i am grateful for singing (not the same as karaoke…that post will be coming soon)

I have always loved to sing. Choir in elementary school was one of my favorite classes. I sang in talent shows and around the house. In middle school, I participated in our school musical, The Boyfriend (I played the French maid). And then in high school, I was part of our a cappella choir. Choir was one of the highlights of high school for me. I loved it so much.



C&J Christmas Concert

C&J Christmas Concert 2 When I got to college, I decided to audition for one of BYU’s four choirs, Women’s Chorus. I think it would be appropriate to mention here that while I LOVE to sing, I might be the worst auditioner (yes, I know that’s not really a word) of all time. Like, the worst. I get incredibly nervous. There’s something I’ve never liked about needing to “prove myself”. So, by some miracle (or the fact that the choir conductor knew what she was looking for), I made it past the first round of auditions (the soloist round) into the group auditions.

Well, in a group, I am fine. My talent is not in soloing. I’ve never had the voice quality to solo. But I am an amazing blender. So, once I made it to that round, all was well and I made it through. I loved it so much. That didn’t keep me from missing class every so often (not sure why), but really, it was so fun. And then I’d hang out after class and listen to the Men’s Chorus.

Women's Chorus 2

Women's Chorus

In fact, while in the Women’s Chorus, I had the opportunity to sing during one of the world wide meetings for the women in my church. And, besides it just being a cool opportunity, at the time, my sister was on a mission for our church in Washington D.C. and she’d been gone about nine months at that point and she got to see me singing on a big screen on the other side of the country.

If you watch this video, you’ll see me on the far right aisle at about 1m25s three rows from the bottom.

So, fast forward about *cough* 10 or 15 *cough* years, and I’ve been missing singing a lot. Shortly after moving to Tokyo, I was asked if I would lead the music in our main church meeting each week, which I’ve been doing since last August about. As part of that, I promised myself I would try and sing in church (like, in a small group or on my own) and so, I’ve done it twice now (including today). And, while I am not in the greatest vocal condition these days (I’m quite out of practice), it’s felt amazing to both be singing again and to be pushing myself out of my comfort zone a little.

With that, I am posting the two songs I’ve sung. One was a run through (when I sang in church, it was with my friend Teresa) and the other is from today, with the same friend and one of the cute girls at church who’s part of the youth group. And in fact, the song we sung today, I Need Thee Every Hour, was a song that I got to sing in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake as part of a missionary choir when I was in training before heading off to Switzerland for 18 months. And in fact, it was a pivotal point for me during that time. Music has such power and I have always felt the closest to God while singing.

And they are not perfect, but they are from my heart and soul. As much as I always love singing, I love singing the most when I am singing in praise of my Savior and my Father in Heaven.

a karaoke christmas

A while back (sometime in November) a few of us who were going to be in Tokyo for Christmas were discussing plans and one of my friends suggested that we get a group together for a little karaoke. I was all for it. Then, it turned out, the end of year party (aka Bōnenkai) at my work also included a karaoke portion. And thus Christmas of 2012 will forever live in my memory as my Karaoke Christmas. And here’s the evidence:

This may or may not be my new boss.

Just a little Jingle Bell Rock.

And proof that I am a team player! Oh, how I do love singing a little Wilson Phillips. 

And then on Christmas itself. I need to get some other photos from friends, but here’s one of T and me singing…I can’t remember what. But it was good.

This is more what karaoke typically looks like here in Tokyo…nice and poorly lit. 🙂

While perhaps not your most traditional Christmas (there was a lovely Christmas buffet dinner at a U.S. military something or other and it did include lots of American favorites including my beloved DC, as well), it was seriously so fun. I loved having my cousin here and being able to spend it with her and my favorite people in Tokyo.

gangnam style

So, the South Korea trip post (or maybe posts?) is coming, but it’s going to be a serious undertaking. In the meantime, please enjoy this little gem of a video. Gangnam, by the way, is a neighborhood in Seoul and where I happened to have been dropped off (accidentally, due to a translation issue) my first night there, at 11:30 pm about half a mile from my hotel. It’s a crazy place at 11:30 pm on a Friday night. 🙂
P.S. Thanks, Harrisons, for the introduction to this awesomeness!


