Thursday, May 17, 2007

Gleanings on Memorization...

Jacob Tu Tu's father was right on the money when he said "do it until you get it right, then keep doing it until you can't get it wrong." He inspired me to keep playing the hymn I was learning on the piano. Even when I couldn't get to it for several weeks, it was always in the back of my mind, and when I sat down at the piano to play I practiced the same hymn. Many times it was boring, yes. And many times I just wanted to start playing something else. But I was determined to memorize this hymn if it was the last thing I did.

Well, I am happy to report success. Not perfection, mind you. But I can play it many times through without a mistake, and how it thrills my soul to be able to worship the Lord without distraction on the piano. Another benefit is that I can work on technique without having to worry about which keys to press. It is so freeing! Also, I have already noticed that playing other songs is easier. Maybe because my brain is more easily recognizing common intervals. For the record, my goal is not to become a concert pianist, but merely to be able to easily play hymns and perhaps to compose simple worship songs.

Memorizing scripture gives the same benefits. When we take the time to commit His word to our minds, it is easier to focus on what He is saying to us. It is also easier to understand His word, for the scriptures interpret themselves when you have other related scriptures coming to mind as you read. When you are well-nourished, it is easier to enjoy the presence of the Lord :-).

Much like the habits in the physical world bring a certain automation to our activities, memorizing written material brings automation to our minds, and memorizing music brings an ease to playing heretofore unknown. It is like a groove which is whittled deeper each time you pass over it. Soon it is no longer a chore to move the same way. Eventually it is difficult to go any other way. You are hemmed in and able to enjoy the activity.

I am convinced that mentally there is really no difference between memorizing a song on the piano, and learning discipline (or teaching it to a child). Until a person is constrained to obedience and self-control, he is really not free to enjoy his life (or activity). Just as a young child who is being allowed to disobey or break rules is unable to be truly happy for the mental tension which is present in his little heart, so the child of God is unable to be truly happy if God is not the ruler of his spirit. Indeed he will not be happy until he is hemmed in by the author and perfecter of our faith; walking in the Spirit with all diligence.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Crazy for Critters

Lately, when my little girl Deborah goes outside to play, she has one thing on her mind: catching frogs. The toads and frogs are abundant this year, and they seemed to have moved into the large stump in the front yard, as well as into the landscaping rocks beside our house. I'm afraid they don't stand much of a chance with Deborah around, for she has a really sharp eye. Here she is with a lovely tree frog she caught last night.

DJ & Frog
Here is the same frog, on top of the baby's head :-).

Jonathan Frog

Over the weekend, Deborah found a baby bird beside the house. She promptly brought it inside and we wondered what to do with the fuzzy little fellow. We learned from our research that we should leave it near where we found it and clear away all of the hoopla, observing from afar to see if Fuzzy's Mama would return for him. We were concerned that she wouldn't want him for the essence of Deborah, which surely clung to his fuzz. The ornithology site we visited assured us that birds have a poor sense of smell, so she would likely still want him. Here is a picture of Fuzzy. Isn't he cute?


Well, after observing from my bedroom window and giving him a nudge closer to his Mom, whom we found was searching in the wrong place, we had success! They found each other, and the mother was able to get her little baby to waddle off after her :-).

I don't have any pictures of the critters my son Joshua brought into the house. We found his shoe in Daddy's office, full of pill bugs. But I do have a picture of some pill bugs that the children played with in the dollhouse earlier on in the spring.


Life with children doesn't get much more interesting, does it?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Journeys Around the Sun...

Today, my dear husband Nathan joins me in the land of 35 rotations.  The way I see it, he is now half-way done, so to speak, in the oven of life.  Of course, if you add our years together we are already complete.  That is, numerically, if the number 70 means anything at all! (Biblically, 7 is the number of completeness and 10 (according to this source) means the completeness of order).  Anyway, 35 times around the sun means nothing at all if you do not have the Son.  For "in him was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4).

I am so thankful that I have a husband who desires to serve the Lord, and to be a good husband and father.  Recently, I wrote him a note and put it in his lunch.  Here is an excerpt...It really captures my appreciation for him :-).

"Shiny!" I say as I peer through the window of life's glass, at the soul of my beloved.

He wipes dishes,
scratches itches,
moves at the wishes - of his dear ones....

This exhortation from Philippians 2 often reminds me of him..."Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."  Truly I am blessed to be able to say such things!  Thank You Lord.

Humorous Anecdote:  I often pull multiples out of birthday years (or special meanings, such as when we turned 33).  Once I was doing this for my mother-in-law, as she was turning 51.  She looked at her husband with a raised eyebrow and said "I'm three 17-year-olds!"