Count Your Blessings


Count Your BlessingsA week ago, Jenni and I learned that our baby, due March 2014, had miscarried. I can’t express in words the kinds of emotions I’ve been experiencing for this last week. The closest thing I can think to say is that our hearts are broken, but our faith is strong.

 

I’ve been trying to come up with the appropriate arrangement of Count Your Blessings for several weeks, and before last week, nothing I tried felt right. I attempted numerous times to come up with something that worked for me, but it just wouldn’t click. If I can’t get a spark in a piece, I can’t publish it. I just can’t bring myself to do it. If there’s no spark, the arrangement doesn’t leave my computer. That’s what was happening with this one.

 

Then we got the news.

 

The first day, I took the day off to be with my family. When things like this happen, the most precious things in life suddenly become even more dear to me. The next day wasn’t easy, but I knew I had to keep going. When I sat down to make another attempt at “Count Your Blessings,” it came so fast and effortlessly that I’m confident I had help. It was so different than all my previous attempts, but this time, it sparked immediately.

 

As I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve never struggled to record my voice as much I did with this piece. In order to even get through it, I had to force myself to not think about what I’d just been through. Have you ever tried to force yourself not to think about something? Let alone something this big?

 

Anyway, it got me thinking about the words a bit. How exactly does a cheerful, optimistic person (like I’m always striving to become) deal with tragedy? How do I see the upside, or silver lining, in the loss of a loved one? How do I find happiness in that?

 

Well, one way, at least, is simply this: to count my blessings. I have the most loving, beautiful wife in the world, and the sweetest, funnest kids in the world. I’ve been blessed with an absolute certainty of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the eternal nature of the family and life itself. I’m so blessed.

Sheet music and MP3 for this piece are available on my website.

50th Sheet Music Piece

Rock of AgesWhile I’ve been writing music for over 17 years, this week marks four years from the time I put out my first piece of sheet music. If I had known the incredible response the sheet music would have, I would have started putting it out much sooner!

I just wanted to offer my deepest thanks for all you have done to help bring about my dream to become a full-time musician. It’s your purchasing the sheet music that’s done it. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every time you download another piece, it keeps food on my family’s table, and keeps me writing more music.

We’re still working to get above the poverty line (the cliche of the starving artist has become the story of my life), and the road isn’t easy, but your support is a much bigger encouragement than you can imagine. I love being able to bless the world with the gifts God has so generously given. It’s a calling that can be challenging, overwhelming, and so incredibly rewarding. I don’t perform in public very often. You’re the ones carrying the music out to the world. You’re the ones making a difference in the lives of those who hear you play. You’re touching hearts and blessing souls. What a beautiful thing!

Today also marks my 50th piece put to sheet music. If you haven’t been to my homepage lately, take scroll down and look and the fun mix of sheet music listed. I used to get teased at the MTC because I loved the hymns of zion so much. That was almost 15 years ago. I think the Lord was shaping my musical heart even back then.

So again, I just wanted to say thanks. Let’s keep making the world a better, more beautiful place.

O My Father

O My Father

One of my favorite quotes is by President Ezra Taft Benson. He said, “Nothing is going to startle us more when we passthrough the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know ourFather and how familiar his face is to us.” (“Jesus Christ—Gifts andExpectations,” in Speeches of the Year, 1974, Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1975, p. 313.)

I believe that. God is not a distant being. He’s a loving, intimate, and kind Father. He teaches, guides, chastises, and loves us all. Sometimes, like tantruming three-year-olds, we forget that, and think He must hate us because we’ve caused ourselves pain.

But in quiet moments, when we listen, we can hear His voice, whispering that He loves us, and wants to help us become more than what we are. And I think He’s whispering it a lot more often than we may think.

The sheet music and MP3 are available on my website.

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou My VisionI don’t know about you, but I sometimes find myself frustrated in my efforts to become all that my Father in Heaven wants me to be. There are so many voices, so many messages, so many possible answers to the everyday questions I’m faced with. It’s not that I’m struggling to decide whether or not to do what’s right, but I’m always struggling to know which thing is most right.

Should I be playing with mykids, or studying my scriptures? Should I fix my house or call a neighbor to see how he’s doing? Should I clean myhouse, or spend time with myspouse? Should I do another hour of work to support my family, or help my wife make dinner?

The toughest choices are often between good and good, and though the questions may sound trivial from a distance, they can really be really challenging in the moment. I sometimes wish I could get a quick, straight, yes or no from God. But He doesn’t usually work that way. He’s not just trying to tell me what to do, He wants to help me become what He needs me to be. Because of that, he let’s me decide. He’ll let me know if there’s something important He needs me to do right now, but otherwise, He wants me to make the choices.

Still, I think it’s always good to seek His will, even if the answers don’t come, so that when He does have something specific for me to do, I’m ready to do it. And the more I heed the direction He gives, the more I’ll learn to see as He sees, do as He would do, and feel what He feels.

