This last week has been kind of a doozy on my emotions. Lucy sang her heart out in SIX MCO concerts. I spoke at the “Arise Conference.” I got to spend some time with my parents and the five oldest in our family to celebrate my mom’s birthday. It was Earth Day (seriously kind of emotional for me!). Some of our favorite kids got married. My sister figured out a way to help Lucy with some deep piano worries. And last but not least, our whole stake (group of church congregations) got switched around. Not a little, but dramatically. Which caused all kinds of changes including my “calling” responsibilities and Dave’s too.

It was a lot in one weekend. But I was all fine and good until yesterday. That’s when the floodgates opened because somehow all those thoughts and feelings melded together and surfaced at the same time. Was it the severe lack of sleep? Was it because I am about to have my first grand-baby and my hormones are out of whack? (HA! but honestly my heart literally jumps every time I think about that!) Was it just so much gratitude and worry all mixed together my heart just couldn’t quite handle it? I don’t know, but I just had to have a good bawl about it all yesterday morning. I couldn’t stop crying! That doesn’t happen very often, (the bawling part) but sometimes that just feels good to get it all out, you know what I mean?

Anyway, there is too much to say in one post. Too many things to pour out into this little part of the internet in my vulnerability. So I’m just going to start today with the first reason for my bawling:

There is so much to be grateful for

Sometimes I just stop in my tracks and wonder if my heart might explode with gratitude. I feel that gratitude weighing on me very heavily sometimes. This time in particular my gratitude was for these reasons (and one big one I’ll talk about tomorrow):

  • Lucy has music in her life.
  • People are good enough to put their hearts on the line to create ways (a conference in particular this time) to shine light.
  • I love my mother.
  • We live on this incredible Earth spilling out with so much beauty.

The MCO Concert

Lucy puts her heart and soul into her singing group called Millennial Choirs and Orchestra (MCO). There are five different locations, but the one here in the desert is the biggest. There are 1,200 youth in this choir. I didn’t type that wrong, there are SO MANY KIDS! Plus an orchestra and an adult choir.

Each year I’m surprised when Lucy asks for me to sign her up again. Among those 1,200 youth, she only knows a handful, and really, that handful is just casual acquaintances. They are so nice to her, but sometimes I think it must be really lonely to be in that sea of people. Even if she happens to pass by someone she slightly knows, she can’t see them. Even if she tried to make a friend with the person sitting next to her at practice one week, she wouldn’t recognize them to say hello the next week. She can’t see well enough for that (she can’t even see me in the same room as her nowadays, let alone recognize a new face).

Yes, I’m surprised when she asks me to sign her up, but then I remember how she is almost floating sometimes when she comes out of practice. They teach those kids songs about Christ. About love. They teach them to love music. And that makes us both pretty emotional. That’s what draws her to be there and do do that, even if she doesn’t know anyone and she may feel lonely sometimes. She feels God in her life.

That’s what music can do.

We have a girl in our neighborhood we carpool with (thank goodness), and although she’s younger and sings in a different section, she’s so sweet to Lucy! I loved watching Lu hold her elbow for guidance as they went in to get ready for the first show.

I sat there in the balcony this time around just weeping as I watched my girl sing her heart out in that sea of others (ok, I guess I did cry more than once this last week…). Lucy doesn’t just sing. She feels that music so hard that she has to move with it, her whole face tilting up to Heaven at the end of lines.

Can you spot her down below, like for fourth one in from the left, her chin rising up in jubilation at that song?

I felt so grateful for the Stewart brothers who had the idea for MCO. So grateful they expect excellence and don’t put up with any slacking off! I felt so thankful that Lucy now has song after song that we sing in church (and those we don’t) tucked away in the drawers of her heart. How I hope they will reinforce that heart to be even stronger as the tough times come.

A little crowd of supporters

And I was so so grateful for this little crowd who came with us to be her biggest supporters:

Makes me tear up again looking at these pictures. It takes a village to raise a child I tell you!

The Arise Conference

The worst part about public speaking is trying to put thoughts together in my fractured mind that’s always going a million miles a minute. But the BEST part is that you learn so much in the process!

I got to ponder and pray and think through the topic they gave me to speak about: Understanding Your Unique Purpose.

And also the best part about something like this is that you get to meet the fellow presenters:

…and all the awesome women who come. (Wish I had more pictures of them!). Some day I’ll post all about what I said, because finding purpose really matters!

My Mother’s birthday in the midst of Earth Day glory

As soon as I finished the day at that conference on Friday (had to miss the Saturday session), I whisked myself up to Flagstaff to meet up with my parents, four of my siblings and one in-law to celebrate my mom’s birthday, which happens to be ON Earth Day.

part of the “super bloom” en route

Which is so appropriate, since my mother is a nurturer just like the Earth.

My parents have this deal where they can do “house swapping” once in a while, and this time they found this pretty funky “castle” house so close to me here in the desert and the five oldest kids, along with Jonah’s wife Aja were able to make it to join in the celebration.

My mom doesn’t love attention, but she took it all in stride!

We gathered with as many family members as possible via Zoom:

(I forgot to take a picture when more people were on there, dang it!)

We spent the day exploring Sedona (one of my favorite places ever) in honor of the birthday girl and also Mother Earth.

I love her with ALL my heart:

Raced back to catch three wedding receptions that night, as well as a gathering put on by one of my favorite blogging friends later that evening:

So proud of this girl as she arrived home after her SIXTH concert, many sleepless nights, so much hard work:

We gave her a “tunnel celebration” to welcome her home and congratulate her on a job well-done.

And I was overcome all over again with gratitude for all the awesome people who support this girl.

A Mother Earth Hike

My sisters stayed here an extra day after my mom’s celebration and Jo and I took them on another little hike to celebrate this Earth of ours.

Can you even believe how beautiful the earth is?

I think even the texture of dried up dirt is incredible and creates art:

We went to go pick up Jonah & Aja’s kids for them so that we hang in Josh’s classroom for a little bit:

The best teacher in all the land.

Phew! Those are just a few of the little things that happened over the weekend that made me so filled up with gratitude. For those people. And for the nurturers for my girl. For the Earth that cradles us all so beautifully.

Setting the stage for all that emotion.

The second thing that made me so emotional has to do with Lucy and the piano, but I’ll get to that tomorrow.

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  1. I absolutely agree that sometimes it feels good to have a good cry and let all the emotions and gratitude and everything else come out physically. It can be so renewing. Two of my fav quotes on this:

    “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of the earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before—more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
    -Charles Dickens, Pip, Great Expectations

    There is a sacredness in tears. . . . They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.
    -Washington Irving

  2. It’s interesting to read your reasons for wanting to be in a choir (mostly social/friendship) and then read what Lucy is into (music/spirituality/belonging)! It’s fun to read how she is finding her way. Also, your nature photographs are spectacular. Do you take your camera with you on the hikes (as opposed to phone)?

    1. Yes isn’t it so interesting how different people look for different things? I’m so thankful Lucy looks for the music and spirituality and FEELS it so much. It’s a beautiful thing.

      I just take my phone on hikes, I think it has a pretty good camera.

  3. I see that Jesus is my Friend is listed on her concert program – Is that the iconic Sonseed song, or a different one? It’s pretty great to imagine a choral rendition the Sonseed song!

    1. I wondered the same thing when I saw it on the program! It ended up being a different song though! You’re right, it would be awesome to see a choral rendition of that one!!

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