The Talent That Should Have Stayed Hidden: Annie’s Tale of Yodeling


My eighteen year old sister Annie is tremendously talented. She is classically trained in the piano and violin. She takes voice lessons. She does worship at our church. She is fluent in sign language, and has translated for different events. When she was 8, she attempted to teach herself french. I think she has a 5.0 in high school. You get the point. She is awesome. So when she told me she was going to write a college entrance essay on a talent… these are the things I thought she would talk about. Then she told me she wanted to talk about her not-so-hidden talent. I knew this was going to be good.
You see… Annie yodels.
And since she is the youngest of four, we have made sure that everyone knows about this secret talent since she was little.
Here is that story in her words:  
A talent is usually thought of as an ability a person is proud of. This, unfortunately, has not always been always been my experience. In my oh-so tragic case, I developed a talent when I was too
young, too naive, to know it would plague me my whole teenage life.
Growing up, my world was filled with music. I started playing the violin when I was six,
followed by the piano at twelve. I grew up in a large Scandinavian family that often gathered
together. At each one, my grandma would sit at the piano and play old folk songs as her children
and grandchildren would all gather around and sing along. We would sing, and a select few
would yodel.
I was fascinated by the sound of yodeling. How they could crack their voices so
fast and with so much control, over and over, incorporating harmonies into their melodies,
flawlessly flowing from one riff to the next. It was so different than any other form of singing I
had ever heard. So I decided I would learn it. I would learn to yodel.
I downloaded a yodeling song, sat in my closet, and practiced flipping my voice. Yodelay-
*crack*-hee-*crack*. I tried to hide from all my older siblings, but there was no hiding the new
sounds I was making. Not only did they have to hear me screech away on the violin, but now I
was practicing yodeling, a sound that resembled a young boy in the trenches of puberty
attempting to sing a tune.
Finally, when I was probably twelve, I had done it. I had learned to
yodel. In the euphoria of my accomplishment, I remained blissfully unaware of the pandora’s box I had opened.
Every time someone came to the house to visit, a well-meaning family member would
have to mention my unique talent. “Did you know Annie could yodel?” followed by a “Annie, you
should show them.” This was the moment I always dreaded. The moment I just wanted to stick
my head in the sand and disappear.
“Great, now they too will see me as the awkward youngest child who obviously has no friends so she taught herself to yodel”.
It had seemed cool to me when I was ten, but not so much as a prepubescent teenager. Furthermore, as the youngest of four, I had become the showdog to all my sibling’s cool high school friends and their families.
Relatively shy and quiet, I turned about every shade of pink as my big sister would instruct mescreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-8-41-00-am
to yodel for all her friends on the football team. Even when all my siblings went to college, this
talent still followed me. Somehow my boyfriend’s family learned I could yodel, and all was lost. I
was soon yodeling at every one of their family gatherings. I am not exaggerating about this.
Just the introduction to his immediate and extended family that I had always wanted.
“Meet my girlfriend, Helga the Songbird, want to hear her yodel?”
People think they know what yodeling sounds like. They think they are prepared, but I am
telling you they are not. The look of complete bewilderment and surprise has never failed to
grace the faces of those watching my timid performance, always followed by a display of delight
and laughter. Though it felt slightly painful and very humiliating, people always seemed
pleasantly surprised and impressed by my yodeling.
These many experiences of feeling like a carnival act may have felt mortifying in the
moment, but they have shaped me into the woman I am. I learned to embrace a unique part of
my heritage. I overcame my timidity and fear of standing out. I have grown to be much more
confident and secure in my individuality. But above all, I learned not to take myself too seriously.
Helga the Songbird reigns forevermore. 

Love Doesn’t Keep Score

SO I am back from my month off of writing! I have so many stories to tell! I thought for my first blog post after my break I would write a little about my husband Taylor.

When I was first married, I wrote a blog about our first year of marriage together. It was kind of hilarious to learn about men and how different they are from women. Taylor continues to make me smile with the things he says.

Taylor on having girls from here on out now that he has a son:

T: Sure that would be great, but it would just mean I only have one shot at real sports.

S: Girls play sports!

T: (Blank Stare)

Taylor on hair: 

I refuse to have a haircut that requires me to brush my hair… ever.


Taylor on fairytales: 

T: Girls who believe in them are dumb.

S: I didn’t believe in fairytales until I married you.

T: Oh gag me.

T: Most girls who chase some romantic fairytale don’t have a happy ending because they are not being realistic… and if there is no happy ending… I wouldn’t call that a fairytale.

Taylor on assuming I know about the basketball playoffs: 

He is on the computer so I sit down and change the channel.

T: Wait no! It’s basketball.

S: And?

T: (Blank stare)… It’s playoffs.

Taylor on how much he loves me:

S: How much do you love me?

T: A lot.

S: How much is a lot?

T: It is a lot. The word is self explanatory.

S: No. Use a description.

T: Very much?

S: An example.

T: I love you more than football.

S: What if I told you I didn’t want you to watch football anymore?

T: I would laugh.

S: But I thought you said you love me more than football?

T: I do. But you are not leaving if I don’t stop watching football so your question is irrelevant.

Taylor on how much I love him: 

S: Do you know how much I love you?

T: Yes.

S: How much?

T: A lot.

S: Oh for heaven’s sakes… ok yes… but do you really understand how much I love you?

T: Yes. Yes I do… Because unlike you I understand the definition of a lot.


Oh my sweet husband… how I love thee. 

On the kind of man Taylor is: 

I had a rough day the other day. Taylor came home to me in tears, the laundry not done (aka EVERYWHERE), the house not clean, and the baby in need of attention. After surveying the scene and listening to my rant and tears, he just gave me a hug and told me to get dressed. He was going to take me and the boy out for dinner, ice cream, and a Target trip… all of my favorite things.

As we drove over to the restaurant I pondered how lucky I was to have such a wonderful husband. Taylor works full time, and he is in a graduate program doing double the coursework in order to finish earlier. He always spends time with Holden and I. He will help me with anything, often without me even asking. He has no problem helping me with housework even though it is my job since he is working, and I am at home, but when I say something he just tells me it is his house and his baby too so he can help.

So on this day Taylor spent all day working only to come home to a messy house and an upset wife… and his first reaction was to take me to my favorite places? Who is this man and how on earth did I score him? I promise you people I cannot even make this stuff up.

Anyways, as we are walking up to the restaurant I tell Taylor how he is so awesome, and he does all these things for me, and I feel like I am not always keeping up my end of the bargain. I feel like he is doing way more than me in this marriage, and I feel bad.

Taylor just listened to me for a bit, shifted Holden to his other shoulder, and nonchalantly tells me, ” It’s ok. Don’t you remember? Love doesn’t keep score.”

And then my heart burst into a million pieces. I am sure Taylor will never realize the full impact this moment had upon me… but I promise you this… I will never forget that moment. Me, as a young mom, being loved on by my husband of few words.

And I will never stop telling him EXACTLY how much I love him… because it is definitely more than “a lot”.


But of course, it wouldn’t be a Taylor story if it ended just there. 

After a minute I replied, “Well if we were keeping score, you would definitely be beating me.”

To which Taylor responded with a smile:

“Oh that’s ok… I am used to always winning.”



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