Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mary, Did You Know?

Word on the street is Cee-Lo Green has a stunning rendition of "Mary Did You Know?" circulating the web. I actually got a chance to hear it at an adult learning class Sister Tauoa and I volunteered at this week, and again when a member played it for us at a lesson. I add my personal "Amen!" with the oohs-and-aahs to this out-of-character performance.

Back in my Deseret Book days, I was surrounded by amazing illustrations of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Unfortunately, I can't remember my favorite, but I do love the new Bible videos produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This screen-shot-edited photo is from a scene where the Wise Men bring gifts to the now toddler-aged Jesus.

I love the Mary in these videos. The actress really helps me ponder on what Mary must have felt and thought as she first heard the news that she would bring our Savior and Redeemer to this world. I often wonder, did Mary truly absolutely the events that would follow the birth of Jesus Christ?

Mary, Did you know

The Wondrous Gift is Given

Okay, I have repented. I solemnly promise that I will post weekly from now on, unless some dire circumstance comes up. It's Christmas season!! And there are so many songs that inspire me and build my faith! I love hearing songs about Jesus everywhere I go!  Like this one:

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary,
And, gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wond'ring love.
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth.

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is giv'n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heav'n.
No ear may hear his coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.
Isn't that awesome? It's a "wondrous gift"--a perfect gift--we get to enjoy year after year! We get to unwrap it again and again each day as we strive to follow the example Jesus Christ set while He was on the earth.

My companion, Sister Tauoa, says, "It's sad that most of the world only thinks of Jesus Christ around this time of year....we should remember Him every day!"  I agree. The Spirit of Christmas should continue January....February....March through November. Hey, even BlueBell, the best Ice Cream in the South, has "Christmas Cookies in July" flavor! If an ice cream company can do it, we can! ;)

So, what's your favorite Christmas song about the Savior? Why?

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Journey

Imagine my elation when one of my lifelong favorite and less well-known hymns was sung in LDS General Conference last month.  I remember flipping through the hymn book as a teenager and stumbling across "Does the Journey Seem Long?" and reading the words for the first time. The words spoke peace, hope, and courage to my heart.

Does the Journey Seem Long?
Does the journey seem long,
The path rugged and steep?
Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet 
As you struggle to rise
to the heights thru the heat of the day?

Is your heart faint and sad,
Your soul weary within,
As you toil 'neath your burden of care?
Does the load heavy seem
You are forced now to life?
Is there no one your burden to share?

Let your heart be not faint
Now the journey's begun;
There is One who still beckons to you.
So look upward in joy
and take hold of His hand;
He will lead you to heights that are new--

A land holy and pure,
Where all trouble doth end,
And your life shall be free from all sin,
Where no tears shall be shed,
For no sorrows remain.
Take his hand and with him enter in. 

Text: Joseph Fielding Smith Music: George D. Pyper

This week especially, I hope you and I remember to "look upward in joy and take hold of His hand" as He leads us to new heights.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's Up to Me to Be the Change

A song of my by JOSH GROBAN??

Yes, it is.

This is on his Christmas CD, but it definitely applies to our holiday tomorrow. We often seem to turn our hearts to thank our Heavenly Father for all He gives us once a year. As our beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson said, "To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude in our hearts is to touch heaven." My faith is living with gratitude in my heart for the many blessings He gives me each day.

Happy Thanksgiving! Count your blessings, and count them once again. I know I will be. :)

Thankful  by Josh Groban  (I recommend looking this up on YouTube.)

Some days we forget to look around us
Some days we can't see the joy that surrounds us
so caught up inside yourselves
we take when we should give

So for tonight we pray for what we know can be
and on this day we hope for what we still can't see
it's up to us to be the change
and even though we all can still do more
there's so much to be thankful for

Look beyond ourselves
there's so much sorrow
it's way too late to say
i'll cry tomorrow
each of us must find our truth
it's so long overdue

Even with our differences
there is a place we're all connected
each of us can find each other's love

So for tonight we pray for what we know can be
and on this day we hope for what we still can't see
it's up to us to be the change
and even though this world needs so much more
there's so much to be thankful for

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Do You Love Me?

