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Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: Mercy River: making time for talents

Published: Thursday, Feb. 2 2012 6:13 p.m. MST

Whitney Permann, Soni Muller and Brooke Stone of "Mercy River."

Ashley Ram

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Finding time to squeeze out any creativity from my weary, mushy mind seems next to impossible when I’ve spent most of my day switching my hat from “mother” to “homemaker” to “chef” to “teacher” to “wife."

But I’m a huge advocate for women having an outlet for something in their lives they love doing that’s just for them.

Whether that’s singing, writing, exercising (joke), biking or reading, making time (key word: making) to let off some steam and immerse myself in an activity that I really enjoy can be a huge mood booster and help me feel more well-rounded as a person. Having some sort of creative outlet also gives me that much-needed energy boost to be more involved as a full-time wife and mother.

I don’t always succeed at this, but my good girlfriends from the group “Mercy River” seem to have this delicate balance of me vs. we time down to an art.

Brooke Stone, Whitney Permann and Soni Muller are the beautiful voices of this celtic-inspired trio. They are wives and mothers first and foremost, yet they’ve also found a way to be recording artists, performers, motivational speakers and amazing examples — without neglecting their combined 13 children.

So how do they do it?

Well, because these women have placed their families as top priorities, they aren’t above carting their kids around with them to rehearsals, appearances and even performances.

In fact, in a video they posted to YouTube documenting the final days before the release of their new album, “Higher,” which comes out Feb. 29, the trio is joined by seven of their little ones in their “rehearsal space”/conference room at the Deseret Book corporate offices in Salt Lake City.

In the clip, you can see the floor littered with Legos, blankets, a car seat, a stroller and a changing pad or two.

“We just bring toys and movies and snacks and make living rooms out of wherever we are, and that’s what we do,” says Stone as Permann and Muller nod their heads and bounce their babies on their hips.

Their recording studio is complete with an exer-saucer for Permann’s baby, Luke, whom she sarcastically claims only sits in for “five minutes at a time” while they record.

What I love about the gals from Mercy River, besides their super-mom abilities, is that they don’t pretend to be anyone different from who they are. And while their personalities are as different as their hair colors (blonde, brunette and auburn), they go together like peas and carrots and … (what else goes with peas and carrots? Potatoes? We’ll go with that. I’ll let them argue over who is what.)

My favorite song from the album is titled “Beautiful For Me.” The first time I heard this song, it was at a “Time Out for Women” event we were both presenting at in Phoenix last year, and I couldn’t help but get emotional. The message of the song, the feeling of the music, and the love and honesty they put into their performance was so touching and real.

It’s because they’re singing songs we as women have in our hearts and living very similar, normal lives we are all living (except for the whole mom-by-day, rock-star-by-night thing).

For these three women, it’s all about family first, and yet they are still doing what they love and making a big difference doing it.

And that’s what I love about Mercy River.

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment for the Deseret News.

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