.
I didn't know how to talk to them, I didn't know what to say, so I found myself standing in the back until it was our time.
Only about 7 boys came, the rest weren't able to because of "bad behaviour".
We went up and sang our first song with no introduction. They were so excited. When we finished the first song one of the boys says, "You guys are like the temptations, but with a girl." A girl raised her hand and when we called on her she points to me and says, "You have a really good voice." Then we sang another song. They loved it, they were getting so into it. After every couple of songs they would ask us questions about our weird harmonica (also known as a pitch pipe) how we met, if we have trained, where we were from. They were so interested in us.
It was probably one of my favorite shows with the group. We had fun up there, we interacted with them, we laughed, by the end of the show we were friends with these kids and I just wanted to stay there. After the concert we talked with some of the kids, and a couple of the girls sang for us. They had beautiful voices and my heart just melted as they sang. I wanted to stay with them, I wanted to teach them. To tell them that they should stick with it, and all that they were capable of. I wanted better for them.
The boys left and I wanted to hug all of them. They were SO sweet, so respectful and so kind. The girls wanted to keep talking, and asking what kind of music I liked, what was my favorite to sing, how long I have been singing. I just sat there thinking, I need to work with these kids. They need people who love them and believe in them. I want to be one of those people.
I left a different person than I started. I felt bad that I hid in the back before, not knowing how to talk to them, I was intimidated by them. These sweet kids. I didn't even give them a chance. How many people do that to them on a daily basis? Is that why they are where they are, because people like me see them and turn the other direction? I don't want to be that person anymore.
What a humbling experience. One I'm sure I will never forget.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Best Moment of My Life.

This story is a favorite of mine to tell. This is what I describe as the defining moment of my life.
I am a singer. It's who I am, it's what I do. It took a lot of years to get to the point where I could confidently stand in front of people and sing and feel like I could do that without error.
I started lessons when I was 11 and for years and years I had no confidence, I didn't know how to pick songs for my voice, I didn't know how to sing. I loved it, but I didn't know what I was doing and it wasn't good. I had a lot of performances that I left in tears, a LOT of performances I will never forget the embarrassment. Auditions gone awry.
I would watch the girls that got the lead roles in the musicals with so much envy. I would listen to soloists and long to be able to sing like that. I remember how it feels to just wish so much that I could do that. But I wasn't good enough and I knew that. I auditioned for EVERYTHING but there was always someone better. Someone who would outshine me, and then I would watch them do what I wanted to do so badly and know the better person was chosen. I remember sitting in audiences for talent shows that I didn't make and just ache knowing how badly I wanted to be up on that stage (much like how I feel now when I watch American Idol or The Voice auditions)
My senior year of high school I auditioned for the senior talent show. I had auditioned for 11 different things in my high school career and never made anything. The musicals were over, the choirs were over, this was it. This was my last chance to sing in high school, my last chance for people to learn that I could sing, at this point I had more confidence, I knew I could sing if someone would give me a chance. I sang God Help the Outcast. What a perfect choice. I didn't actually think I would make it, I had nothing in my past to make me think it would happen, but I remember that day walking into the cafeteria and Meg Damron running up to me to tell me I made it. The list wasn't posted yet, but she was there when they chose the people who made it, and I made the list. I couldn't believe it and I was automatically nervous.
I didn't have anything extraordinary to set me apart. I did not stand out. I think people knew who I was, but how do you not after 6 years of school together. I was incredibly self-conscious and this could either be really good for me, or destroy me all together.
The day of the performance came. I don't remember much else from the show, but I remember what I was wearing, I remember my sister doing my make-up, I remember doing my hair, I remember picking out the clothes I would wear. Everything that morning had to do with the fact that I was about to stand in front of about 2500 people and sing. My first real performance.
I remember standing back stage as Terry Sachs did stand up comedy for his talent. I remember the SBO's sitting on a couch announcing who would be next as part of the skit. I remember them saying I sang like an angel and wanting to throw up. They called my name and I walked out on the stage. The lights were blinding, but I could see my sister and parents in the front row with my voice teacher. I remember the red light of the video camera my sister was holding. I remember hearing my friend Nick Pyles screaming "Julia you're my hero" and I remember hearing the music start.
I started to sing, and it went silent.
I felt good, I was singing well. All I could think was, "Please don't swallow mid word" I couldn't get a big enough breath, I could feel my knees shaking. I finish the song, "... The poor and unlucky, the weak and the odd. I thought we all were, the children of God." Silence, for what seemed like forever. Then screaming. Deafening applause. The lights dim and I look out at the crowd I see the bewilderment of the crowd, the shock on their faces as they rise to their feet shouting... for me. Before I know it I am standing in front of a full house of my peers giving me a standing ovation. If I wasn't so completely in shock and so so nervous I would have been sobbing. Even thinking of it now I am overwhelmed at how that felt. My sister was crying, my parents were crying. For what seemed like the first time, I was seen. That was the moment I decided I needed to be a singer. I knew I had to do that for the rest of my life.
No performance since then has matched how that one felt. I have sang to bigger crowds I have sang better, but that is what I think I will always look back on as the best show I have ever been a part of. I will never forget the little details of that day. I'll never forget the kids coming up to me in the hall and telling me they had no idea I could sing. I'll never forget what it felt like to be seen, for the first time, to have people know who I was. It's been almost 10 years since that happened and I will never forget the tiny details of that day.
Whatever happens in my music career, it will always be due to that performance. My defining moment.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Music Therapy/Song Ammo

