Niels’ Farewell/ Maylist

This past Sunday was my friend Niels’ mission farewell. He’s been called to serve in the New Jersey Morristown mission, Spanish speaking and reports in a matter of days! I’m so excited for him and we had fun last week talking and joking with each other about our missions. What a champ. Here’s a few pictures by the lovely Bayley Christensen from that day. (We’re all so happy!)

I write bucket lists on a monthly basis, and April was killer. Here’s my list for this May. Do you have any sweet plans this month?

1. Finish Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
2. Go on a big hike (hopefully in Utah?) with my family.
3. Learn to make fresh bread by heart.
4. Start Walden.
5. Learn the Russian alphabet.
6. Celebrate my mom as much as possible on Mother’s Day.
7. Visit the beach.
8. Work on piano recordings for Green Things.
9. Submit poetry to five publications.
10. Turn twenty-one.

Posted in Updates | 1 Comment

Here we go.

Just made this my desktop background.

I opened my mission call just two hours ago, and I’ve been called to serve in the Russia Novosibirsk Mission! ( I know- I couldn’t pronounce Novosibirsk the first time either.) My mission is North of Mongolia and Kazakhstan, and it encompasses part of the North Pole. Hello, Northern Lights. I’ll be speaking Russian and I report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on July 18th, 2012. I’m so excited and I feel unbelievably blessed to serve the Lord and the people I’ll meet in Russia in just a few months.

In closing, a few fun facts about Novosibirsk:

1. It’s the most populous city of Asian Russia at 1,473,737 (as of 2010).
2. It’s in Siberia (SIBERIA!).
3. It was built over a river called Ob.
4. It’s nicknamed the “Chicago of Siberia.”
5. Winter temperatures can be as low as -22˚ F.
6. Summer temperatures can be as high as 86˚F.
7. The most prominent trees include birch, pine, and aspen.
8. Large native mammals include the brown bear, reindeer, moose (elk), wolf, and fox.
9. It’s the headquarters of a number of large Russian corporations.
10. Several contemporary classical violinists (none of whom I’m familiar with) are natives of Novosibirsk.

Posted in Updates | 5 Comments

Conference and Other Thoughts

Photo by René Maltête

In case you haven’t heard yet, I’m going on a mission in just a few months. The online portion of my papers is submitted, and next I have an interview with my Bishop and then another with my Stake President (who are my ecclesiastical leaders in the church). After that, my mission papers will be sent to Salt Lake City to be reviewed by the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who assign me to a mission. I’ll recieve my call after about two weeks.

What might also be news to you is that this weekend a biannual event called General Conference is broadcast all over the world for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Most notably, we receive counsel from our prophet, who (like prophets in the accounts of the Bible) we believe speaks for God on earth today. Also speaking in General Conference are men and women holding leadership positions in the church, including the apostles, members of the seventy, and presidents of the women’s organization called the Relief Society.

Recently I’ve been listening to a particular talk almost on repeat. It’s called Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence, and it was given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a latter-day apostle, in 1999. My good friend Victoria, who is about to serve a mission in Hungary, recommended it to me.

The focus of Holland’s talk is a reminder not to waver in our commitment to a righteous decision, because oppositions come directly after we receive spiritual direction. Holland refers to biblical accounts of early converts to Christianity, who often struggled because of the opposition they encountered in their newfound faith. He also refers to Joseph Smith (founder of the present-day LDS church) and the darkness that surrounded him when he went into the woods near his house, seeking answers from heaven.

This was exactly what I needed to know when I was making the decision whether or not to serve a mission. I hadn’t considered the idea seriously in years and was certain that I would likely never serve. But in a matter of weeks, I understood that serving a mission was the absolute right thing for me to do at this point in my life. The oppositions came before, clearly, and in the weeks after, but I saw them as a testimony to the righteousness of my decision rather than ready-made excuses for faltering.

I share this experience not because I think all people need to prepare for opposition, but because I think our experiences in the world lend themselves to us in a thought-provoking way. The beauty of being human is seeking, and thereby finding, meaning in life. Members of the church go into General Conference seeking answers and direction. We believe in personal revelation, that we are entitled to communication with God through prayer, the scriptures, and the words of his holy prophets. Matthew 7:7 reads “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” I believe that seeking leads to finding, and that more often than not, the answers are in the questions.