In General Conference and yesterday at a missionary training meeting, I learned about the importance of showing our Savior how much we love Him.

In Elder Holland's memorable talk, "The First Great Commandment," Elder Holland recounts the history of the apostles who returned to fishing after the Savior left the earth, and His appearance to them on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus taught them that they were to continue to feed His sheep if they truly did love Him. Elder Holland stated, "So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the the Lord. We can't quit and we can't go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it."

Like many others, this talk really struck me. The Natural Man wants to be comfortable, to return to the known and familiar, and to be lazy. It's obvious that I can't succumb to the natural man as a missionary, but neither can we as disciples of Jesus Christ!

One of the shortest, simplest, and yet most powerful hymns in our LDS Hymn Book is "Love One Another." Watch and listen to this beautiful arrangement sung at a Priesthood session of General Conference last week.

As I Have Loved You
Love One Another
This New Commandment
Love One Another
By this Shall Men Know
Ye Are My Disciples
If ye Have Love
One to Another.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice

Sorry, I've been slacking on sharing the hymns and music of my faith and testimony. General Conference begins in TWO days, and I am so excited! This morning, Sister Hill were studying the commandment, "Follow the Prophet." We read and discussed how truth is always the same, even though the world may change, and that God has always called and ordained prophets to lead His people on the earth. Jesus Christ organized His church with apostles and prophets, who direct the church by revelation.

In these latter-days, The Lord called a prophet once again to lead His Church.  The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a living prophet. I know this is true.

We must have faith in our prophet and follow His teachings. If we do, we will be blessed. "Those who listen to and follow the counsel of living prophets and apostles will not go astray. The teachings of living prophets provide an anchor of eternal truth in a world of shifting values and help us avoid misery and sorrow. The confusion and strife of the world will not overwhelm us, and we can enjoy the assurance of being in harmony with God’s will" (Preach My Gospel, 75).

What an incredible promise!!  Click here to find out when and where to watch General Conference.

Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice
"Come, listen to a Prophet's voice, And hear the word of God.
And in the way of truth rejoice, and sing for joy aloud.
We've found the way the prophets went who lived in days of yore.
Another prophet now is sent, this knowledge to restore.

"The gloom of sullen darkness spread Thru earth’s extended space
Is banished by our living Head, And God has shown his face.
Thru erring schemes in days now past The world has gone astray;
Yet Saints of God have found at last The straight and narrow way.

"’Tis not in man they put their trust Nor on his arm rely.
Full well assured, all are accursed Who Jesus Christ deny.
The Savior to his people saith, “Let all my words obey,
And signs shall follow living faith, Down to the latest day.”

"Then heed the words of truth and light That flow from fountains pure.
Yea, keep His law with all thy might Till thine election’s sure,
Till thou shalt hear the holy voice Assure eternal reign,
While joy and cheer attend thy choice, As one who shall obtain."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Be Still

"Be still, and know that I am God." -Psalm 46:10

"Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God." -Doctrine and Covenants 101:16

Sometimes we just have to Be Still. We must stop and listen to the quiet, gentle voice of the Holy Ghost teaching us, directing us, or comforting us. (Pictures are of Reelfoot Lake here in Kentucky!)

Be Still, My Soul
"Be Still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev'ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

"Be Still my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

"Be Still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last."

-Katherina von Chlegel

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Faith is...

Faith is knowing the sun will rise, lighting each new day.
Faith is knowing the Lord will hear my prayers each time I pray.
Faith is like a little seed:
If planted, it will grow.
Faith is a swelling within my heart.
When I do right, I know.

Faith is knowing I lived with God before my mortal birth.
Faith is knowing I can return when my life ends on earth.
Faith is trust in God above;
In Christ, who showed the way.
Faith is strengthened; I feel it grow
Whenever I obey.

