"Part of Your World" (2009 Version)

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"The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way." -Dale Carnegie

If you have a plane ticket to New York and an evening ticket to "The Little Mermaid" show, don't tell me.
I'll come and steal them both when you're not looking. :)

I recorded a version of this last year (?) and decided it was high time to record it again. (I love fresh starts!) In this version, I worked more on the character in my voice. I've had experience voice acting for KBYU-TV since last year, and I think that made a difference.

Now... time to write my Mythology paper! D: No...

"Soulmates"

(Image copyright xlizxangelx)

"Who doesn't long for someone to hold, who knows how to love you without being told? Oh, somebody tell me why I'm on my own if there's a soulmate for everyone." -Natasha Bedingfield (Soulmate)

The thought of having a soulmate is one of the most romantic notions an American child can grow up dreaming. I have been taught several different ideas about soulmates, each of them understandable and confusing all at once. Here are the two that I hear about most often:

(Image copyright exoart)
The first idea is that there is someone out there who I am destined to be with.
"Pros" of this: To have someone made just for you is an incredibly romantic concept. Also, I believe in the concept of families and close friends beginning their bonds before coming to this earthly life.
"Cons" of this: If my soulmate dies, is that it? What about second, or even third marriages? Is there just one person for me, or can there be happiness with others? (I'm not suggesting adultery or polygamy by any means; I abhor those practices.) Also, this belief takes away my agency. What if I don't want to marry the person I'm "destined" for? I believe in foreordination, not "destiny". I believe in God-given choice.

(Image copyright widelec.org)
The second idea is that there is no such thing as a soulmate and that I could marry just about anyone and be perfectly happy.
"Pros" of this: There isn't any need to worry if I found "The One" or not. There isn't any pressure to seek a wonderful companion, because just anyone will do.
"Con" of this: Divorce is real. While people fly off the handle a lot of the time, and separate before really trying to fix things, some couples just don't work well together; they don't harmonize.

My conclusion? While there isn't a "destined soulmate" for me, the people in my life are here for a reason. While I could try to "get along" with your run-of-the-mill Joe, there are people who are best for me, who could actually form an eternal companionship with me; an eternal teammate.

The discussion of "soulmates" is long debated, and I most likely don't have a perfect grasp of what the reality of it is. What I do know is that I'm learning, and that finding the man I can become perfect with is a task that takes effort and communication with my Heavenly Father.

And there's my theological tidbit of the day. :)

"Live Studio Recording: 'What We Are'"

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Skipping through my music library, I came across a recording Bryn and I did a couple of weeks before he left on his mission (August/September 2008.) It was extremely rewarding to collaborate with him for this song. He is the most patient person I have ever worked with in song-writing. (This recording was after 5-6 full runs in the studio, and my voice was dying.) The result isn't perfect, but it's our song. :) Aw.

"What We Are"
There are some things in this world
Oh, that we just won't know.
I need to know what we are.
So, please tell me what we are
'cuz I can't help feelin'
Like I'm straddling two cliffs.

About to fall to the dark below.
Reach for me, baby, give me your hand.

No more clues, no more games.
We are what we are,
But what are we?

I've been standing for a while
Oh, against the winds
Waiting for your hand to hold.
Blown away by who you are.
You just can't beat
The man you are and the god I see.

About to fly, take me up above.
Reach for me, baby, give me your hand.

Bring on trials, bring on errors.
We are what we are,
And you're what I couldn't be.

Bring on trials, bring on errors.
We are what we are,
And you're what I couldn't be.

COPYRIGHTS
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Lyrics & Melody: Ashley Harmon
Guitar Accompaniment: Bryn Farnsworth

"Japanese Practice"


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無我夢中で勉強しています。(I am completely and utterly absorbed in studying.) -Buddhist phrase

To make studying Japanese memorable and interesting, I'm dramatizing situations and creating context for the phrases and sentence structures I've been learning in class. Here's a little scene where two friends (they use informal speech with one another) are at a football practice and the sun above is blazing down on them. Suddenly, it begins to rain and their new clothes are ruined. *tsk tsk*

This was recorded in GarageBand. The sound effects/ambient noises are from an online distributor. Both characters are played by me. The script was taken from different sentences in my textbook and modified to fit the scene.

It doesn't feel like it, but I believe I'm advancing somewhat in Japanese. I'll get there someday! Hope you enjoy!  

"What Would You Do?"

Photo copyright "Huseyin"

"Faith makes a Christian. Life proves a Christian. Trial confirms a Christian. Death crowns a Christian." -Anonymous

Last night, I dreamt I stepped into a time machine. I didn't know where I was headed, but once it stopped, I opened my eyes to find myself in the middle of a massacre of the Latter-day Saints. Dressed in pioneer garb myself, I wandered amidst the crowd of Saints "waiting" to be beheaded by members of a western mob.