I have to say, there is something about writing songs that is so therapeutic. I love writing songs and I feel like the songs that I have been writing with my friend Jaycie, are pretty dang good, and have been really well received.
One issue I have is that a lot of my songs are being compared to Taylor Swift. It makes sense, we write really similarly. We both tend to write about dudes. Making fun of them, pining after them, wanting to be in love with them, what have you. I guess I shouldn't complain, she is incredibly popular and is making lots of money, so bring it on. I just hope the people that compare me to her actually like her and her music.
Anyway I digress.
Being in my late 20's and being single makes for a lot of dating stories, (as if that isn't painfully obvious in this blog) I am a girl who needs to talk about things. Needs to tell stories and needs to write things out. I write in a journal on a regular basis, I also write in a notebook, mainly things that I don't need to be read by anyone else and don't necessarily want to remember, I write the blog, and now I write songs.
I think songwriting is the most therapeutic, and I think it's because I can turn what was a painful situation into a joke. I can take something that broke my heart and turn it into a beautiful melody. I can send my questions out into the world without having to actually put myself out there. And I've learned that people relate to me and what I've gone through, I sing my songs and people tell me they've been there, they understand. Not only that but it's amazing to learn that MY songs help other people get through their own heartaches.
On a less serious note, I think one of my favorite parts of songwriting is the "song ammo" part. I get mistreated by a guy and I turn the situation into a song that calls him out on his crap. I have a few songs like that, and I daresay they are my favorite.
I just wrote one recently called Prince Charming. Basically it talks about how much I hate charmers. I hate the guys that tell you what they think you want to hear, instead of what they actually feel. The guys that are SO FREAKING OVER THE TOP with their compliments and everything just to get out of you what they want and then leave you in the dust wondering what in the world just happened. I am a confident girl, but I know I'm not the most beautiful girl that any guy has ever seen, I know I am not the perfect girl, so don't tell me that, I don't believe it, therefore it's not really a compliment.
Anyway I was pretty frustrated about that until I wrote this song. I wrote it, and it makes me laugh and I love to sing it, and each time I do, I care less and less about the guy/guys it's about.
I did date a guy once who knew I wrote music and a blog about dating, and he asked that he never be turned into a song. That is a valid request, and I haven't turned him into a song, but I can't promise that to all guys. So all I ask is guys, if you don't want a song to be written about you in a negative light, then don't be jerks. :)
Until next time... Adieu!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Flashback Friday

I am the youngest of 5 children. 3 older brothers and an older sister, in that order. There is 7.5 years from oldest to youngest so we are all pretty close. (Though that wasn't always the case)
I love having three older brothers, but one thing I have learned about being a baby sister is that brothers are creative. They think up ways to torture their siblings that, I'm almost certain, sisters wouldn't think of.
When I was young both of my parents worked and my oldest brother Justin was left in charge a lot. The brother who would grab my toes and pull on them until they popped. The brother who would flick the bottom of my feet so hard that to this day leaving my feet exposed is a bit of a fear. The brother who would pin our (mine and Jennie's) arms with one hand and tickle us with the other to the point that if he would even go near Jennie and pretend that he was going to do that she would burst into tears, and I'm pretty sure that is why she is claustrophobic to this day. Yes that brother was who was left in charge. Smart thinking folks.
One winter day Justin came up with a plan, a challenge among the siblings. The challenge was you were supposed to run around the front yard as fast as you could, run around the van, and then run into the backyard. Passing through the gate was the finish line. We were to go oldest to youngest, and Justin was going to time us.
Side note- We used to have a jungle jim in our back yard with a big, wide, white slide. We had taken the jungle jim apart and kept the pieces of it under the deck. -End Side note.
I waited my turn patiently as my older siblings took their turns racing. I had my plan all worked out, and I was going to win. I see Jennie disappear beyond the gate and I wait for them to tell me to go. As soon as they say, I run as fast as my little legs can carry me, I'm sure I'm making good time. I am nearing the finish line so I take all the energy I can muster to BOOK IT into the backyard. As soon as my foot crosses the finish line I somehow lose all control of my body. My legs go FLYING forward and I go hurling onto my back. Completely disoriented I look into the loving faces of all four of my older siblings just LAUGHING hysterically.
Little did I know, Justin had taken the remains of the big, wide, white slide and placed it on the ground right beyond the fence and covered it in snow making it invisible and deathly slippery.
At least all of my siblings had at least one person they got to watch endure the agony after they did. Not me. I just got laughed at. Justin was the real victor, got to watch all four of his younger siblings slip and fall in I'm sure was a glorious fashion, if they looked anything like I did. Ah the joys of being an older sibling.