LDS Children's Songbook

Faith is the first principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To me it so complex, yet so simple. In the Book of Mormon, Faith is defined in this way: "Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore, if ye have faith, ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."

I am constantly working on my faith. In the same chapter I just quoted, Alma challenges readers to try an experiment with faith. Plant a little "seed" of faith in your heart: a simple desire to believe. As you see the results of that, it will begin to:

  • enlarge your soul 
  • enlighten your understanding 
  • be delicious to you (Alma 32:38.) 
As you continue to nurture your seed, it will grow into a tree that will produce good fruit. Regardless of where you are in your life, you can always increase your faith. I work towards the day when I have faith to move mountains. (See also: Jacob 4:6, Mormon 8:24)  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pioneer Children Sang.... they walked and walked and walked and walked...most of us know how the song goes about the Mormon Pioneers who trekked westward to the Utah Valley to have religious peace and freedom.

And children today still sing about these pioneer children. Who also apparently sang.

Fun, huh?

Sunday I had the privilege of hearing this song sung by the ward's primary:

You don’t have to push a handcart,
Leave your family dear,
Or walk a thousand miles or more
To be a pioneer!

You do need to have great courage,
Faith to conquer fear,
And work with might for a cause that’s right
To be a pioneer!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

When He Comes Again

My words this week are actually my mom's. I asked her to share with me her favorite song and why:

"Dear Daughter,
My favorite song is 'When He Comes Again.' I have always liked it as a child and even now because I often thought, what would the world be like when Christ came? I think of 3 Nephi when He blessed the little children and they looked into His face, and I always wanted to be one of those children. That thought never gets old, and I believe we all want to have that experience. It's not about the destination we all seek, but it is the journey and how we deal with situations that is more important because that will determine OUR Eternal Destination."

My mom has been through quite a lot on her "journey!" I have seen her positive attitude day after day, year after year, and she has inspired me to be a better woman and missionary. How beautiful will that day be when we can each individually look into our Savior's face and thank Him for giving us everything. I know that He lives and that His Church is on the Earth in its fullness.

When He Comes Again

I wonder, when he comes again,
Will herald angels sing?
Will earth be white with drifted snow,
Or will the world know spring?
I wonder if one star will shine
Far brighter than the rest;
Will daylight stay the whole night through?
Will songbirds leave their nests?
I’m sure he’ll call his little ones
Together ’round his knee,
Because he said in days gone by,
“Suffer them to come to me.”
2. I wonder, when he comes again,
Will I be ready there
To look upon his loving face
And join with him in prayer?
Each day I’ll try to do his will
And let my light so shine
That others seeing me may seek
For greater light divine.
Then, when that blessed day is here,
He’ll love me and he’ll say,
“You’ve served me well, my little child;
Come unto my arms to stay.”

Words and music: Mirla Greenwood Thayne, 1907–1997

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


The National Anthem.
We hear it before every baseball game. We sing it at the top of our lungs at karaoke parties. We hum it in our cars. We hear our kids practice it on the tuba for marching band. Last week, a 10 year-old boy named Jaxon told me it is his favorite song to sing. And he does a great job of it, too.

"The Star-Spangled Banner."
What is that? Yes, it's about the American flag. Our flag has 50 white stars, representing the 50 states of the United States of America.

According to, to spangle means to sprinkle or stud with small, bright pieces, objects, or spots. To Francis Scott Key, our 50 stars spangle our banner and represent life, liberty, and all that we stand for as Americans. Did you know he wrote two other verses? Here's the last verse, which reminds us from Whom we got this free land.

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blessed with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!"
And the star spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

After serving in Fort Campbell, I gained a lot of patriotism as I looked into the eyes of these men and women and saw, for a moment, what they saw when they left their homes and their families for "the war's desolation." I saw how alone they felt, how scared they were, how BRAVE they were, and how determined they were to give up everything they had, even their own lives, to protect the freedoms we declared 236 years ago: Freedom of speech. Freedom of the press. Freedom of religion.

If it weren't for freedom of religion, Joseph Smith would never have grown up in a burned-over district where many churches professed their truth. He would not have searched for truth and prayed to Heavenly Father for an answer.

