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Cancer survivor, mother and recording artist brings faith and humility to music

By Emily Johnson

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Feb. 13 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

"Arise and Shine: Music of Youth 2012" is by by Lyndsi Housekeeper

Provided by Covenant Communications

From a young age, Lyndsi Houskeeper has found faith and healing through music. As a cancer survivor, mother of three and recording artist, Houskeeper has kept her faith to bring her messages of hope and inspiration to young and old alike.

"My life experiences and trials have greatly inspired my music. I have been very blessed...that through the love of my Heavenly Father, and the cherished blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am a cancer survivor," Houskeeper said, whose CD "Arise and Shine" was recently released.

Houskeeper battled Ewing's Sarcoma, a bone cancer found in children, from when she was 12. She endured multiple surgeries and treatments for about two years and has been cancer-free for nearly 20 years.

She reflected on those trying experiences through a lens of growth and faith.

"In my youth I faced this trying time, but came to know with great surety of God's love for me and his awareness and involvement in my life," she said. "I wanted more than anything to overcome that illness, and to realize the dreams and goals I had in my heart."

For Houskeeper and her family, her life, healing and musical gifts have been nothing short of miraculous. Her prognoses was not good, but her doctors were surprised at her resilience and recovery.

"Through my prayers, my family's prayers, my community's prayers and the priceless gift of the priesthood, I was blessed with healing," said Houskeeper, who lives in Washington, Washington County .

A love of music and her musical talents began blossoming as toddler. Houskeeper remembers developing her ability to play songs by ear after hearing them on the radio, much to the amazement of her mother.

"For as long as I can remember, I have loved music. I began singing and performing when I was just 3 years old. I was blessed with the chance to sing at a regional conference for the (LDS) church where Marvin J. Ashton was presiding. As a small child, it made a lasting impression when, upon finishing my song, Elder Ashton winked and smiled at me from the stand," said Houskeeper of the a local regional conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Houskeeper also counts her older brother as influence in her love of music.

"My older brother was a wonderful influence in bringing music into my life. Being 12 years older than me, he is someone I have always admired and wanted to emulate, and his love of music resonated with me," she said.

Through out Houskeeper's life, music has been a constant source of strength.

"There has never been a time in my life where I didn't love music and the feelings of happiness it brought me," Houskeeper said. "Music allows me to feel of my Heavenly Father's love. I have vivid memories of singing Primary songs about our Savior and feeling the truthfulness in those words. Through my growing years, I found a safe refuge in good music."

Houskeeper feels she has found purpose through sharing her testimony set to music.

"I believe Heavenly Father gave me this gift of music to express my testimony of his love and ability to change and guide our lives, and also to give voice to the gratitude I have for the countless gifts and joys he has given me."

Musically, her focus is to create opportunities to comfort and uplift listeners.

"My primary goal with my music is to provide messages to lift and inspire individuals, to allow them to recognize their worth and ultimately to express my profound gratitude to my Father in heaven for the blessings in my life," said Houskeeper. "I want to record my feelings and my testimony, and I want to share the love and joy that I feel so strongly because of my faith in Jesus Christ. I want to serve God and I want to serve others."

During the songwriting process, Houskeeper seeks inspiration from a variety of sources.

"There are moments where it feels that the song is just delivered to my mind and heart straight from heaven. The words and melody come as one, and I recognize the gift of inspiration and want to be worthy of it. I very much feel that I am being led and guided as the songs are recorded. I feel my own abilities being magnified and multiplied, for I know that I don't accomplish these things alone," Houskeeper said.

Sometimes, songs are based about feelings or experiences best expressed through music.

"I write about the feelings I have or experiences that I want to capture in music," she said.

Houskeeper also finds daily inspiration through her family and children. She also finds music as her best way to share her gratitude.

"I have found that music is often the only way to adequately express my feelings of thankfulness," Houskeeper said.

"Arise and Shine," based on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 2012 theme for youths, is Houskeeper's ninth CD.

"Because I was often asked to share song and testimony for youth meetings, it felt right to begin to try to compose music for the youth and the annual theme they are given. I have been preparing music for the youth now for six years, and it continues to be such a blessing when I hear young women learn these songs and perform them," she said.

"Arise and Shine" features six tracks plus two bonus tracks. The new CD also features instrumental tracks of the six songs. Houskeeper wrote, produced and recorded the inspirational album. Listeners find her music to be a beacon amid the darkening and demoralizing world in general and in music.

The "Arise and Shine" selections range from the piano-based inspirational opener, "We Now Arise," to the uptempo, toe-tapping "Let Me Be Bright."

"Shine" is a contemporary, pop-flavored number that reminds listeners to "let your light reflect the truth that you believe."

As Houskeeper was completing work on ""Arise and Shine," her young son needed surgery. Shortly before the scheduled surgery, Houskeeper attended a Relief Society broadcast.

Houskeeper was touched by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's message, "Forget Me Not," which offered her reassuring words of comfort during her family's difficulties.

"All I could think about, however, was my precious little boy and my sincere hope for a successful surgery for him," said Houskeeper.

During that time, however, Houskeeper said she felt loved and protected.

"Our family felt such great love and protection from our Heavenly Father during this time, and my sweet boy was able to have a safe and successful surgery," she said.

While with her son as he recovered from the operation, Houskeeper was inspired to pen a new song called "Forget Me Not."

"In just 10 minutes, the words and melody for my 'Forget Me Not' song were given to me as yet another tender gift from heaven. I have since been able to share the song with President Uchtdorf, and he responded with a most thoughtful letter. He assured me that my son and I were both loved by our merciful Father in heaven, and surely, we would not be forgotten," said Houskeeper.

Each of the songs on "Arise and Shine" showcase Houskeeper's pure, clear and sincere vocals and lyrics, while blending with high-quality musicianship. In an era of overproduction and Auto-Tune, Houskeeper's style brings an air of honesty. Her messages aren't condemning or preachy. They bring the spirit of hope and light to the listener.

Her songs are plaintive and touching, particularly as demonstrated in "Greater Things." In the song, Houskeeper pleads, "Don't you dare give up/Don't believe for once that you're not strong enough/Special child of God/Let him lift you, lead you out."

Regardless of age, Houskeeper's messages of inspiration and hope help remind listeners of eternal truth.

"The messages are absolutely universal. I want the youth to feel the importance of living true to the goal in their annual theme, but I am also writing these songs from my life experiences in my youth as well as adulthood. When I share these songs in a live setting, the Spirit continually testifies to me of the truthfulness of the gospel, and I believe that even I need to hear these messages and receive them into my heart," said Houskeeper.

Houskeeper's next release is "Music From a Mother's Heart."

"(It) features some of my most treasured songs that have been inspired by my sweet children and my experiences as a mother, as well as amazing people who have shown love and devotion to children," said Houskeeper. "I am very excited, as this CD covers 10 years of songs. I believe it will be enjoyed by anyone who has felt the love of a child in their own life. It will be available for Mother's Day 2012."

Houskeeper's music is available on iTunes and at retail outlets and online at Seagull Book and Deseret Book, as well as other bookstores where Mormon products are sold. For more information, visit www.lyndsihouskeeper.com.

Emily Johnson earned her Master of Professional Communication degree from Westminster College. She enjoys profiling unique people doing interesting things.

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