Because sometimes I have too much to say to do so coherently. Because my lovely friend Katie posted this on her blog and it made me smile. Because I ment Katie in Switzerland. Because I love Paris. Because I speak French.

EF – Live The Language – Paris from Albin Holmqvist on Vimeo.

Because I saw Ian Axel last night in concert and think you all should see him, too. Because Chad Vaccarino is amazing. Because I wish my voice sounded like Allie Moss’ Because sometimes that are too many words on my blog. Because who doesn’t love songs about new beginnings?

Because while waiting for the headliner last night, this song came on. Because it’s a band I’d never heard. Because I like introducing people to new music. Because I like it.

Because I posted these words in my last post. Because this song makes me happy. Because I feel more free than I have in a long time.


I feel like I could probably post this same post every day and it would be applicable. That said, today it was especially applicable and I might as well write a little bit about this constant battle and the extra “help” that I feel like is with me in these “defining” moments. (Okay, so I don’t know that the moments are really “defining” per se, but whatever.)

Anyway, I was up way too late last night and then, when I got up this morning, I had a waffle brunch to go to at my friend’s apartment. Low key, but just the same, I was going on three day hair and really wanted to wash it before heading over. Now, I knew that once I took a shower today, it was unlikely that I would be doing any running afterward. But, since I’ve been trying to let my knee heal (I twisted it skiing and, while it’s been fine running, it has been killing me to walk on it, so I thought it would probably be wise to give it some time), I wasn’t super worried about missing my run today, except that I didn’t want to lose the happy feelings I’ve been having about running.

So, when I went to take a shower and realized that the hot water was low (this has been happening lately and generally corrects itself after a couple of hours), I took that as a sign that I should go running later. I pulled my greasy hair into a bun and headed over to brunch.

As it happened, when I got home, I found out that the lack of hot water was a much bigger problem than I had realized. Clogged pipes or some such nonsense meant no hot water. My first reaction was that I wouldn’t be able to go running and I probably wouldn’t be able to go to work tomorrow because I would be so gross. Then sanity set in and I realized that I had lots of options. My initial thought was that I could go run on the treadmill at the gym and just shower there…but gym showers kind of gross me out (yes, more than my own filth). Then I texted Kelly. I figured I could take my stuff down to her apartment, drop it off, go for a run, and then shower and get ready there.

Because I had seen the lack of hot water earlier in the day as a “sign” that I should go running, I was determined to make it happen, and figured out a plan. Luckily, as I was getting ready to head out, I needed to wash my hands and, upon doing this, discovered the hot water was back on…so I didn’t end up need Kelly’s shower after all.

So, here’s what I find so interesting about this whole thing, in hindsight. It’s not that the lack of hot water was a sign; the running gods aren’t looking down on me and making all the stars align so that I will go running. It’s a matter of my own attitude. I’m not looking for excuses not to go running. I’m looking for ways to make it fit. And because that’s my attitude, any unusual circumstances either look like signs I should go running or like signs that the universe is fighting against me, and then I want to fight back. “You think a little 20 degree weather is going to keep me from running today? I’ll show you!”

And guess what. My run today was seriously amazing. My mile splits were the fastest they’ve been for an easy run and it felt great. My legs got a little crampy around mile 2, but I just pushed through and kept going. I know I’ve only done two speed workouts, but I think they really make a huge difference. It’s like my muscles knew what they were supposed to do without my mind forcing it. I’m expecting great things from my tempo run tomorrow.

I decided to sprint my last 1/4 mile. Something about those 400 meter sprints has given me a lot more confidence in my ability to run faster and push harder. As I sped up, Daniel Bedingfield’s acoustic version of Gotta Get Through This. How appropriate was that?