When Words Fail

I didn’t check my school email over Christmas break, so I missed the funeral.

We weren’t even particularly close. But we had one memorable interaction about a month ago that made me pay close attention to him whenever he was in my room.
*he’s goofing off in class, and I pull him aside*
Me: Hey ____! This is so unlike you! What’s going on?
Him: My dad got really mad at me this morning because he said I didn’t do the laundry and dishes like I was supposed to.
Me: Oh, I can see how that would throw you off. Did you do the laundry and dishes?
Him: Yeah! I always do! And he never notices!
Me: Oh man. That must be hard. Does your mom ever stick up for you?
Him: She’s dead.

So I knew like a tiny bit about his life. (AKA I knew that home life kind of sucked.) I think I tried to be extra aware of him and praise him a lot. Maybe.

The email said he was on life support due to a gunshot wound. The next email said he didn’t make it.

One time I passed him in the hall. I was on my way to pick up a class and idk what he was doing by himself. I should’ve stopped to talk to him. I think I said hi. Maybe I called him by name. I’m bad with names. Maybe I called him the wrong name. I could’ve invited him to walk with me. Maybe he’d just been bullied at recess. I should’ve asked him how his day was going.

I hate guns. [Lengthy paragraph about my political views that I just deleted. #prolife #protectthechildrenthatarealreadyonthisearth]

I get his class on Thursday. I’m not really good at knowing the right thing to say to grieving people. I feel like I always say the wrong thing. But when those kiddos come in on Thursday, I might not say anything. I think we’ll just listen to calming music and play the piano.

When I switched from 6th grade to Music, I did it because I wanted to help these “at-risk” (I hate that term) kids deal with life. Giving kids the tools to get jobs is absolutely noble and necessary and good. Yes. All the power in the world to general classroom teachers. But I care more about giving kids the tools to cope when something goes down like a fellow classmate unexpectedly dying. Or your parents getting divorced. Or not getting into the university you applied for. Or a psychopath getting elected to lead our nation. Life is freaking hard, and tbh knowing how to divide fractions isn’t going to get you through it.

But in my experience, music can. My first year of teaching was pretty much Hell, but I listened to “It’s Gonna Be Okay” by The Piano Guys on repeat, and it gave me hope and peace and strength. Coming home from the mission was hard, because I’d spent 21 years preparing for it, and I hadn’t really prepared for coming home. But listening to music I’d loved as a missionary helped me feel like my life wasn’t completely worthless without the nametag.

Finding out an innocent child died on Christmas was shocking. But sitting at my piano and playing a Beethoven Sonata I studied in college brought me the peace I needed. It didn’t necessarily take away the pain. I had to go to work the next day. But it calmed me down and reminded me that Someone bigger and smarter and better is in charge, and He’s got a plan. I want kids to be able to have that coping mechanism, for when words fail and all we can do is sit and cry and listen. That’s why I’m a music teacher.

9 Reasons Gilbert Blythe is the Ideal Man

I’m on an Anne kick RN, because I recently watched the new Netflix series “Anne with an E” and was so overcome with love for Green Gables and Anne and Matthew and Marilla and Gilbert that I just had to watch the beloved BBC films as well.

I’m in love.

In love with Avonlea. And Anne and Gilbert’s relationship. And the whole small-town, book-loving, creative, passionate orphan girl turned successful author. And the idea of a perfect young man being in love with me since the moment he saw me, and never giving up on me, even after multiple rejections.

Okay, so maybe it’s not terribly realistic… But I yearn for a man like Gil. Someone who’s head-over-heels in love with me, but still respects me and wants my success and happiness, and continues with life even after temporary rejection, but remains loyal.

Here are a few reasons Gilbert Blythe is the ideal man:

1. He’s ambitious.
Off to med school while the rest of his classmates stick around to be farmers.

2. He’s studious.
He and Anne were the top of their class, and both worked hard and got great scholarships.

3. He’s kind.
He was always offering to help Anne. Even after she cracked her slate over his head.

4. He’s honest.
Ohhhhh if all men were like Gilbert. He’s straight up with Anne and tells her exactly how he feels. So much of the horridness of dating would be avoided if everyone was up front and open.

5. He’s loyal.
Even after being rejected by Anne, he STILL waits. He even calls off his engagement because “it wouldn’t be fair to Christine.” (This is totally different from Snape, because Anne wasn’t married. Lily was married. Snape was lustful and creepy; Gil was loyal and determined.)

6. He’s handsome.
I mean, this doesn’t really need an explanation.

7. He’s supportive.
He goes to Anne’s performance where she recites “The Highway Man” and GIVES HER AN ENCORE.

8. He’s useful.
Okay, this one takes some explaining. He actually helps Anne progress. Like, he gives constructive feedback on her book in a tough love sort of way, which she totally hates at first. But it ends up saving her writing career. He’s not afraid to be honest.

9. He’s forgiving.
Back to the broken slate. This boy is a saint.

So I’m not settling until I meet the living equivalent of Gilbert.

