Nearly 40 years ago, a Mormon and a Methodist fell in love. They were both devoted to each other and to God in their own way. They pledged to build a strong family based on faith, love, music and humor. Life was full of ups and downs, laughing and crying, baseball and singing (but no singing or crying during baseball), and attendance at two churches. We lived in New York, and I was the oldest child. I came to love the pastor at my Dad’s church, and the warm feeling of welcome at my Mom’s church. I especially loved singing the hymns and going to youth activities growing up. As a teen, I began to recognize God’s hand in my life and learned how to feel His love for me.
As I grew, I felt the deep urge to explore the world and get out on my own. I decided to attend college far away from home, at BYU in Utah. Granted, I was living in a dorm. But I loved feeling like I was on my own. I loved the friendly atmosphere, and loved all my roommates. And after a few years, I found someone else to love. After falling on my head at Extreme Air-Sports (lesson learned: don’t jump onto a Velcro wall upside down), I required physical therapy. Wouldn’t you know, there was the cutest guy at physical therapy during warm ups. We dated for a while and then got married.
We had four children, a girl and three boys. They each brought a unique kind of joy to our lives and we thought our family was complete. God had other plans. One day, when my youngest was 5 years old, I had the most startling and clear feeling that we should have another baby, and it would be a girl. Surprised and confused, but willing, my husband and I prayed a lot to be sure of God’s will for us. Our feisty baby girl joined us about a year later, followed by her friendly little brother. We are now a family of eight! Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would have a wonderfully large family. We are loud. We are crazy. We forget things. We sing at the top of our lungs doing chores. We pray each morning together. We watch out for each other. We bug each other. We forgive and ask forgiveness. We don’t love each other perfectly, but we sure try.
And I’ve sung through it all. Music has followed me and led me everywhere. I’ve sung lots of other people’s songs and written some of my own. Music has opened the windows of heaven to me, flooding my mind and heart with glimpses of God’s majesty and love. When I write songs, I ponder about God. When I sing, I bear witness of Him. God has led me to my greatest blessings and I want to always raise my voice in praise (as long as I can still sing in tune).