Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Choosing between what is right and what is easy

The old lady band had another great band practice last night. We keep drifting towards harder and harder music. We are also challenging ourselves to work on memorization. I know it is good for the brain, but doesn't it seem like it comes so much easier to other people? MIII has a bazillion songs memorized. It is like he can play whatever he wants whenever he wants -- he is never slowed down by looking for the tabs or music or lyrics.
I on the other hand resort to mnemonic devices and association and what not to get things to stick. Of course I'm old enough some days I'd forget my name if it wasn't so foreign to my soul.

Jenna brought up a good point last night that I spent the night thinking about -- when I wasn't dreaming about BOBO who is at a "smart" camp. I had a nightmare that she wouldn't go to sleep. If that is my nightmare, then I truly do have ukulele size problems. Anyway, Jenna says she knows a woman with a beautiful voice and substantial range who is to afraid to sing to anyone. She wonders why that is and why that woman doesn't work to develop some courage to accompany her God given gift of voice.

I answered Jenna wrongly. We were both looking at the woman and wondering why she wouldn't take the talent God gave her and use it. But that kind of thinking misses the mark. I have an incredibly limited range and nothing remarkable in my voice and yet I am forever searching for ways and means through which I can play and sing. Yes (for those of you who read Pride and Prejudice -- I AM afraid I will turn into Mary.) But the core question for both my behavior and the behavior of the woman who will not sing is --

What do you value?

What do you treasure? Is it something that comes easily to you or something you work very hard at? I hate to say that is why we have trials, but there you have it. Those gifts that are just given to us -- we take for granted or "esteemeth them not." I like the poem that reader Ver shared with me. So I will share it here.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and dreary.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Is it really camping if you can't hear the birds?

I go to girls camp in under three days, and although I love to camp -- I feel somewhat (I guess trepidatious isn't a word, but if it was it would go here). I have been so spoiled over the last few years. I can practice whenever I want for as long as I want despite what work lies in wait -- waiting for me to get it done. I don't think I will be so lucky at girls camp. Plus, I am very used to hours and hours of quiet. Again, I don't think I will be so lucky at girls camp.

Being around others is an exhausting activity for me. I can only truly be "on" for an hour or so at a time. But I am girding up my loins and preparing for three days of noise and companionship and being hap-hap-happy.

Music is not going to be totally out of the question. I am helping the girls with not only their "singing tree song" (see earlier post) but also a musical fireside in which combos of girls will intersperse music between the object lessons.

We've had roughly three practices, but we should be good enough for the mountains. (Maybe we can sneak in another practice when we are up there.) I know I've talked about the arrangement for I am a Child of God for beginning instruments -- here is some audio from our last practice with actual beginning instrumentalists.

Bobo and I are going to sing a duet of Sweet Hour of Prayer in Dakota. Sometimes making a video is a good way to practice. Sorry, in the end I had to either sync up the vocals or sync up the instruments. The next time I try a three-way, I will definitely use fewer instrument. Hopefully, instruments and voices will all be together when we play it live in the mountains.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lights under a Bushel

ItI'm pretty sure I started playing the piano at age 5. My mom, my first piano teacher wouldn't start teaching kids until they were 6 and had learned to read. Luckily I had several older sisters who were willing to get me started. They say that most people have no memories before the age of five. That's me. No precognition before five. So and therefore I don't recall a time that I didn't play piano.

My peer group would use the word "talented" to describe me. But me, being me, and knowing how much time and trouble and work it took me to learn and continue learning the piano, I would never call myself talented. So while other girls recognized their God given gifts, I would secretly wonder what mine were.

For reasons I don't want to get into here on my blog, there was a period in my life where I wasn't able to play either the piano or the organ. Surprisingly, I didn't cease to exist as a person. In fact I grew. I grew to be a fair mother, a decent teacher, and something of a technopath.

In retrospect, I no longer chide myself for hiding my light under a bushel. In fact, if my passion for music had not been put on the backburner -- my other talents would have suffocated under its weight.

In times of trouble, when I find myself discouraged that I am not able to do more -- or that I am not the person I hoped I'd be, I turn to John Milton whose dream of being a cleric were dashed by the onset of blindness. How could God allow him to loose his sight when all he ever wanted to do was serve? But once that gift was gone, John Milton the poet was free to develop more. My favorite poem of his is below.

On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

On the music front, I am working with the Young Women to arrange songs for instruments anyone can play. Here is our rendition of "I Am a Child of God" for melodica, recorder, and dulcimer (We are practicing so we can play it at girls camp).

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blow Up Your TV

Yeah! Here is my video response to Macey. This is how I raised my kids. I blew up the TV, Moved to the Country, Had a lot of children and raised them on Pizza -- I mean peaches. And Ben totally scammed me out of a slice. He was supposed to appear on camera, but something about a "tree in the way" kept him out of the shot. Apparently, he can't duck.

No matter. It was still a wonderful birthday, and I am still keeping all my kids. (At least all those who haven't flown the coop yet.)

Happy Birthday!

Generally, I think bloggers celebrate the birth of their blog. But today I am celebrating the birth of the blogger. I got a call from Sam in Texas -- he'll be spending time on a beach on the Gulf of Mexico soon. I got a call from Joe in Paris (He was talking about the great French food he'd had for dinner. We had just finished up with lunch.) And I got this wonderful video from Mason in Mexico. The green ukulele is the gift he sent me. I got it this morning, and it has a terrific tone :)

Mason's idea of appropriate holiday behavior is to make his mother cry. And I do love it when he sings this song. We (the kids and I) are hoping to make a response video that I will hopefully get posted today, but I am posting this now -- rather than waiting for the response video, because I may have "bitten off more than I can chew" with this latest idea I have.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day everyone! Sadly enough, I am celebrating the independence of my children today. 3/7 are gone. Mason is in Mexico. Sam is in San Antonio. And Joe is Jumping a Jet to Europe. It doesn't upset me to have them gone on the 4th of July. What does make me sad is that the 4th is so close to the 10th. Apparently they will also be missing my birthday.

Not to fear, however, Macey has sent me a video for my birthday and I will be posting it -- if the other two send me video songs for my birthday, I will post them as well (hint, hint).

What better way to celebrate my missing children then by singing the missing verses to Woodie Guthrie's classic "This Land is Your Land"?

Happy Fourth of July Everybody!

(P.S. stay tuned to the end of the video for Bobo's animated candy explosion)