That being said, let’s come with questions to the feet of God, or at the very least, to the struggle of life. Don’t fester in apathy and indecision. Find the right questions and therein are the necessary answers. Take an interest in your environment; seek an awareness of how you function in it. Questions lead to answers. Inquisition leads to revelation. Meaning surrounds you, if you’re looking for it.

General Conference begins Saturday, March 31st at 10:00 am Mountain Daylight Time (9 am PST).

All due credit to Victoria Fox and family friend Arnie Kosky for spurring some of these thoughts.

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

A Great Big Announcement.

Dear family and friends,

It’s with great joy (and a little fear, if I’m honest) , that I announce my decision to serve an 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! After much consideration, prayer, and fasting, I feel strongly that this is the right thing for me to do with my life at this time.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. Young men and women belonging to my faith may decide to spend 2 years or 18 months (respectively) in service of the church. During that period of time, missionaries spend their days studying the doctrine of the gospel, doing service, and teaching interested investigators about what they believe. They also make a commitment to abstain from most media (the internet, T.V., movies, music not considered uplifting), and may only contact friends and family through written letters (although email is generally permitted).

While it is somewhat simple for me to put my solo project on hold, some of you may wonder what will become of the band I have been involved in (and also loved). Book on Tape Worm has chosen to move on without me from this time forward. Currently, the band intends to release their record in Fall 2012. The vocal and piano parts I wrote and recorded will remain part of the album.

As for my solo work, I will be recording my next album (Green Things) this April, and hope to release it before I leave! Additionally, I am recording original songs, covers, and hymns before I leave, to be released on my blog and Facebook page throughout my time in the mission field. I will also be blogging and posting photos here at This Goes With Us (Because of mission restrictions, all posts will be sent through email and the blog will be administrated by a friend).

Last but not least, thank you for your continued support! I appreciate your kindness and love the sweet comments you leave on my wall and statuses. I will be posting my mission mailing address here once I am called, and I would love to hear from you. I can’t wait to move forward with this decision and I hope that you can share in my excitement!

Yours sincerely,

Emily Brown

Posted in Updates | 1 Comment

In Provo I:

(Image: Cor Jaring)

-played a lot of music with Chris and Brooklynn.
-watched Baraka for the first time.
-visited Utah Lake for the first time. It’s my new haunt.
-visited the Salt Flats and found a hundred beautifully rusted bullets.
-played at Les Femmes De Velour.
-hung around Village Inn.
-ate seviche with my brother and his girlfriend. (It was really good. Thanks, Jennifer.)
-walked around downtown Provo. Laid in the park by the Tabernacle, because I used to do that all the time before it burned.
-made sticky toffee pudding with Pearl.
-ate dinner, played music, and hung out with the Hansens (with Book on Tape Worm).
-walked to the Provo cemetery and wrote.
-went house hunting with the Mads.
-played/sang at Open Mic with Book on Tape Worm, Apt, and just as me.
-watched O Brother, Where Art Thou? and fell asleep during it.
-ate lunch with Scott and Maddison at Pei Wei.
-took zero pictures.
-said goodbye.

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

Show in Provo!

Hey guys, I’m playing my first show in Provo since last June! Since then I’ve lived in London, run around Paris and all of England, languored around the beaches of California, and I’ve written a LOT of new material. I’ll be playing Saturday night, so come say hello. Your ears will thank you and I will too.

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

Southern Tour

I recently went on a tour of Southern England and did not take very many pictures. This morning I am trying not to spend money at London’s various alluring markets, so I thought I’d blog about it.

On the first day we visited Bath, including the Holborn Gallery there, the ancient Roman baths (which Bath is most famous for), and the Fashion Museum. Here’s a picture of me at the Roman baths (taken by my friend Maddison):

That night I stayed in a sweet hostel, ate grocery store curry for dinner, and then watched “The Prestige” for the first time on the floor of a friends’ room. It was great.

The next day I visited Glastonbury Abbey, where King Arthur is said to have been buried. The church is mostly crumbled and full of lawn, which was really beautiful. I walked around and wrote.

Later I (and half of my Study Abroad group) was dropped off in Tintagel and hiked five miles to Boscastle. The other half of our group hiked in the opposite direction, to their hostel in Tintagel. The hike was gorgeous and right along the Atlantic coast.

This picture is facing the United States. It’s a picture of you, friends from home.

Part of my group.

