I was a miracle baby. My mother was on birth control when I was conceived because my brother Mark was only 8 months old and she was ready to have 3 children under the age of 5. When my mom found out she was pregnant she was not happy. So my dad told her this baby is mine and he was right. I was a daddy's girl from the beginning. My mom said my eyes were wide open looking at everything. I was ready for life to begin here on earth. My earliest memories were on a little farm in San Martin California next to a dairy. We had a horse, chickens, ducks, and of course cats and a dog. This is where my love of animals began. I am a middle child with an older sister and brother and a younger sister and brother. My parents called me the peacemaker of our home. Our favorite pastime was going camping. There are many nights we gathered around a campfire to sing. This is where my love for music began. Until I was 8 we lived in California close to all my extended family. Then my father was transfered to Tucson Arizona with IBM. We had absolutely no family around us so our church members became like family.
Life in Tucson was better than I thought it could be. It helped having a brother that was one grade ahead of me. We had a lot of the same friends and hung out together. Music was a love for both of us and we were in many choirs together. My first solo came in 4th grade in the play Free to be you and me. This solo gave me the confidence I needed to pursue performing. One of my favorite choirs was in junior high. We were called Pioneers of music. My self-esteem grew as I developed my talent of singing. It seems like those years in Tucson flew by. I guess the adage is true, time flies when you're having fun. In the middle of my sophomore year my dad announced that we were moving back to California.
In the summer of 1989 I was going to my first especially for youth conference. I was super excited because I was meeting up with my good friends from Tucson. Six months earlier my father was transferred from Tucson Arizona to Bakersfield California. The move brought me great sorrow. Especially for youth is a fun filled week where teenagers enjoy games, lectures by motivational speakers and dances. I remember one specific talk when Lehi told his family that Jerusalem would be destroyed and his family would have to leave the city. His son Nephi believed in his father but Laman and Lemuel murmured and called their dad a visionary man. I tried to put myself in their shoes. It was easy for me to because I had just left my friends and home to come to a city where I knew no one. And I murmured. I wish I could say I was like Nephi having faith, being faithful, and trusting the Lord. The changes in my life were just beginning.
My heartache for Tucson lightened my junior year. My main focus in high school was music. I was in two plays and hoped to be a singer in the future. Choir was so fun. It was a time I could let loose and be myself. There is a special bond you create with the other singers in choir. It is similar to a family bond. I guess it grows through lifting up your voices together to make beautiful music. Music has always been a powerful tool in my life. I could express my feelings through song. If I needed to get away from the world I could sit at my piano and play for hours. Most importantly music could lift my spirit or calm my soul. A boy caught my eye in choir. He was so funny and I couldn't help but flirt with him. He would call me a tease and Brenda bows because I liked to wear bows in my hair. The more he pushed me away the harder I tried to get his attention. My flirtatations worked. We Started dating November 12, 1989. I'll never forget that telephone conversation. It went like this: I asked, "So are we an item?" And he answered, "Sure." The boy's name was Tim. He had officially become my boyfriend. Years later he admitted to me that after that phone call he did a fist pump and celebration dance.
In the spring of 1990 a stake musical was being put together by Tim's mother Liz Waite. I received one of the leads and Tim was in the chorus. We practiced for many months. The musical was called Going Home. During dress rehearsals we would wear all white. It was at a dress rehearsal that something incredible happened. As Tim and I held hands to walk off stage a vision opened up to our minds and we both saw ourselves dressed in white outside the Los Angeles temple on our wedding day. The spirit was so strong and we were filled with joy. Now I knew how Lehi felt. With this vision I had no doubt that Tim would be my eternal companion.
We graduated high school in 1991 and both started college in the fall. Of course I majored in music. College was much easier than I thought and a lot of fun. After our first year of college Tim received his mission call to Okayama Japan. We made many memories that summer of 1992 before Tim left in November.