Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Music in My Heart

Many of you may not know this about me. But music, up until I got married, was a HUGE part of my life, and who I was. I grew up in a home where it was important and meaningful. My mom writes music, mostly church music, and one of my fondest childhood memories is falling asleep to her singing or playing the piano. I remember her recording her music. I remember going to her best friend, Wendy's, house and they'd practice together. My mom's brother, Jim, plays the guitar like a dream, and I remember him playing and singing also. I remember how joyful and peaceful and safe I felt inside when my heart was full of good music. My dad's side of the family was very musical also. When we cousins got older, we sang together as a family often, and we even formed a Croxford Family Orchestra for awhile. We all loved it. My aunt, Fay, is in the Tablernacle Choir. She's always made music a special part of family get togethers. I really feel that music brought our family closer together.
When I was younger, I took a few piano lessons. I taught myself after that. I signed up for the school band in 7th grade and played the flute. Then I tried the oboe for awhile. It was a lot harder, but I loved it. I wanted to try many instruments. My friend had a piccolo and we'd take turns playing the piccolo part. I took guitar in high school. That was the hardest instrument for me to learn but also the most rewarding. My cousin, Tim, and I took voice lessons for about a minute and it was fun. I remember how stunned my voice teacher was at my range of notes, the strength in my voice, and the flexibility and control I'd had on my own without lessons. He had high hopes for me and my singing abilities. I loved to sing, so that was very special to me.
Since the time I was 4 I was always in a play of performing group of some kind. I was the youngest cast member of our stake play, "Fiddler on the Roof." I was a part of Singing Connection for years, and I really enjoyed it. As I got older, I got involved in ballet for a bit, which eventually evolved into figure skating (which remains one of my all-time favorite passions). That brought me so much solace. I loved skating to the music, expressing myself and really feeling the music. I didn't really enjoy the performing or competitiveness of it as much as the challenge and self-expression. The rink and some music was where I went to figure things out. Dancing and skating still does that for me.
When I was a junior, I quit the volleyball team to be a part of an amazing performing group (singing and dancing) called Clayton Productions. (If anyone has kids interested in this kind of thing he is hands down the very best and comes highly recommended!) We travelled all over performing and learning about the power of music.
Looking back, there are many, many more experiences and things I did throughout my life that had to do with music. I can't believe how big a part of my life it was. Then I got married and Pouf! it wasn't anymore. Partly because I didn't have time, partly because I didn't really have the connections or ability to keep it up, and partly because it didn't mean as much to me anymore. I don't regret it. Music is a very personal thing to everyone, and at that point in my life there was no room in my schedule or my heart for it. But lately it's been on my mind, and slowly creeping into my heart. I've had several experiences in the past few weeks that have brought it front and center in my thoughts. I got the opportunity to teach some of the young women in our ward a song and dance that they performed at Evening of Excellence. It was so easy for me, and so fun. It was a fun, special way to connect with those girls and give them some good, wholesome fun. Then, I saw my cousin, Tim, and we got talking about singing for a split second. Have you ever had a tiny moment like that awaken something inside of you? It was amazing. I've thought about it ever since then. They my mom called and expressed her interest in getting back into music soon. That got me really excited. Then, this past week, I got an amazing opportunity to drive some of the youth in our ward to a New Year's Celebration that was being taped at the Conference Center. It was one of the most amazing, unique things I have ever seen the church put together. The spirit there was so strong and amazing. The youth performing were absolutely unbelievable. I am still in awe of it.
Then, late on night it hit me: music is one of my callings in this life. I have been praying to find a purpose. I know we're all here to get married, raise good children, share the gospel, etc. But I have always felt and known that everyone here on earth is unique and different, and has their special gifts and talents to share. I wanted to know what mine was. I've always known that one has something to do with animals, but I've never felt like that would be something I get too involved in until my children are older. But music never crossed my mind. I feel so overwhelmed at the intensity of my feelings toward my new purpose in life. I am excited and overwhelmed at where to start. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing, only that it has to do with music. So it's time to dust off the instruments, start singing, and see where it leads me. I am so excited to have music back in my heart! I missed it. What a special, amazing way to feel of the spirit. Music touches my heart almost like nothing else.

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