Prophets of old saw our land in a vision when they arrived in the Americas: "We have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed....And if it so be that they shall serve [God] according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them." (2 Nephi 1:5-8).

The question for you all today is, How can we "spangle" our lives with bright things?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Choose the Right

Choose the Right
1. Choose the right when a choice is placed before you.
In the right the Holy Spirit guides;
And its light is forever shining o’er you,
When in the right your heart confides.

2. Choose the right! Let no spirit of digression
Overcome you in the evil hour.
There’s the right and the wrong to ev’ry question;
Be safe thru inspiration’s pow’r.

3. Choose the right! There is peace in righteous doing.
Choose the right! There’s safety for the soul.
Choose the right in all labors you’re pursuing;
Let God and heaven be your goal.

Choose the right! Choose the right!
Let wisdom mark the way before.
In its light, choose the right!
And God will bless you evermore.

My favorite part of this song is that we have the freedom to choose for ourselves! We can receive so many blessings if we do our part. Heavenly Father is willing and ready to bless us. One thing we can choose to do is read the scriptures.  I read the Book of Mormon every single day and do specific topic studies as well. The wisdom of the prophets of old truly do "mark the way before" us.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Losing a Friend, Gaining an Angel

I've been through a lot of different trials in my life, but I had never before experienced losing a friend or loved one until this week.

My childhood friend Ammon passed away Wednesday morning in an accident while hiking in Utah. Ammon Mark Latham and I grew up together, and I have so many fond memories of him: 
  • picking on each other in Sunday School
  • dancing at church youth dances (he always smelled like really clean soap)
  • coming over to my apartment in college and eating meals with my roommates
  • taking me out and buying me food
  • going over to his family's house before and after his mission
  • trying to keep in touch while he served in Brazil
  • looking through his mission pictures/videos with his family a few weeks before I left for my mission.

I was so shocked to hear the news. It wasn't real. You never realize the place your friends have in your hearts until you feel an unexpected emptiness when you lose them. I will have to wait a long time before I can see Ammon again, but I know that I will see him again.

God has a plan for each of us. Before we came to earth, we lived with Him, and when we die, we "are taken home to that God who gave [us] life" (Alma 40: 11). Ammon is an incredible incredible that his work is done on this mortal earth and Heavenly Father needs him in the Spirit World to continue to teach the Gospel and bless others. I know this. The Plan of Salvation is not just something to believe in because it brings peace, but it's a knowledge and an assurance that there really is more than this mortal life.
My companion lost her brother 9 months ago while on her mission. She has a great, eternal perspective on losing a loved one. She created a blog, to uplift and inspire others as she has dealt with this. She said,
"I know because of The Atonement of Christ that all of us will live again!! I know that I will see my brother again and that I will be able to live with him and my family for eternity. I know that if I listen to the Prophet's words and follow the commandments of God that I will live with my Heavenly Father and my family. I know that my brother will live again and that I will see him again. I am human and so I know that I will at times feel sad and miss my brother, but because I know God's plan, I have hope. I know good things are to come here on earth and when I return back to my Heavenly Father."
 I'm so grateful for my own testimony of Jesus Christ and God's great plan of happiness.  I know these things are true because The Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the Earth and is led by a modern prophet.

The song in my heart this week is "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good," LDS Hymns no. 293.
1. Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.

2. What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

3. When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.

4. For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior’s name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

You Can Make the Pathway Bright

You can make the pathway bright,
Fill the soul with heaven’s light,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
Turning darkness into day,
As the shadows fly away,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
You can speak the gentle word
To the heart with anger stirred,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
Tho it seems a little thing,
It will heaven’s blessings bring,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

You can do a kindly deed
To your neighbor in his need,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And his burden you will share
As you lift his load of care,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

You can live a happy life
In this world of toil and strife,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And your soul will glow with love
From the perfect Light above,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
Text: Helen Silcott Dungan, ca. 1899
Music: James M. Dungan, 1851–1925