Before my eyes was a platform lined with roughly five or six wooden stumps where individuals were forced to kneel and bend their necks over the blocks before being asked a question. Each stump had its own "deputy" (mob member) who went down a list of questions, one per person; questions like, "do you believe in the Mormon faith?", and "will you deny God?"

Although I didn't recognize most people in the gathering, I nevertheless felt a kinship towards them. They were my fellow brothers and sisters dying in the name of Christ, and it upset me, to say the least. I stared in horror as Saint after Saint was decapitated for refusing to deny their God. The bodies were piled behind the mob in massive heaps.

The dream progressed scenes to me being on the run as one of the last surviving Saints in the area. I made it into someone's abandoned house and tried to hide, but a mob member found me. Just as he was pointing his gun at my chest, the dream shifted in my favor: we engaged in a conversation.

Mob Member: "This'll be the end of you devil-covenantin' folk."
Ashley: "Who told you we made bonds with Satan?"
Mob Member: (Hesitates.)
Ashley: "Do you have a family, Sir?"
Mob Member: "'Course I do. But you ain't gonna hurt 'em."
Ashley: "Why would I?"
Mob Member: "Revenge."
Ashley: "You love your family, then? And you want to spend forever with them?"
Mob Member: (Spits and cocks his gun.) "'Course."
Ashley: "Then why are you severing yourself from them by staining your hands with blood?"

I woke panting. Absolutely horrifying dream. It sounds mellow-dramatic now, but it really made me reflect on what I'd actually do if I was ever faced with that kind of situation. It's easy to say I'd give my life for God, but empty talk won't get me anywhere. Quite the time of reflection.

"Sugar n' Spice"

"No one can arrive from being talented alone; work transforms talent into genius." -Anna Pavlova

SUGAR:
Another recipe mastered! Sugar cookies are curious little devils; even though they look like they're not cooked all the way, if you leave them in until they look ready, they'll burn. My first batch turned out... not so great. But the second batch was astonishingly delicious! (Not that I ate the whole batch, or anything... *sly grin*)

SPICE:
I'm working on an a cappella version of "Sally's Song" (from The Nightmare Before Christmas.The structures I'm working on are:

1. Alto range
2. Perfect pitch
3. "Gruff" or "husky" voice (I've been trained to make my voice sound "sweet", so this'll be fun!)

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Here's a clippit of a rough run (definitely not the final version.) Any coaching points you can think of would be appreciated. It's hard to make a single-range a cappella demo exciting!

"Hiking, as Related to Life"

"There's always gonna be another mountain. I'm always gonna wanna make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I'm gonna have to lose. It ain't about how fast I get there. It ain't about what's waitin' on the other side. It's the climb." -"The Climb" (Miley Cyrus)

Yes, it's foolish, but I did it. Everybody I asked to come with me was busy, and I've really become tired of wasting away in my apartment on the weekends. So... I filled up an old water-bottle Bryn gave me, donned a light jacket, and headed for the hills. Once there, I was a little intimidated (I was using the clear, starry sky as a flashlight,) but I girded up my loins and attacked the beginning of the "Y" trail.

About halfway up, I wanted to turn back. I'm no stranger to hiking steep inclines, but for some reason, this hike has given me as basket full o' troubles in the past.

I stuck with it after all, and was rewarded with this spectacular sight of Provo city at night:

(Photo taken from my cell phone. Sorry for the bad quality.)

There'd been an instance like this before, when I'd hiked Mount Timpanogos for the first time. It'd been with Bryn and his adventurous family, and I'd felt rather pathetic for constantly stumbling behind and dragging him away from his brothers n' sisters in the process. When we finally made it to "The Saddle", I threw myself down near a pile of rocks and cracked a smile, sweat beading down my face. I'd finally made it. And Bryn let me believe that I had... until after lunch.

"You've got to be joking." I couldn't believe it: there was still more. Bryn informed me we hadn't really reached "the top" yet, that there was still about an hour left of hiking to do. I shook my head and told him to go on without me. There was no way I was going any further. But some part of me wasn't satisfied with where I was; I itched to press on and reach new heights.

It was hard, and I fell alot. But Bryn was always behind me, pushing me on, stopping when I needed to breathe, and going in front of me to pull my ragged body up "the steep parts". When we finally made it to the top, I leaned against a massive rock and laughed a little deliriously: "We made it. We finally made it, Bryn." He just smiled up at me and gave my calves an all-too-welcome massage.

The last stretch was the hardest part, and my heart was only invested in it half the time. But with the help of a patient friend, and the determination to reach the real top (not the "counterfeit" one,) I made it; I reached the top.

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