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music and nature

Our family is finding a couple of hobbies this summer that we can do together and all enjoy - music and nature!  It has been a fun summer for me because all of our kids are finally old enough to go on real hikes and not complain (too much) or need to be carried!  We have done a lot of exploring this new area we live in and are finding a ton of cool, beautiful, fun places.  We haven't done anything too extreme, but getting in a couple of hours in the woods, playing in the streams on the way, finding crayfish, watching animals, and looking at different things in nature has been a wonderful time for us.  And we are all getting good exercise without thinking too much about it.  That is one of my goals for this family - good habits to keep our minds and hearts healthy and active! 
This summer has also been a time of discovering a love for musical things!  I play the keyboard and love it. But I have to admit - now that I am planning and playing at two worship services a week, much of the joy that I used to find in it has been replaced by the stress of getting new songs (but not too new that no one knows them!), finding songs that everyone can play with minimal practice time together, and songs that have words that touch the heart.  And let's face it - there is never a time when everyone is going to be pleased!  ;)  So I have been playing recently because I have to, not really because I enjoy it or want to.  That was sad for me, because music is something that I can get lost in easily - playing or listening.  It's a way I can meet God and worship him and prepare my heart.  But recently it has just been plain duty.  So when John and Shawn decided to start learning guitar, I was glad to hear that someone else in the family wanted to play music.  They are both doing a great job - learning mostly off youtube, but some from friends.  Shawn is playing my mom's old acoustic guitar and John has borrowed a friend's electric one.  (He loves our electric guitar player in our compelled band and has been learning a lot of the intros and stuff he does!)  Anna is also taking violin lessons now, and JP fixed the strings and tuned RJ's little guitar!  So now we are all attempting to jam together!  It is probably not a sound yet that would be pleasing to everyone's ears all the time - but God loves it!  And I love having this in common with my family! 


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Listening to music always speaks to my heart in ways that seem to break through even my most grumpy, tired, or distant flesh.  I have a current favorite right now that I could listen to non-stop, and whenever I hear it I feel like my emotions explode to the surface. 

"Peace, bring it all to peace
The storm surrounding me
Let it break at your name..."

If you've listened to Christian radio or worship in a place in with contemporary music at all you've probably heard the song "Tremble."  It's not new.  Nor is it filled with a truth I have not heard before.  But something in these lyrics touches me deeply in this time of my life.

Right before we left Kenya I spoke at our church ladies retreat.  One of the things we talked about the first night was how we are in a battle.  We so often and so easily believe the lies that are whispered to us from Satan and shouted to us from the world about who we are, our worth, and our identity.  The longer we allow these l…