Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Solitude Video

Feel free to repost as needed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Random Sherisms and Random Tunes

As I posted on my facebook page today...I am experiencing a rare phenomenon today.

Yesterday, my SIL texted me, reminding me that it was her baby's 1st birthday, and they were going to Cherry Hill to celebrate it, and wanted to know if we wanted to come. I said, sure, and enjoyed the opportunity to have some leverage to slave drive my children. Together, we cleaned out the toy room, cleaned the whole basement, all of the upstairs, all of the bathrooms, and did all of the laundry. About every 2 minutes, I kept saying, keep working, so we can go to Cherry Hill. The kids were so motivated. KJ even went out and pulled some weeds!

Then, my SIL texted me back and said she'd just found out that Cherry Hill costs $17 per person. Children 3-4 are $7 and 2 and under are free. B just turned 5 two weeks ago. That means for me and all of my kids to go to Cherry Hill for one day, which to be honest would really only be a couple of hours, would cost me $68. Really?!

My kids were amazingly accommodating when we decided not to go. Instead, we spend a couple of hours at the neighborhood pool and they were perfectly happy. I made the right choice.


So, now today, my house is clean! I better get the kids outside before it gets messed up again!


And I just have to brag for a minute. B (Peter) --I'm calling her B now, because her nickname as Peter has kind of fizzled. When she was a baby, and up until she was about 3 we called her Peter. We don't really call her that anymore, so now she's just B. Or Bea. But, I digress.

Up until this moment of her life, B has been terrified of water. Even when I give her a bath, it is a major fight to rinse the shampoo from her hair. I finally figured out that it's a fear of getting her eyes wet. I don't know where this came from, but she has always been afraid.

Last week, I put her in swimming lessons. It's the third year in a row that she's had swimming lessons, and we've just squeaked by, because she refused to put her face in. She's the only kid I know that can spend 2 hours at the pool and never get her hair wet. But after one week with this teacher, I saw B put her face in the water. I thought it was a miracle. Until yesterday.

We went to the neighborhood pool (instead of Cherry Hill). B usually floats around in her life jacket, and she asked me to take it off of her. She then proceeded so start swimming from me to the wall and back over and over. Folks, this is nothing short of a miracle. The fact that she was brave enough to try to swim by herself is miraculous. I applaud the awesome swimming teacher that gave her the courage to do it!


I'm having technological issues. These are big issues too! I need help from anyone with know how.

1) I can't get my iPod to sync the new music I've added to my itunes library. I've tried it over and over. I can't figure out why it won't sync. It will sync my photos, and apps, and all other stuff, but not any new music, including music I've purchased on itunes. I'm so frustrated. I've tried the Help tab on itunes and it's useless. Any ideas?

2) I'll admit my phone has been slightly abused. When I say slightly abused, there may or may not have been an incident in which the phone was left on my back bumper and thrown off to the side of the road as I drove away unknowingly. It's nothing short of miraculous (I guess that's the phrase of the day) that not only was the phone retrieved, but it survived.
I'm totally addicted to my crackberry. But, in the last 3 days, it automatically turns off my connections. And when I turn them back on, they just turn back off again. I can't make or receive any communications. And I can't access facebook. What am I supposed to do while I drive now? (You didn't hear me just say that) Again, I'm stumped. The bumper incident happened almost 4 months ago, so I'm positive it's not that.



I've been having a musical identity crisis lately. I feel like maybe I'm morphing from a new age pianist into something of a singer/songwriter.

In the past month, in addition to finishing "He Healeth Me", I have written a song that edges on kinda sorta rock ballad. It's called "Where I've Been" And when I play/sing it (yes it has lyrics!) I hear electric guitars and wicked drum solos in my head. I'm currently hiring band members. Applicants may apply in my comments sections.

I've also written another song called "Generations." It's about my Great Grandma Ruth. I woke up in the middle of the night with the lyrics to this song swimming in my head. And I am 100 % positive that Grandma Ruth with sitting with me at the piano, writing this song with me. (She was something of a composer, herself). This song has a kinda of contemporary country feel to it.
When I played it for my Mom and my sister, and my aunt and my Grandma, they all cried. And so did I. To me, that means it's pretty good.

Last Monday, I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I had awaken from a very disturbing, realistic dream, the only part of which I remember was driving down the freeway, and dead bodies and severed limbs and heads were everywhere. Morbid, right? I couldn't get back to sleep. So, I got up and wrote some thoughts. From that experience, came a song called, "Dreams." It's haunting, and kind of Jazzy.