"You Can Make the Pathway Bright" LDS Hymns, No. 228

What a great pick-me-up! This song always makes me smile and remember that my Heavenly Father loves me! This goes with my favorite scripture, Mosiah 2:41. Blessed and happy are those that keep the commandments of God! See also: Mosiah 2:17 and 1 Peter 3:8-12.  Have a sunshine day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

If Thou Endure it Well

When I was a teenager, I went through the hardest trials of my life thus far. There were many dark times when I felt so alone and trapped. Joseph Smith, Jr. also went through many dark months in Liberty Jail and pleaded with the Lord, "Where art thou?"

The Lord responded: "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." These words brought me so much comfort and peace. Rob Gardner composed a musical presentation on the life of Joseph Smith, and the song I choose to share is "My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee." It combines words from Doctrine & Covenants 121 & 122 and Isaiah 54, which are incredible passages of scripture I encourage you to read. For those of you who have been through or are going through a hard time (isn't that all of us?), remember that the Lord is aware of your needs and He will succor you and lift you.

There are a few different versions of this song going around, but the Squire Chorus is the best. Click the movie below or here:  See the full narration and performance here!

My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee

For a little while
Have I forsaken thee;
But with great mercies will I gather thee.
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee
For a moment.
But with everlasting kindness will I gather thee,
And with mercy will I take thee ‘neath my wings,
For the mountains shall depart,
And the hills shall be removed,
And the valleys shall be lost beneath the sea,
But know, my child,
My kindness shall not depart from thee!

Though thine afflictions seem
At times too great to bear,
I know thine every thought and every care.
And though the very jaws
Of hell gape after thee I am with thee.
And with everlasting mercy will I succor thee,
And with healing will I take thee ‘neath my wings.
Though the mountains shall depart,
And the hills shall be removed,
And the valleys shall be lost beneath the sea,
Know, my child,
My kindness shall not depart from thee!

How long can rolling waters
Remain impure?
What pow’r shall stay the hand of God?
The Son of Man hath descended below all things.
Art thou greater than He?
So hold on thy way,
For I shall be with thee.
And mine angels shall encircle thee.
Doubt not what thou knowest,
Fear not man, for he
Cannot hurt thee.

And with everlasting kindness will I succor thee,
And with mercy will I take thee ‘neath my wings.
For the mountains shall depart,
And the hills shall be removed,
And the valleys shall be lost beneath the sea,
But know, my child,
My kindness shall not depart from thee!

Check out more from Rob Gardner and Spire Chorus here:
Read more about Jesus Christ here:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

About This Blog

When I found out that I could create a blog as part of my online proselyting, I hemmed and hawed over it for a few weeks. What could I write about? What would be my theme? How could I possibly think of something deep and inspiring to say every time I posted?

Then I dug a little deeper. Sister Nordström, I asked myself, what ALWAYS inspires you? A warm feeling began to spread inside me, and I smiled and answered without hesitation, "Music."

In the last General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of those who are "In Tune with the Music of Faith." These saints: 
1. Love the Lord and His Gospel 
2. Continuously try to live and share His message, especially with their families
3. Are in harmony with the promptings of the Spirit
4. Have awakened to the power of God's word 
5. Have religious observance in their homes 
6. Diligently try to live Christlike lives as His disciples

In this blog I want to emphasize these characteristics as I share the songs and music that have inspired me and helped strengthen my testimony.  The things I share are very precious and close to my heart, and I hope that you will also share the music that has inspired you on this page.

One last note before I let you go: before my mission I had horrible stage fright! For years and years, I stressed myself sick if I had to perform in front of people, especially in a solo. However, since I have become a full-time missionary, that fear is gone. Yes, I still get butterflies before I sing, but the "performance" has been removed from the song and replaced with "testimony."  I have a firm testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and being in His Church, and I jump at the opportunity to share it in whatever way I can.

I've heard it said that "music touches feelings where words cannot."  So I now share with you....the music of my faith. :) 

Sister Nordström