Zions Choir – Have I Done Any Good?


Alex Boye and Carmen Rasmussen Herbert

These past few weeks, my brothers have been enjoying starting up their second year of Zions Choir – an LDS Youth Choir based in The Bay Area.

To give you a little background on the choir, here is part of their mission statement from their website, ZionChoir.org:


The Zion Choir is a youth performing group of approximately 45 high school juniors and seniors from the greater San Jose area, who meet at least weekly to study and memorize challenging sacred music, to be performed at ward and stake church firesides and activities.  These youth are asked to prepare themselves musically and spiritually to invite the spirit whenever they perform.

All four kids in the Nef household have participated in Zion Choir. My sister was an alto from 2007-2009; I, an alto from 2011-2013; and my brothers, both basses from 2013-present.

All the choir fun and madness discussed at my house lately has given me an intense case of nostalgia. In all honesty, I really miss Zions Choir – and I don’t say that a lot.

Zions Choir was – hands down – one of the best experiences of my life. The friendships, love, and faith found in this choir helped me get through some of the most difficult years in high school. Zions Choir showed me the power of sacred music and how it can change lives.


Alex and Zions Choir on set

It also gave me some pretty cool stories to tell. Continue reading


Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Dock in England

“Who in the world am I?
Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

“To thine own self be true.”

My mom and brother popped by the other night for dinner, and over a great big bowl of spaghetti and delicious french bread we began talking about the differing personality types sitting at that very table, unified by family ties and the pot of pasta.

That’s when Lauren mentioned a personality test she had recently taken.  “You should all take it,” she said, “it’s very enlightening.” Continue reading

Fear Not


I have had a lot on my mind lately.

School, finances, unemployment and – most recently – mission papers have taken over my every waking moment. I worry constantly.

Will I be able to pay back my loans?
Will I be able to pay for my mission?
Will I have a job waiting for me when I get back from my mission?
Will I even be able to handle a mission?
Am I going to be okay?

As I have sorted through the slew of questions in my mind, I am reminded of a story my mom told in a Sunday School lesson. Continue reading

Nearer, My God, to Thee

Bernini Angel

Bernini Angel

Those of you who follow my daughter’s missionary blog know that the hymn Nearer, My God, to Thee has become quite meaningful to her.  She inspired me to expound on the treasure that lies within the text.
Here are the words:

Nearer, my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross That raiseth me.
Still all my song shall be Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!

Though like a wanderer, The sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, My rest a stone,
Yet in my dreams I’d be Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!

There let the way appear, Steps unto heav’n;
All that thou sendest me, In mercy giv’n;
Angels to beckon me Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!

Then with my waking thoughts Bright with thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!

Or if, on joyful wing Cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, Upward I fly,
Still all my song shall be Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!
(Sarah F. Adams, 1805-1848)

Continue reading

Thorn in the Flesh

ThornsMy daughter Ashley wrote me wanting advice for some sister missionaries suffering from depression. Here is part of her letter about one sister:

[This sister] has been very frank with me about her struggles with depression. Says it’s a family thing – something to do with neuron transmitters or something. I need advice on how to help her.

She has a hard time with feelings that she is not good enough, not doing enough, not lovable enough, or is not perfect enough to be saved. We’ve had some good talks. Most of the things I say she already knows anyway, but it’s something that has to sink in to her heart, you know.

It will probably take time. We all have trials, but she just happens to be one of those people that Satan works on in a certain way. But she really is a very good kindhearted person. I just need to figure out ways to make her happy, I guess. Which is hard to tell because even when depression sets in, she still smiles…she tries to hide it all away.  Got any words of wisdom?  I’d appreciate it.
Love you, Ashley

For all the it’s worth, here’s My Letter of Advice
About this dear sister.  You cannot cure her of melancholy, no matter how many nice things you say.  If this is a chemical imbalance, then meds will have to suffice. But you can inspire her to channel the sadness into productivity. Continue reading