I've thought about posting the lyrics to all of these songs for feed back. Do you want to read them?

I have a million other ideas crowded my already over occupied brain. I've been writing like crazy, just trying to get everything down on paper before all of my thoughts are washed down the drain that is my rapidly failing memory.

So, I'm not sure what kind of artist I am these days. Maybe a little of everything.
I'm going to head over to my brother's little mixing machine, and record a demo. And maybe start putting on a few shows, get some feedback before I spend another life's savings making an album. At this point, I'm not sure what to do with all of the creative chaos going on inside me.


I have pictures. Lots of them....from my anniversary weekend, and our family vacay, and some cute stuff of my kids. But, I'll have to write a picture post one of these days.


I'm going to try to not sweat to death in this crazy heat.

This weekend's plans:

Toy Story 3
lots and lots of pool time
baseball games
kid's sleepover (maybe I can talk them into sleeping outside on the tramp)
a bridal shower
a baptism
a baby blessing
an early morning run
dinner at a splash park in Draper with some great friends and their families

What are you doing this weekend?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Question of the Day: Do You Think Blogging Has Changed You?

Do You Think Blogging Has Changed You? How?

I've been doing some serious soul searching. And I've been trying to prioritize my life. When I came across the part of me that blogs, I had to take a step back and really think. Two years ago I was all fired up about blogging, and the sense of community, and all of the great women I'd gotten to know through it. I think I may have gotten carried away.
I'm an all or nothing type of person. When I give myself to something, I give it all. I do cherish the relationships I've made and the opportunity I have to have an outlet with my blog.

But, I wonder how my real life relationships have changed because I blog. There have been times when I've neglected my family because I was reading blogs. There were times when every single experience in my life was spent figuring out how I could turn it into a funny post. I think I lost touch with reality a little bit.

So, yes, I think blogging has changed me. I've become more honest, and open. And I've forgotten how to filter myself (or maybe I never knew...the jury's still out on that). I've lost my ability to discern between things that should be kept private and things that are OK to be published publicly.

So, for me, I will still be around, but not so much. Excuse me, in my absence.

(insert RESET button here)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

He Healeth Me

I've been talking about this a lot lately, but when you pour your whole heart and soul into something, it tends to be on your mind.

Sometime in February, I got a call from my friend, Elisa. She said she went to high school with this guy named Braden Bell who had written a book, and who wanted a song written to go along with it. She said she'd told him about me. (I love it when my friends network for me).

The first few thoughts that flooded my mind were something along the lines of this:

Me? He wants me to write a song? He has a PhD in musical theater, and he wants dumb old me to write his song? I was really intimidated. But, I agreed anyway, because who I am to turn down an opportunity like that. Then, I got an email from him. He said he wanted to release a book trailer with the song, and that the book would be released in June. Again, thoughts of panic swept through my head.
I'm supposed to write a song from scratch, and I have to do it in less than 3 months? I don't know how I could possibly do it. Despite intense insecurities and deep fear that I'd completely fail, I accepted the challenge. So, Braden emailed me the lyrics to the song, and the book's manuscript. I read the forward in the book, then printed out the lyrics and set them on my piano.

For days, I just stared at the words, doing nothing. Searching, finding nothing. I tried out a few melodies, all the while, emailing back and forth with Braden, asking questions, getting his input. At one point, I thought to myself the melody I'd come up with sounded a little familiar. Then, I realized somehow it'd turned out to be a variation of someone else's song (Hold On from the Secret Garden). So, I scrapped it and started over. I actually walked away from the piano for a few days, needing to reset.

And I prayed. And prayed. And I think Braden was praying, too.
Because one day, I sat down at the piano. Looked at the words, and started playing. And the melody just came. And the chord progressions found themselves. I wrote the basic tune in one sitting. Okay, okay, I was a vessel for writing this song, but I have no doubt that every note and lyric of this song was inspired by God.

Since the initial melody was written, we've done dozens of revisions. We originally had a medley of hymns at the end of the song, and we had to scrap them because of licensing problems. I had to change the key a few times, because I originally wrote the song in G. And it was really high. Because in the book, the character singing this song is a soprano. So, I wrote it for a soprano. Thanks to feedback from wise and honest friends, I chose to transpose the song down a few keys, and it ended up in the key of D.

I do believe that the final product is what the song was meant to me. It is beautiful.