Lord, be my eyes, words, thoughts, wisdom, home, strength, protection, armor, shelter, power, treasure, joy, and heart. Be exactly what you are: my everything.

You can listen to this music or get the sheet music by visiting mywebsite: http://chashathaway.com/music/sheetmusic/be-thou-my-vision-sheet-music

Scripture Study Made Awesome: Over 100 Unique Scripture Study Methods

scripture study made awesome_2x3Have you ever had times when scripture study was tedious, boring, or non-existent? Most of us have. But you’re in luck. Those days are over.

In Scripture Study Made Awesome, released TODAY, you’ll find an original list of over 100 fun, interesting, and creative ways to study the scriptures, with encouragement to help you begin a life-long habit of enjoyable daily study of the word of God. You now have more resources than ever before to discover the study methods that will work best for you in your individual situation.

Starting today, your personal and family scripture study will forever be awesome.

You can order it online through Cedar Fort, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon it should be available in Seagull Book and Deseret Book.

Please tell everyone you know about this. Pass the word, Facebook it, pin it, forward it, let’s get the word out and help everyone have a great scripture study experience every day!

Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee

Jesus the Very Thought of TheeDownload “Jesus the Very Thought of Thee,” Sheet Music or Free MP3

Thoughts have power. They shape our character. They shape our existence. They shape the nature of our being. No wonder we’re encouraged to watch our thoughts, guard them, and direct them for good.

We sometimes picture our minds as being storage spaces, and that we’re constantly sifting through files, gathering, grouping, and organizing information into something that will benefit us in a practical way.

I don’t see thoughts that way at all. Thoughts have no boundaries. They’re not limited by space, time, or possibility. They are like an energy cloud of infinite space and potential. They can create, reform, and change the course of universes. They influence everything, because everything we see is from the paradigm of our thoughts. And we, in physical form, effect the things we see.

But, some may argue, you can’t effect someone on the other side of the world just by thinking about them.

I disagree. You most certainly can. Think about that person enough, with real depth, and you’ll reach a point where you can’t not act out physically on your thoughts. Those thoughts leak out in your actions, words, and eyes, and in your interactions with other people. You are the embodiment of your thoughts. You can change yourself by your thoughts. You can change the world with your thoughts. The more you think on a thing, the more that thing comes into being. Eventually, things happen to effect that one person on the other side of the world. That’s the power of thought. Thoughts determine choices, and choices change the world.
Given enough time and attention, a single thought can alter the course of the world.

How much more effective then, is your thought of the creator of everything you’ve ever seen.

Jesus Christ is a man—a perfect, resurrected, omnipotent, and powerful man, but He is a man. He has thoughts, and His thoughts govern the universe.

And if you, also a human being, think on that eternal being, and connect with Him, your influence over the universe expands beyond anything you might think on your own. The very thought of the Savior, who both created and bought the universe, empowers you to do so much more than you could otherwise do.

You may long for his presence. You may picture His face, the very embodiment of eternity. You may think of His life, His choices, His sacrifice. You may think of His perfection, atonement, and His eternal glory. You may think of your own experiences with Him. You may think of Him daily. But whatever you do, think of Him. The very thought of the Savior has power to shape the universe, for you, for your loved ones, and for the whole human race, now and forever.

God Be With You Till We Meet Again


God Be With You Till We Meet AgainWere this the only state of existence—even life itself, filled with such vibrance as it is, would be a tragedy.

But our true selves, the essence of our nature, the spirit that invigorates our flesh, was born of eternal matter, to parents more lasting than the universe itself.

We live on.

We sometimes call death a passing. If death is a passing, it’s like passing a friend in the hallway. First he comes into view, and we acknowledge him, then he passes. He isn’t gone. He doesn’t cease to exist because he is no longer before us. He passes, walks on, lives on.

We sometimes call death a journey. If death is a journey, it’s like a journey from one room into the next. The friend isn’t far simply because she is in the next room. She is still close enough to hear and see, except for a thin wall; a wall that sometimes better resembles glass than concrete.

Some call death a separation. If death is a separation, it’s like stepping back from an embrace. Without physical contact, we may experience loneliness. But even eye contact, one of the most powerful connections, can be maintained at a short, if temporary distance.

Perhaps we’re uncomfortable with goodbyes because deep down, we know there is no such thing. Were it not for the Savior Jesus Christ, all goodbyes would be final. But because of Him, they no longer exist. And for those who choose His path, the reunions will be glorious.

Sheet music and MP3 available on my website.

Joseph Smith’s First Prayer

You can get the sheet music or free MP3 of this music on my website.

