Welcome to my blog! To get an idea of what this blog is about you might want to read the "About Me and My Family" page as a starting point. You can browse through the archives or head over to the "Articles" page to read on specific topics I've written on over the years. Keep checking back because I'll be posting new articals from time to time.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wisdom and Honor

Recently God has shown me the difference between seeking wisdom, and crying after wisdom. It is the difference between knowing you need water and thirsting after water. I have never been one to drink a lot of water or anything. As a child mama would have to tell me to drink some water because I might go several hours without getting thirsty. Even as an adult I will often drink my coffee in the morning and neglect my need for water simply because I am not thirsty and I get so busy that I don't think to get something to drink. But those times that I am thirsty I don't hesitate to satisfy my desire and I usually drink 2 or 3 glasses as apposed to the 1 out of necessity. Jesus said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6)

For several months I have been seeking wisdom on how to honor the authorities over me, weather it be my parents, boss, or teachers. I have searched the scriptures diligently and tried to put my own reason to it, but I couldn't grasp the true meaning. Finally I cried out for wisdom, and patiently waited for God's answer . . . not mine. I didn't have to wait long. In that moment when I wasn't searching or expecting an answer, God reveled His truth to me in a way that I can only give the glory to God, for which I am very thankful for.

I can honor the authorities over me by acknowledging and respecting the fact that God is using that person to shape me, and if I respond in a righteous manner to that authority over me, I will be a better Christian as a result of it. Sometimes God uses ugly things in life to bring about beautiful results. Just look at the refining of silver. Would it be right for the silver to say to the fire, "Stop burning me! That hurts!" or to the silversmith, "Take me out! I've been in here long enough!" If it weren't for the fire the silver would never be beautiful. We are to see every person in our life (good and bad) just as David saw Abishai the son of Zeruiah who cursed the king. David declared, "It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day." David would not kill Abishai because he acknowledged that God may have sent him to afflict this curse upon him. (2 Samuel 16)

I may not understand this fully, but I can lift up my voice for understanding, and patiently wait.

"But if from thence thou shalt seek, the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him
with all thy heart and with all thy soul." Deuteronomy 4:29

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ramblings of a Piano Player

For a while now I have been stuggling with my piano practice, just not knowing where to go with it. I have discovered long ago that if I am going to stay active in my practice and keep up the creativity, then I have to keep myself inspired. I practice the most when I listen to instrumental music by CD or YouTube, as well as instructional videos online since I haven't taken lessons in years.

With every new instrumental CD I listen too, I feel that I am pushed to a new level. I haven't reached those levels, but I have something to aspire towards. The latest CD I've been listening to is Robert Staddon and Clayton Reedstorm's Inspiration on the Ivories. Since it is a duet I doubt I will be playing like them any time soon! I suppose Bethany and I will both have to practice hard! Robert and Clayton's style differs greatly from anything else I've ever heard in the way that it sounds more classical than it does Southern Gospel. The length of the songs is also something that I've never encountered before, one being 11 minutes long, but both of these things are interesting to me. Each hymn has a refreshing, pure sound to it, untarnished by the world's modern harmony. The CD and DVD are both great.

Since observing their style I am about to determine that it is a good idea to practice classical music. It isn't the first time I've seen the benefits of clasical music, but it was never enough to convience me to learn it. You see I am very goal oriented when it comes to the piano. Ever since I was eight years old I knew I wanted to play the piano and sing in church. That was my desire so I never put much thought or effort towards anything else. Sure, I can play Fur Elise and a Waltz or two, but besides that I am not at all familiar with classical music. My piano teacher was a pastor's wife with obviously the same idea, because other than a few Rag Time songs, I learned mostly hymns. Now I wish I had been more disciplined and taught myself.

In the mean time I have been practicing heavily in my finger exercise book . . . much to my family's dismay! (I don't know why they don't like hearing the same 6 notes played over and over in different octaves.) This is something else that was never stressed to me, most likely because my teacher never had a use for it in the playing that she did in her small country church. Of course, I am extremely grateful for my teacher because had I went to anyone else they may not have taught me the beloved hymns I wanted and needed to learn so badly. She gave a thorough knowledge of hymn playing in the congregational setting which has proved very rewarding over the years. I have seen students, from other teachers, that struggle in hymn playing, and I must say I would most definitely rather struggle with classical music than hymns. With that being said, it is still good to know both.

I finally feel like I know where I need to go with my piano practicing. Instead of trying to put together hymn medleys that are cluttered and not smooth, it would be in my better interest to focus on finger exercise (which has already improved my arpeggios and runs tremendously), and buckle down and learn some classical pieces.

So my word of encouragement is this: no matter what area you are looking to improve upon, keep looking and God will show you the direction you need to go.