How playing an instrument benefits your brain | TED Talk

This is a great little TED talk that reminds us how ‘making music’ makes our brains engage, stretch and grow. It’s like a ‘whole body’ workout for your brain, that strengthens connections between your hemispheres. If you ever despised the idea of taking your child to music lessons, or practising your own instrument, keep this in mind!

C.S. Lewis: Embrace the Adventure

Image created by RBarrett 2018

From ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ by C.S. Lewis

Just a little truth and encouragement from C.S.Lewis:

from “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S.Lewis

Power of Music in Parkinson’s

This is just astounding.

There must be so many other instances, which we have not yet discovered, where music has the unique power to unlock and overcome problems in our physical bodies, minds and emotions. Thank You for the music!

Just get writing!

writingOne thing I love about the blog writing process, and the whole community of world-wide blogging, is that it helps writers develop backbone. Once you share a few posts, and experience the joy of interaction, you learn that it is okay, applauded even, if you are willing to construct and share your opinion, no matter how controversial it may be. Though it is pretty scary to put your ideas up for the scrutiny of an unknown audience, once you see how your thoughts can create a stir, there is a great reward! I suppose it is akin to the ‘butterfly effect’, where a small action or even just a word can create significant ripples in our global village.

The writing process also helps us get over that great concern we humans share for ‘what other people will think’. I see this fear at work in many places in life, in church, in music, in families, and in school. In fact, this fear of condemnation in others’ thinking is a huge burden for teenagers in the education process. I have seen so many students hold back their ideas, their creativity and enthusiasm for the fear of being judged.
“If we’re constantly dependent on the approval of other people we’ll always be afraid of failure. If we’re constantly needing the affirmation and praise of those around us then we’ll never take any creative risks. We’ll never have the guts to stick our necks out and possibly look silly. Because other people might disapprove of us. They might think that our painting or speech or novel or spreadsheet or organizational blog or hand sewn shirt is pretty lame. And that would sting. We would feel bad about ourselves, which would then lead to us eating a complete bag of Oreos in one sitting.”
from Stephen Altrogge: How to overcome the fear of doing creative work

This is largely why I’m encouraging my English students to start up their own blog this year . . . and simply get writing! Some students are really getting into the swing of things, writing several posts a week – and for others, they are a little slower on the uptake. One thing is for sure, if they catch the blogging bug they will quickly develop into very skilled proof-readers, and ultimately very fearless writers. The world certainly needs more writers like this. Write on!


The Power of Thinking

thinkThis may sound like a really obvious thing to say, but when you tell others that you have been thinking about them, something good happens. If I were Oprah W, and had my own talk show, I may tell you that when someone thinks positive thoughts about someone else then it causes a cosmic set of ripples to flow out from you which can cross continents and oceans and contributes good karma to the universe . . or some such. But what I am actually proposing is much more practical and real. Let me explain.

While attempting to jog around the lake today (more of a jog/walk) the thought came to me that I should pray for my children, and specifically for their future spouses (if that is something that will be part of their future). I know many people who have made this a regular practice since their children were small, and I think we did it better many years ago; haven’t really discussed or prayed for them in this way for a while. So I did.

And the outcome? Well there weren’t 3 Christian Prince Charmings lined up at the door with application forms when I got home, but when I mentioned these thoughts and prayers to my eldest girl (15) I know by her response that she felt loved, knowing I cared about her future. No doubt this interaction, these shared thoughts, will lead to more careful thinking on her behalf as well. (Not that she needs to make a choice right now!)

Another example is a young mum who comes to our playgroup at church. She normally is difficult to engage in conversation, but by mentioning a simple thought to her, many new conversations have opened up about quite personal things. (You are probably wondering what ‘thought’ I shared with her? I simply shared that she really reminded me of the lead female character in the Hunger Games film. She checked her out and reported back to me the next week).

We all have so many thoughts about many different people throughout the course of a day. . . some of these are admittedly not always very edifying thoughts! But next time you are thinking, turns those ‘random’ thoughts to prayer, then see what happens if you share them with that very person (and let me know the outcome)!