Then, came the task of finding a singer to record the song. Braden had a girl in his ward that he'd had in mind, but of course, she lived across the country from me, and we couldn't find a way, logistically, to get together to record it. I'd already decided it couldn't be me. I love to sing, and I know I have strengths in singing, but I've never been comfortable with my solo voice, so we decided we needed to find someone to sing it. Then, one day, I was talking to my friend, Veronica. I knew she'd had a lot of experience as a singer, but it just hadn't occurred to me. And she offered to give it a shot. We got together to run through the song, and practice. As soon as I heard the beautiful, pure tone of her voice, I knew she was the one. Plus, she has some serious networking skills, and knows like everybody, so I knew she would be a great person to have on my team. We worked through changes, and restructures, and she was amazing to learned everything over again. And so great to work with. One thing I have to say about Veronica, she is incredibly talented, but she is not a diva. She takes direction incredibly well, and took each of my suggestions to heart. I also value her suggestions.

On a whim, DeNae offered to write the violin obligato. I'm so grateful, she did, because it is beautiful and really adds to the song. My incredibly talented brother, Mason, recorded the violin part.

We went to Greg Simpson to record. It was a great experience. He was awesome to work with, and gave us a lot of really great tips, since we're such novices at this.

So, are you sick of me talking, do you want to hear the song?

Here is the trailer for The Road Show. The song is cut a little, so if you want to full version, click over on my side bar and download it! Sheet music is also available. Feel free to post the video on your blog or facebook page!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Casual Blogger Conference

This space reserved to blog about the awesome conference (after I've had time to get hazmat here to clean up after the tornado that hit inside my house while I was gone).

For the past several months, I have watched my best friend, Elisa, stressing, eating, sleeping, and breathing this major endeavor she has taken on. I've listened to her ideas, and stood in absolute awe, watching her take on, and excel at this ginourmous task. She is seriously one of the most amazing people I've ever known. And all of her hard work paid off.

Here are Caroline and Elisa, literally buried in swag.

The conference was amazing! Nay, AMAXING!

I learned so much--like how to make lip gloss---all by myself; and how to get google to find my blog on searches (although, I'm afraid that no matter what I do, people searching for me will always find my arch-nemesis--that other SherriE Shepherd--first. Boo.)

I also attended an amazing panel on blogging through depression, and was reinforced that I'm not alone.

I was taught that I really do actually have something to write about, even though I made sure that everyone in DeNae's storytelling class, and Annie's writing classes knows that I'm stupid and I can only think in pictures. (if I can ever figure out how to translate the pictures into words). Maybe by next year's conference they'll invent a way to plug a usb port from my brain to my computer and you can just see my thoughts.

Veronica, DeNae, Crash (Debbie) and Me

Annie, Becca and Me

I met some wonderful ladies, many of whom up until now only lived inside my computer. You are all so beautiful and awesome and funny in person!

(L-R) Veronica, Becca, Annie, Me, Kristina

I was offered a bed at Becca's home, even though we'd only met in real life just the day before. What an awesome lady she is! I was allowed to crash in Veronica's hotel room, (she is one of my favorite people, btw) and stayed up til 4 in the morning, stuffing swag bags and getting to know some of my favorite imaginary friends in real life. It was great to finally meet Caroline, and Tenille, and Tracy, and Julie. And so many more, I can't even list you all. Also got to hang out with some of the Sassy's (I feel so special, like I sat at the popular girl's table),

l-r, (I'm sorry, I can't remember your name!) Vanessa, Becca, Annie, Veronica, Me, Kristina, Quinn, Emily

and Shelle, who was "just the photographer" but who is absolutely amazing. (All pictures in this post are courtesy of her awesomeness, except the ones I took, and the ones I stole from some of your blogs. Thanks, btw)

Rachel, me, and V

I love these girls!

Me and V, I absolutely adore this girl!

I watched an awesome concert by Mindy Gledhill, and Cameron Rafati. They are both incredible musicians, and I am a believer!
I'd say my only regret was not playing at the conference. I had several people ask me if I was playing, and showed their disappointment when they found out I wasn't. Thanks, you guys, for showing me your support. I see it as a hugely missed opportunity.

But for those of you who got my CD in your swag bag, please, please, listen to it, and blog about how much you loved it. Tell your friends! And don't forget to use your coupon from your swag bag to download Solitude for only $7!

It was an awesome weekend, and I had a great time. Thanks everyone!