Be Still My Soul, Sheet Music Ready!

Be Still My SoulThis is an arrangement I actually wrote a couple years ago, but realized only recently that it hadn’t been put on sheet music. How did I miss that?

But never fear! I’ve saved the day by putting the sheet music together and making it available on my website.

Anyway, let me know what you think!

My African Dream

My African Dream CoverOn my mission to South Africa, I had many dreams about home. I mentioned this to a companion once, and he said since the beginning of his mission, he hadn’t once dreamed about home. This surprised me, because I hadn’t once dreamed about my mission or Africa – my dreams were always about home.

Later in my mission I dreamed a few dreams about my mission, but the vast majority took place at home.

There was one dream that recurred many times in my mission in different forms. I was home for a short time from my mission. I had little time, because for some reason I was about to go back. Knowing this, I told my family all the incredible things about Africa—about the culture, the people, the traditions, the art, the music—everything that fascinated me about this incredible land. In the dream, I’d be telling them as much as I could in the short time I had. Then I would wake from the dream and realize that I had indeed returned to Africa.

About halfway through my mission, I had a dream that I’d returned home. It was the end of my mission, and I was home for good. In my dream I came to a striking realization that my mission was over. No more teaching, no more tracting, no more missionary work. I also had another shock when I realized that Africa was gone forever. No more teaching the word of God by candlelight in a broken shanty. No more beautiful African people, with their easy laughs and contagious faith. No more rusty golden sunsets or palm-cactus forests. No more walks down dusty, poor, villages with distant voices singing in perfect harmony from some unknown house, with pulsing drums carried in the wind. No more African stars glowing like nebulae in the night sky. No more red sand. No more Africa.

In the dream, the realization of this loss hit me dramatically. I thought about the fact that there were no people in the world like Africans. No culture that was more unique and beautiful. I adored this people. Oh, how I loved them.

In the dream I told everyone at home about all the African ways and the incredible African people. I told them about the amazing children of God who had learned and accepted the gospel, about their commitment and love for the truth. In my dream, I suddenly felt terribly sad to have left Africa. I wanted to keep teaching these people. I wanted to go back. I wanted to be a missionary in Africa for as long as I could.

Because of these powerful feelings, waking up was a joyous relief. My mission wasn’t over. There wasn’t anything I wanted more at that time than to be a missionary in the Johannesburg South Africa Mission.

Of course I missed my family, but for now, that was all I wanted, and I decided I would make my remaining year the best possible mission I could.

And I did.

After writing the memoir of my mission, I wrote a piano piece called, My African Dream, to remind me of everything I loved about Africa, and the mixed emotions from the powerful dream of coming home and leaving it all behind.

Two Types of Creativity: Which are You?

Everyone is creative, but everyone has different ways of showing it or expressing it. In this video, I talk about the two types of creativity, and how they effect your creative work, and your everyday life. Knowing your creative type is powerful when it comes to either approaching a new skill or overcoming writers block. So what about you? What’s your creative type?

And just a sidenote, the music is from my newest CD, Fly. It’s the piece called Mount of the EagleYeah, that’s shameless self promotion, but hey, it’s my blog, right?

The Hero’s Journey

I went to an awesome presentation by Christine Mehring at the Write Here in Ephraim writers conference this last week, and this class was amazing! I talked to Christine afterward to see if I could post the audio of it on my blog, and she said it was okay, so here it is!

She talked about the Hero’s Journey, and about archetypes in story. I found this image that reflects much of what was discussed:

Amazing stuff!

She also talked about archetypal characters:

The Hero: Usually the protagonist
The Mentor: The mentor also gives the hero some kind of help to take with them to help them in their adventure. They teach and give a gift.
Threshold guardian: “This is a bad idea, don’t do it.” Their job is to try to stop the hero
The Herald: Someone who comes and says, “You’re normal life is over, and it will never be the same.”
Shapeshifter: The one who seems to change sides or positions.
Shadow: What the hero could have been if the hero had taken a different path (the evil twin)
Ally: The friend, sidekick, or assistant
Trickster: Comic relief

In any story, you’re likely to find most if not all of these roles. It’s fun to plug in characters from my own books.

Essential Questions

Essential Questions

All of us are effected by cancer, whether by personal experience with it, or by a friend or loved one who’s been through it. The more I speak to or hear from victims of cancer, the more I’m convinced that cancer is not a matter of death, but a matter of life. Those who suffer with it find more meaning in life, more gratitude for life, and more love of life.

One of my duties at my job is to record speeches held, and in this one, a man with a severe case of cancer was invited to speak. The man is a friend of mine, and I was deeply touched by his words. I pray for him and his family, and I thank him for this beautiful life perspective he offered on this occasion.