Boscastle is a tiny little town without much to do. That night we had a big spaghetti dinner, which our art director cooked for us. It was delicious. I also may or may not have gone skinny dipping in this little bay:

The next day we took a bus back to Tintagel and tromped around on the mountains and the beach a bit. Here’s me (again, taken by Maddison). I look like I might be singing something silly.

Later that day we ended up in our hostel at Penzance. It was a nice place and we had a delicious dinner cooked by the hostel staff. There were a lot of loud boys there trying to flirt with us. BUT I had wifi, so not much to complain about there.

The next morning we walked to St. Michael’s Mount, which is an island you can walk to when it’s low tide. I think it’s pretty neat.

We stayed in Salisbury that night, and the next day we visited Stourhead Gardens, where part of the newest Pride and Prejudice were filmed. Remember that scene in the rain where Lizzy and Darcy are arguing? No? Well, it was here.

We also visited Stonehenge, where I took NO PICTURES. There was roping all around everything and a good number of people milling around. My friends and I sat down on the grass near the roping and sketched/made up a silly song which may or may not have been called “Stonehenge Baby.”


Well, I hope you are all having the best week. Today I’m going to pack for my trip to Paris (!) and get some curry or a shwarma for lunch. Then I’ll probably wander around the city.

If you like me enough to tell your friends, click that like button and make it official.

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

Things I Like About London, Part 2.

Here are some things I’ve enjoyed in London in the past few weeks:

Sweet bike I noticed really close to my house. Some guy looked at me weird when I was taking this picture.

This cute green car, which I noticed when I was lost trying to figure out which way Kensington was.

The Round Pond at Hyde Park. I sat here for a good hour writing a little while ago. There are all these striped fold-up chairs you can sit in and watch swans and ducks bobbing around, or better yet, people watch.

Sitting under a tree in Hyde Park. I do this about four or five times a week. Also, new tights!

Visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral. This building is gorgeous, inside and out. I don’t know if you can see it, but on the floor there’s a man giving a sermon. I won’t bother with his title because I’m sure I’d get it wrong.

Today I’m taking my director’s cute grandkids to the park with my friends and then tonight I think I’ll go to the Bloomsbury Festival! I hope you’re all having a great weekend!

Posted in Updates | 1 Comment

Northern Tour

This past week, I’ve been traveling around England and Scotland having a swell time with friends. Some of my favorite parts:

Walking around the gardens at Chatsworth, the estate which Jane Austen based Darcy’s Pemberley off of.

Walking around Edinburgh with my friends the Mads.

Hiking through the Lake District. That’s me in the second photo (blue shirt), courtesy of my friend Madeline. Check out her blog here!

Things I loved but didn’t take pictures of:
Walking around Hadrian’s wall in the rain.
Getting closer with new friends via long bus rides.
Hiking up Arthur’s Seat, nearly being blown away, and lying in the long grass together.
Seeing Days of Heaven for the first time at a cool theatre in Edinburgh.
Making our own delicious food in the hostel in Ambleside.
Walking through the mud in my thankfully waterproof boots.
Playing games on the bus on the long drive home to London.

I’m back in London and happy to be settled in again. Missing me? Shoot me an email at I pinkie swear I will write you back.

Like this because I like you.

Posted in Updates | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Borough Market and Thames Festival

Last weekend, I rode the train out to the London Bridge Station to meet up with our friend from the Borough Market, Nasir. He runs a curry stand in the market with some of the most delicious curries I’ve ever tasted. On Thursday, he let my friends and I taste some of his wares and we promised to come back. I got the Thai curry with chicken and seafood.

(Did you see that? There’s a MOLLUSK IN MY FOOD.)

After spending some time with friends at the market and listening to some sweet live music, I walked around the Thames Festival recording stuff (on my Tascam DR-03 rep rep rep) and taking pictures. These are some people dancing very classily to some cool jazz music.

This Greenpeace booth was totally marketed to little kids. I don’t know how I feel about that, but it looked pretty cool.

Gorgeous honey. Would that I had my own kitchen here.

I guess this whole thing was pretty kid-oriented. I liked it a lot.

Today I am in Edinburgh and having a brilliant time. I hiked around Hadrian’s Wall today and also up Arthur’s Seat, which is a big green WINDY hill here in Edinburgh.

Guys, you know you like this.

Posted in Updates | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment