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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meeting one of my hero’s; song writer and musician Kenneth Cope

The pre-teen years weren’t easy for me (we’re they easy for anybody?).  My family moved from Utah to Virginia and Jr. High was a challenge.  I grew like a weed and was awkward in my new body.   I came from a large family of nine children and was teased at school for being Mormon.  Some days I just wanted to stay home with my little brothers and sisters and play dress-up. 

When I was 14, my family moved from Virginia to Mesa, Arizona.  I didn’t know anyone and sometimes felt alone.  I started playing tennis and ran around the track every day.  I met a few friends and started feeling like I could fit in. 

I meet a friend named Daryl Smith, read more about Daryl here (Daryl is the editor of Seeing the Everyday) who introduced me to the music of Kenneth Cope.  Kenneth is a member of the Mormon Church and writes songs about Jesus.  I played his tapes around the house and was amazed at the message of his songs.  Finding Christ, reaching out to others, being kind and seeing heaven all around us were so inspiring.  I felt my testimony for the Savior grow.
Kenneth’s music played a significant role in how I felt about myself and where I was going with my life.  It was easier to keep difficult days in perspective and I would sing along while cleaning my room or doing homework.  Soon, my brother’s and sister’s were requesting I play his music whenever I was home.
I also played the piano and spent hours each day learning Kenneth’s songs.  I saved up babysitting money and purchased the print music to His Hands and Never a Better Hero and others.  My mom would stand by my side, encouraging me and singing along.  This is how I spent a lot of my time in the evening.
I eventually started writing my own piano music.  A neighbor of mine named Crystal wrote poetry.  We started collaborating and wrote beautiful compositions together.  When I was 16, I auditioned to be the pianist for a musical group called Sound Celebration.  The group performed not just in Mesa, but around the country.  Kenneth Cope’s music was used in most of our performances, as our goal was to draw people closer to Jesus.

When I was 23, I turned in my mission papers and was called to serve in the Temple Square Mission.  I played a lot of Kenneth Cope’s music as I prepared to serve the Lord.  His music kept me focused and the spirit stayed close to my heart. 

So . . . you can imagine my joy and utter happiness when almost a year into my mission, Kenneth Cope came to speak to the over 200 sister missionaries on Temple Square.  
He spoke for about an hour on how he developed his testimony and what he has learned about Christ from reading the scriptures.  He than asked if we would like to hear him sing a few songs.  I was the mission pianist, so my mission president asked if I would accompany Kenneth while he sang.  Of course I had been playing Kenneth’s music for years, but never did I think I would be playing while he sang.  I was nervous, but more excited.  Kenneth was kind and humble and I learned so much about Christ because of his visit to my mission.

Several years after I married the counselor, we decided to go to Utah and visit Temple Square.  At the time we had three little boys and stayed in Park City.  The day we decided to visit Temple Square, we drove through the canyons down the mountain to Salt Lake City.  My heart was full of joy, ready to share my mission for the first time with my husband and small children.  We drove past This is the Place, a landmark honoring where the first pioneers arrived with Brigham Young.  The story is when they arrived in the Utah Valley, Brigham Young said “This is the place.”  I’d always wanted to see the monument, so we took a slight detour and toured the grounds.  While walking, I heard Kenneth Cope singing.  At first I thought I was dreaming, and then maybe it was his CD being played over the loud speaker, but after a few minutes I realized it was live.  He was really him singing.  I told the counselor I had to find him.  I was like a bloodhound, walking from one end of the grounds to the next and finally found Kenneth, along with his band, rehearsing in a large barn.  I stood in the doorway and listened as he finished a song.  My eyes were full of tears and I explained to my son Chandler why I was crying. 

“That man up there taught me about Jesus,” I said.  I cautionsly approached Kenneth (I didn’t want to interrupt, but I had to!) and a bit emotional, I re-introduced myself to him.  He was so gracious and after visiting a few minutes, he invited me to stay and listen while he and his band finished rehearsing.  It was the highlight of my trip back to my mission.

You can see how this man and his gift for writing music affected me.  I can’t think of any other musician who has ever meant more.  Kenneth Cope is one of my hero’s.

Fast forward to this summer, where I have spent over four months helping my mom, author Sarah Hinze write her biography in a book we’ve titled The Memory Catcher.  More on this to come!  Her publisher Spring Creek Book Company will be publishing The Memory Catcher in October 2012. 

Throughout her life, my mom desired to know God and what He wanted her to do with her life when after a miscarriage, she had a “pre-birth experience” (PBE). The child she lost came to her as an angel, reassuring everything would be alright.  After the encounter, my mom wondered if other mothers had seen their unborn children in dreams or visions before their children were born.  She distributed flyers throughout her town and within a few days, a woman who had seen her own unborn child shared her story with my mom. 
Since then my mom has interviewed individuals from around the world and chronicled many of these types of communication from children before they are born.

Years later, she had published several books.  Her work has provided significant evidence that unborn children can warn, protect and enlighten us from the spirit realm. Most often these children appear to announce it is their time to be born. This communication can occur between the child and a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, or grandparent, etc., as they come to warn, protect and enlighten.
Her first book Coming from the Light was published nearly 20 years ago.  Later, she published Life before Life (Pocket Books) with Simon & Schuster. 

My mom's latest book, We lived in Heaven, was given to Kenneth Cope by a mutual friend.  Well, Kenneth read the book and contacted my mom, hoping some day they could meet.  Since my mom and I were already collaborating on her biography and had planned a trip up to Utah, we meet Kenneth Cope together.  Here we our with his sweet family.
It was a dream come true. I finally had time to tell Kenneth what his music meant to me.  Kenneth is one of my hero’s and I am now sharing his music with my children.  While we were together, he played a few songs on his guitar, one of them being Broken.  
I hope you will take the time to listen to a few of his songs I have linked up.

Thank you, Kenneth for sharing your talent with the world.  It has made all the difference in mine.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful!!! I love hearing your life experiences! Your Mom is beautiful & I hope to read her latest book - I remember reading "Life before Life." Amazing work you do.