Moana and Me

It feels like just yesterday that I was watching “Frozen” for the first time, long after everyone else was over it. I had just returned from my mission, and I had to be obsessed with “Frozen” all by myself. I wrote a post about Gospel parallels in “Frozen” to process all my feelings.

Today I’d like to do the same thing with “Moana”. Although I’m not longer recently returned from my mission, I still love nothing more than a good Gospel analogy. And this time it’s not months after the fact.

The Gospel parallel I want to discuss is Moana discovering who she is. There’s a time when Moana is all by herself on the ocean, and she comes to the realization that she is a chief’s daughter, and a descendent of sea voyagers. With this new understanding, she is given the strength to steer herself through the storm.

The first thing missionaries teach is that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and we are His children. I grew up singing “I Am a Child of God” from like the day I was born, and reciting “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him” every week from age 12-18. What a gift.

As I watched Moana realize who she is, I was reminded of the Truth I’ve known all my life about who I am– a daughter of God. The tears flew freely as I thought, “I am Amber Blair. I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me, and I love Him.” He created me to succeed, and He gave me special gifts and unique talents to help me.

Understanding who we are is a superpower I think can really be channelled to help us be successful. What immense confidence can come from focusing completely on Father’s opinion of us and His great love.

2017 Resolutions

Oh hey. If you’re curious, these are some of my New Year’s resolutions:

Exercise 20 minutes/ day
Daily and weekly planning
Go to a therapist
Record good things I do every day
Accept criticism, but don’t take it personally
Focus on the things I want to grow
Go to Europe
Read one book/ month
Attitude of gratitude
Become a music teacher
Listen to one conference talk/ day
Run a marathon
Positive self-talk

2017 will be my best year so far. Cheers!

Getting Super Real and Honest

Hi friends. Today’s post is going to be slightly different from my norm. I’ve been thinking a lot about perfection, and I wanted to take this time to share my thoughts. I’d really love to hear what you think.

So I have this kind of weird trait that I love to set goals. For example, the other day I announced that I set a goal to watch every classic Disney in Spanish. Why didn’t I just express my desire to do that? I don’t know. I’ve had a weird thing with goals since my mission. #chapter8

Anyway, I’ve been super goal-oriented ever since the mission, and one of my goals was to go to the temple every week. I did that every single week without fail… until two weeks ago when the Provo temple was closed and I had Girls Camp. I didn’t make it to the temple, and I felt awful! I considered my worthiness to take the sacrament, and I just felt like a terrible person.

And then I realized that weekly temple attendance isn’t actually a commandment.

My primary class has a goal to read the Book of Mormon every day, and they’re doing awesome. But one boy has missed just a few times, and it really stresses him out. Today I shared my story of missing a week of the temple, and then I shared this scripture that has recently brought me a lot of comfort:

But now I tell it unto you, and ye are blessed, not because of your iniquity, neither your hearts of unbelief; for verily some of you are guilty before me, but I will be merciful unto your weakness. Therefore, be ye strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours. (D&C 38:14-15)

To me, those verses are saying I know you’ve made mistakes, but don’t be afraid. Just keep doing your best.

I talked to my class about how messing up doesn’t make Heavenly Father mad. The only thing that makes Him mad is when we’re ungrateful. He expects us to mess up, and that’s why He gave us His son Jesus Christ. Like we learned in last Conference, in the Gospel, we get credit for trying!

What a relief, right? I sure do mess up every day. Sometimes I get really overwhelmed with all my weaknesses, like being bossy or competitive or overly goal-oriented. But as long as we’re trying our best, we’re on track. I know the Lord has our backs. That’s what the Atonement is for!

First Place Loser

When I was in 4th grade, I got 2nd place at the Provo City track meet in the 200 yard dash. After catching my breath, I walked over to my dad, and exclaimed, “If it weren’t for the girl in front of me, I would’ve won!”

Ain’t that the truth.

But I had a similar experience this week– I was one of two applicants who made it to the 2nd interview, after the other 73 applicants were eliminated. I guess it was an honor to have made it that far, but I’m now in the exact same position as al the others who didn’t even get a second interview.


Have you ever thought about what it must feel like to make it to the super bowl, and then lose? Or go all the way to the Olympics, and then not get gold? Or become the Republican candidate, and then lose? In some ways, I feel there is more pain in 2nd place.


For me, the further along I go, the most emotionally invested and thus vulnerable I become. When you make it ALMOST as far as the winner, and then don’t win, it bites.


Lest you think I’m super depressed about this, I’m fine. I’m excited for my future. But I think there’s a group of 2nd placers out there who could really use some compassion.


This is the masterpiece Seeley and I concocted yesterday, after our $1 spam musubi plans were foiled. We didn’t have the strength to walk alllll the way back to Foodland, so we decided to make do with what we had, and ended up with my new favorite sandwich.


Not sure if your eyes might be deceiving you? I’ll tell you exactly what this delectable dish contains: Sharp cheddar cheese, Spam, and dill pickles. (For the record– I think sweet pickles are one of the most repulsive food items on this earth.) Grilled to perfection with just the right amount of butter. #win #usingourresources