From Joseph’s 1832 account of the first vision:

“At about the age of twelve years my mind became seriously impressed with regard to the all-important concerns for the welfare of my immortal soul, which led me to searching the scriptures, believing, as I was taught, that they contained the word of God. Thus, applying myself to them and my intimate acquaintance with those of different denominations led me to marvel exceedingly, for I discovered that they did not adorn their profession by a holy walk and godly conversation agreeable to what I found contained in that sacred depository.

“This was a grief to my soul. Thus from the age of twelve years to fifteen I pondered many things in my heart concerning the situation of the world of mankind, the contentions and divisions, the wickedness and abominations, and the darkness which pervaded the minds of mankind. My mind became exceedingly distressed, for I became convinced of my sins, and by searching the scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatized from the true and living faith. And there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament. And I felt to mourn for my own sins and for the sins of the world, for I learned in the scriptures that God was the same yesterday, today, and forever, that he was no respecter of persons, for he was God.

“For I looked upon the sun—the glorious luminary of the earth—and also the moon, rolling in their majesty through the heavens, and also the stars shining in their courses, and the earth also upon which I stood, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of heaven and the fish of the waters, and also man walking forth upon the face of the earth in majesty and in the strength of beauty. . . . And when I considered upon these things, my heart exclaimed, ‘Well hath the wise man said it is a fool that saith in his heart there is no God.’

“My heart exclaimed, ‘All these bear testimony and bespeak an omnipotent and omnipresent power, a being who maketh laws and decreeth and bindeth all things in their bounds, who filleth eternity, who was and is and will be from all eternity to eternity.’ And when I considered all these things and that that being seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth, therefore I cried unto the Lord for mercy, for there was none else to whom I could go and obtain mercy.

And the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in the attitude of calling upon the Lord, in the [15th] year of my age, a pillar of firelight above the brightness of the sun at noon day came down from above and rested upon me, and I was filled with the spirit of God. And the Lord opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord.

And he spake unto me saying, ‘Joseph, my son, thy sins are forgiven thee. Go thy way, walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments. Behold, I am the Lord of glory. I was crucified for the world that all those who believe on my name may have eternal life. Behold, the world lieth in sin at this time, and none doeth good, no not one. They have turned aside from the gospel and keep not my commandments. They draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me. And mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them according to this ungodliness and to bring to pass that which hath been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and apostles. Behold and lo, I come quickly, as is written of me, in the cloud, clothed in the glory of my Father.’

And my soul was filled with love, and for many days I could rejoice with great joy, and the Lord was with me, but could find none that would believe the heavenly vision.”

(Joseph Smith, “Kirtland Letter Book” [MS, LDS Historian’s Library], 1829–1835, 1–6; the original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar have been altered to conform to contemporary usage). Also cited in the Presidents of the Church Institute Student Manual, pages 5-6.

Love at Home

Love at HomePresident David O. McKay said, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother”

(quoted from Theodore Hesburgh, Reader’s Digest, Jan. 1963, 25; in Richard Evans’ Quote Book [1971], 11).

“Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.”

-Bible Dictionary, “Temple”

“Arthur Gordon shared this story in a national magazine:”

“When I was around thirteen and my brother ten, Father had promised to take us to the circus. But at lunchtime there was a phone call; some urgent business required his attention downtown. We braced ourselves for disappointment. Then we heard him say [into the phone], ‘No, I won’t be down. It’ll have to wait.’

“When he came back to the table, Mother smiled. ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know.’

“ ‘I know,’ said Father. ‘But childhood doesn’t.’ ”

—Arthur Gordon, A Touch of Wonder (1974), 77–78

I would love to have a shirt that says, “Sorry, I can’t come. My kids are growing up that day, and I don’t want to miss it.”

A happy, loving home life involves living each day to the fullest. This is an account related by Thomas S. Monson:

“Elder Monte J. Brough, formerly of the Seventy, tells of a summer at his childhood home in Randolph, Utah, when he and his younger brother, Max, decided to build a tree house in a large tree in the backyard. They made plans for the most wonderful creation of their lives. They gathered building materials from all over the neighborhood and carried them up to a part of the tree where two branches provided an ideal location for the house. It was difficult, and they were anxious to complete their work. The vision of the finished tree house provided tremendous motivation for them to complete the project.

“They worked all summer, and finally in the fall just before school began, their house was completed. Elder Brough said he will never forget the feelings of joy and satisfaction which were theirs when they finally were able to enjoy the fruit of their work. They sat in the tree house, looked around for a few minutes, climbed down from the tree—and never returned. The completed project, as wonderful as it was, could not hold their interest for even one day. In other words, the process of planning, gathering, building, and working—not the completed project—provided the enduring satisfaction and pleasure they had experienced.

“Let us relish life as we live it and, as did Elder Brough and his brother, Max, find joy in the journey.”

Thomas S. Monson, “Treasure of Eternal Value,” Liahona, Apr 2008, 2–7

The sheet music for this piece is available on my website.