Born Brave

is the album I’ve always wanted to make. It gives voice to the many stories that have helped shape my life. I hope it gives you strength as well.

Born


I started writing this song early one morning when I was faced with all sorts of personal discouragement. It can be easy to look around and feel miles from where we want to be in life, on all levels.

You know those days when you feel like your life keeps hitting brick walls? It was one of those.

Out of that frustration I tried remembering what I’m really here for, and what I DO have, all around me; what my responsibilities are exactly where I am, and what my life IS good for. What am I here to do? What am I born to be? There had to be purpose, despite feeling like all expectations were lost on me.

Discouragement turned to appreciation. It jogged me back to my past, the people I came from, reminding me I have a legacy of those values to leave when I’m gone. I’ll never forget where I was that morning when the lyrics and melody started ringing. I think I sang what I had written on that song 100 times, at least, the day I started to writing it. It was like the best prescription for what was ailing me. Still is.

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We Are


It’s important to remind every young girl and young woman who we women are and the role we play. We are nurturers by nature. We are strong. We are the emotional backbone in society. It seems so much rests on our shoulders to lift and inspire the people around us: by educating, leading, and loving. Are they getting that? I picked up my guitar and started writing the first few verses of this song thinking about all the amazing women in my life I look up to. I could see their high heels clanking on the pavement as they juggled the world on their shoulders, with grocery bags and briefcases in their arms, and kids around their ankles.

As a little girl I couldn’t wait to be all grown up, wearing high heels and lipstick. I recall my sisters, cousins and I having fashion shows at my Grandma’s house, getting all dressed up in her glittering gowns and heels drowning our adolescent frames. As a woman and mother, I’ve often wondered if I am giving my daughter something to look up to as she ages and eventually grows into her first real heels? Am I honestly portraying what a woman is? With all the beauty and joys that come with it? Will she have an understanding of that role and want to live it (even with all the stretch marks and sleepless nights)?

So, I wrote this song just in case she doesn’t know…

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Soldier Girl


A lifetime can be seen like a landscape. From beginning to end there are hills, valleys, canyons. Sometimes we stumble onto grounds where skies are full of thunderstorms and we’re wading through deep trenches. It’s in these battlegrounds we discover what we are capable of enduring. This song came after a long fight to keep my own feet moving when things were really, really hard. “We carry the Hope of years…” refers to our personal little army of support we have both on earth and in Heaven, holding us up so we can bravely make it through.

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Good For Me


It was just another laundry day (FYI, I call it “Laundry day” is because it literally takes ALL dang day): don’t get me wrong. I don’t really mind this particular day of the week because it means for all the load changing I do I get to zone out and fold mountains of clothes as I watch whatever hopefully entertaining television shows are on. It can have its upsides.

On this particular day I was in the middle of my 5th load of laundry when I switched on a talk show. The host of this show was pitting four single, loud, fitful business women against four quiet, frumpy-ish stay-at-home moms (clearly staged for a battle) to see who had the more fulfilling life. Ironic, right? Here I am, tee-shirt, undies, sock-folding mom (who happily and mostly stays at home with kids) watching this hour of pathetic (unethically entertaining, eh-hem, shame on me) TV as the panel of unmarried career-driven women, talk-show host, and audience all singlehandedly put the whole panel of housewives in a verbal headlock. My skin was crawling. Really? On public television we belittle the women that are happily, freely & whole-heartedly raising the next generation and going out of our way to make them feel even smaller than society has already has managed to do so? How does that strengthen any woman, anywhere? In that hot-blooded moment it was like pouring gasoline on a fire (…I will avoid my personal soap-box here …errgh). That night, as I unglamorously stood at the kitchen sink washing the dishes after a really good meal with the family, that show still making me want to spit daggers, I started writing this song. Whether single or married, I want to believe we can honor both great career seeking women and women who work their tails off making a life’s unpaid career out of running a household and managing the emotional, mental, spiritual & physical well-beings of their families. Good for you, good for me.

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What's Mine Is Yours


The circle of women in my life is quite large. Between four sisters, ten sister-in-laws, and a whole lot of friends I’ve witnessed so much heartache when it comes to watching some of these women not be physically able to bear children, or suffer losses of children along the way. For some, creating families has come easier than others. For many it is a struggle. I’m always surprised at how miraculously God’s hand works in helping put families together. I wanted so badly to include this message on the album. I treasured my time writing this song with Deanna. Some songs really feel like gifts. This song felt like a tremendous gift and blessing from the moment the title came to mind, my hands hit the piano keys, and melody started flowing. This song was written for every woman who has the heart of a mother, both old and young, and especially to those who yearn for a family of their own.

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Don't Tell Me


There’s so much that can happen when we decide to tear down walls; choosing to unite instead of bringing each other down. Allowing our differences to stand between us keeps us from lifting each other with our similar life experiences and whatever wisdom and humor we have picked up along the way. I’m always AMAZED at how much I have in common with someone who I wouldn’t normally consider finding friendship with. And I’m always so glad I took the time to get to know them. We really are all the same. I wrote this song with Jason Deere while out on tour, with a piano and a guitar in a little backroom of a concert venue. I believe in what it says.

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Home Sweet Home


I swear I can smell the peanut butter on the kitchen counter, hear the sound of the dog, and see the tiny kids’ fingerprints on the windows when I hear this song! I wanted to write that song that brings you back to where your life begins every day. As a kid I was raised singing about being “Together Forever” as a family. It sounded so nice and felt so good, and still does. But now that I’m a wife and mother most times it’s that day-to-day part of forever that can be really hard! Our kitchen has seen many a great dance moves, improv-musical-esque songs about dishes, homework, etc., and interesting, sometimes non-identifiable meals. All that aside, no matter what, our home represents beautiful chaos where everyone feels loved, accepted and needed. “Leave your lonely at the front porch, walk your love right through my door…"

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When Love Comes Again


Sometimes our relationships in life don’t go the way we planned. For one reason or another there can be forks in the roads, parting paths. Healing from those unforeseen changes can be so painful. We wrote this song out in Nashville for the all those who need to give love a second chance.

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Emma


As I have been touring with the Nashville Tribute Band and writing this album, putting the Emma song on this project seemed to fit so naturally, as this whole album feels like a “tribute” to women. Words cannot express the deep love I have for Emma, having humbly experienced a tiny portion of her life through film. And every time I sing it on stage I know there are people in the audience who feel like this song was written just for them. There is something about it that resonates with everyone who hears it.

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Brave


A little over a year ago I was contacted by a man whose wife, LaRaida, had just discovered she had breast cancer. This sweet woman invited me into her home and let me ask every question I could think of to get inside her head and figure out what she was experiencing. She generously shared so many personal thoughts with me. It was a tender moment—to be in their home, watching the love of her husband as he sat by her side and continued to do so throughout out her treatments and recovery. I was witnessing one of the bravest moments of her life and was so humbled to be a small part of her journey. The daisies in her yard seemed to be a gift from God as hope throughout her battle with cancer. I’m happy to say she still lives and her husband, family, and faith helped pull her through so that every day, she could be brave. Here are some thoughts she gave me to share:

“I’ve experienced many struggles throughout my life but I’ve recently dealt with a struggle that threatened to take my life. Breast Cancer. When I was first diagnosed, I was in denial and then I was scared about the future. As the days went by and I began the treatments, I accepted what I was facing and found myself in fervent prayer at nearly every moment of the day. I prayed for help to deal emotionally, physically, and mentally with all that comes with the treatment of cancer. While the following months were still challenging, I felt peace and comfort as I turned to the Lord. I submitted to His will and learned many wonderful lessons that I don’t think I could have learned any other way.

His message of peace and comfort came in many ways. Through music, scriptures, things people said, lessons at church and so much more. I became keenly aware of just how much I am loved and known by my Heavenly Father and how the Atonement can work in my life. Even though the journey was tough, it was worth it in the end because of who I’ve become! This is when I realized that I was “Born Brave.” We all have two choices when we face challenges in our lives. One is to give up and sink into despair, and the other is to turn it over to our Lord and Savior with faith, and rely upon his mercy and love to see us through. I continue to recognize Heavenly Father’s hand in my life and I feel hope, peace, and comfort as I serve others, keep His commandments and strive to be the best person that I can be.

I absolutely LOVE music. It is one of the ways the spirit speaks to me. Many songs have helped me throughout my life and brought hope, comfort, and peace. Phrases like, “He’s always Stronger than the Storm,” “Through thorny ways, leads to a joyful end,” and the most recent is, “Nearer, my God to thee, Nearer to thee! Even though it be a cross that raiseth me. Still all my song shall be, nearer my God, to thee…”

Time is a gift from our Heavenly Father. Use it wisely and find joy in the little things. I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father’s love for me." LaRaida Pies

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Virgin's Lullaby


What can be said of Mary? As this project is a tribute to women, it was a fitting place to gloriously celebrate one so humble and willing and brave. Though so little is written on Mary, her faith speaks volumes. To have just a piece of her heart, to comprehend the love that existed between she and our Savior, to have both the blessing and incomprehensible pain over watching him live, love, and die for mankind—Mary’s story is the greatest of us women on earth.

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